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UK college's trip to Millwall football match to teach students about 'working class culture' stirs controversy

London: Fans of English football team Millwall reacted angrily on Thursday after a school invited students to attend one of their matches and "even talk" to fans to learn about working class stereotypes on sexuality and race.

Varndean College in Brighton, south England, promises its sociology students that they will see examples of "hyper-masculinity, hegemonic masculinity, women challenging gender norms and working class culture" at Friday's Championship game between Brighton and London rivals Millwall.

As well as witnessing "issues around sexuality, race and ethnicity", secondary school students paying the Pounds 18.25 ($28.65, 23 euros) for the field trip will be able to "observe and even talk to fans from Brighton and the notorious Millwall", according to the promotional poster.

To fit in, students are encouraged to "buy a delicious pie and warm yourself up with a nice warm beefy Bovril", staple fare for English football fans.

Millwall fan and sociology student Scarlett Watkins, 17, accused the flyer of "discriminating against Millwall as an easy target".

On Twitter, radio newsreader Robyn Schonhofer wrote: "the words 'offensive' and 'stereotyping' spring to mind" while Sam Samuel called the poster "condescending and inaccurate".

"We used to go to the zoo on school trips, but if you don't have one nearby, you can always go to a Millwall game," joked user Matt Van-Der-Vord. Football hooligan expert Geoff Pearson added: "Distorting the Field 101 and Pre-Judging Research Data 102 classes to be held tomorrow at Brighton v Millwall. YCNMIU." (You could not make it up). Pete Bailey, head of sociology at the college, defended the trip.

"Students are expected to study the relationship of identity to gender and social class among other things, also the relationship between leisure activities and identity," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"Going to football provides an opportunity to look at some of these things outside the classroom." Southeast London club Millwall has been battling to shed its reputation for having particularly violent and abusive supporters, having wreaked havoc at football grounds across the country during the 1980s and 1990s.

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