Millwall brick

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Millwall brick
Millwall brick held.jpg
Folded newspaper held in a fist
Type Blunt hand-held weapon
Place of origin England
Service history
Used by Football hooligans and Martial artists

A Millwall brick is an improvised weapon made of a manipulated newspaper, used similarly to a shillelagh or a waddy. It was named for supporters of Millwall F.C., who had a well-earned reputation for football hooliganism. The Millwall brick was allegedly used as a stealth weapon at football matches in England during the 1960s and 1970s. The weapon's popularity appears to have been due to the wide availability of newspapers, the difficulty in restricting newspapers being brought into football grounds, and the ease of its construction.


In the late 1960s — in response to football hooliganism at matches in England — police began confiscating any objects that could be used as weapons. These items included steel combs, pens, beermats, horse brasses, Polo mints, shoelaces and boots.[1] However, fans were still permitted to bring in newspapers. Larger broadsheet newspapers work best for a Millwall brick, and the police looked with suspicion at working class football fans who carried such newspapers. Because of their more innocent appearance, tabloid newspapers became the newspapers of choice for Millwall bricks.[2] The book Spirit of '69: A Skinhead Bible describes the use of Millwall bricks by British football hooligans in the late 1960s: "Newspapers were rolled up tightly to form the so-called Millwall Brick and another trick was to make a knuckleduster out of pennies held in place by a wrapped around paper. You could hardly be pulled up for having a bit of loose change in your pocket and a Daily Mirror under your arm."[1] The book Skinhead says, "The Millwall brick, for example, was a newspaper folded again and again and squashed together to form a cosh."[2]


A Millwall brick is constructed from one or more newspaper sheets rolled and folded to create a handle (a haft) and a rounded head at the fold. The Millwall brick becomes harder as more newspaper sheets are stacked. The Millwall brick is used similarly to a shillelagh or a waddy.

The newspaper sheets can first be soaked with a liquid to add weight. The blunt end can be wrapped with a shoelace or leather. The ends can be taped together and a string attached to the handle, enabling the user to swing the brick, similar to a meteor hammer. A pencil, pen, or large nail can be driven from the first interior side near the middle perpendicularly through the first end so that that head of the nail rests against the first interior side. The nail may be secured in place by bringing the ends towards and adjacent to each other, effectively forming a crude nail bat.

Cultural references[edit]

  • The term "Millwall brick" appeared in a 2001 Times column about the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which writer Mick Hume sarcastically proposed that airlines get rid of newspapers since "football hooligans used to fold them into something called a Millwall Brick."[3][4]
  • The Millwall brick was mentioned in a 2004 Spiked column about Britain's knife culture.[5]
  • A 2004 column in the New York Sports Express (NYSX) includes an expression of hope that Millwall F.C. would "upset Manchester United and put the infamous Millwall Brick inside the famous FA Cup."[6]
  • A skinhead reggae zine series, Millwall Brick, addressed topics such as the film The Harder They Come, Motown Records and football.[7]
  • The 1994 CD Chello, by Irish pop/rock band Blink includes the song, "Millwall Brick Mix".[8]
  • In 1995, guitarists Doug Aldrich and his hard rock band Bad Moon Rising released an extended play CD entitled Millwall Brick.[9]
  • In the film The Bourne Supremacy, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) fashioned a similar weapon out of a magazine.
  • In the TV production Lilyhammer, Season 2 Episode 1, Duncan Hammer (Paul Kaye) produced a Millwall Brick out of the Norwegian tabloid newspaper VG, some coins and his own urine while ranting about how he [the character] and his fellow football hooligans invented it to circumvent the police's weapon prohibition on football matches back in England.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Marshall, George (1991). Spirit of '69: A Skinhead Bible. S.T. ISBN 0-9518497-0-0. 
  2. ^ a b Knight, Nick (October 1982). Skinhead. Omnibus. ISBN 978-0-7119-0052-3. 
  3. ^ Hume, Mick. (October 20, 2001). The Times.
  4. ^ Samboboy. (Mar. 15, 2000) Stickgrappler's Martial Arts Archives. Fifty rules of fighting page. Obtained November 4, 2006.
  5. ^ O'Neill, Brendan. (December 16, 2004). Spiked. Knife culture? Cut the crap: There is little evidence for a 'rising tide of knife crime' in Britain. Obtained November 4, 2006.
  6. ^ New York Sports Express. (April 8, 2004) Millwall-Cardiff Yobs Prep for FA Cup Fun. Obtained November 9, 2006.
  7. ^ Out Knocked. Millwall Brick #2, Millwall Brick #3. Obtained November 9, 2006.
  8. ^ Sneeze, Mr. (June 3, 2001). Sneeze's Blink Page. Blink discography. Obtained November 6, 2006.
  9. ^ Warpigcat; Tbieri; Chrysostome; _jmc_. (2006). Rate Your Music dot com. Albums by Bad Moon Rising. Obtained November 6, 2006.