Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

Remarks visiting Milton Keynes (Luton FC)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Milton Keynes Energy Park, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Source: Anglia TV Archive: OUP transcript
Editorial comments: MT was to visit the Energy Park between 1120-1220.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 419
Themes: Law & order, Sport

MT

Look, I think they ought to be praised for what they've done and not blamed. I think the most important thing to do is to get hooliganism out of football. And that's going to be absolutely vital if football is going to survive. Now we were doing very well last season, as you know, and I think one of the main reasons was because we had closed circuit television on every ground. And David Evans in Luton is a very entrepreneurial man and he went “I want families back to football and I'm going to do this thing, I am going to have a big television screen there so they can watch away matches on their own ground and so they can come to their own ground knowing that it would be good for families and then they can watch their own team play” . I think he ought to be praised for doing that and I think the vital thing is to get hooliganism out of football. And it is vital for the players, it is vital for the game, it is vital for the public. And so I hope they'll use the latitude and flexibility to say: “All right. Luton's done this thing. It is exciting. Let's give it a chance at least as a pilot scheme or as an experiment” . Because believe you me, people … the most important thing that you'll get almost everywhere you go in this country is law and order—do everything you can to catch and get rid of violence. Give them stiff sentences and try to eradicate them from our society. I think Luton's taken a very exciting scheme and I would like to see it run as a pilot scheme. If one football organisation doesn't like it … all right, run it as a pilot scheme and you'll soon see whether people like it.

Female Reporter

Have you been surprised at the Football League's attitude?

MT

[pauses] A little. Because I knew what was going on at Luton. And I knew the reason for it. You forget—you remember that Luton-Milwall match? And so they said: “Right. We're going to get rid of hooliganism” . That is what people want. But it not only gets rid of hooliganism, it will save the game of football. Now if it can be saved in other ways, well there might be other ways as well. But let's try this one possible way.

Peter Lugg, Anglia TV

League officials insist they haven't backed down over the Luton affair. They say in view of the huge publicity involved all 92 League chairmen should be consulted on the matter. At Kenilworth Road the meeting has been welcomed as another opportunity for the club to put its point of view.