AT the risk of sounding even more like a boring old escape of gas, sometimes I just wonder about today's English education system.

Take this week's tale of the unexpected, actually a saga of the incredulous, which emanated from the poshly-sounding Varndean College.

A poster was advertised at the Brighton-based seat of learning exhorting the delights of a field trip for sociology students to Millwall's New Den ground to last night's clash against fellow Championship strugglers Brighton.

The field trip - well that's accurate in that the teams do play on a field, okay a pitch - offered the students the chance to witness the "notorious" south-east London club and learn about "working-class culture and habits".

According to the poster, other lessons in life to be gleaned from the visit to the New Den were "issues around sexuality, race and ethnicity" and "women challenging gender norms".

And while there, the Varndean in-crowd might also care to enjoy such hoi-polloi fare as pies and Bovril.

Close your eyes and you could easily hear a conversation straight out of Bunty, Twinkle, or some such other comic, or the pages of Bertie Wooster or the snivelling Famous Five.

Jonty: "Oh I say, Tabitha, what a juicy jape. We can see the oiks up close and personal in their own outposts of communal entertainment."

Tabitha: "I know, how darling, how precious. We must go, we must, we must. If we don't I'll skweam and skweam and skweam..."

Jonty: "Steady, old banana, we're on our way once Chambers brings the jolly jalopy around. I can't wait to sample a pie. Hey, pie-man, good fellow, pray let me sample your wares."

Now if anyone finds the above conversation insulting, well how do you think any football fan, especially those who support Millwall, feel.

The entire idea of the advertised field trip is offensive not only in tone but in its over-stereotyping of today's football fan.

Yes, I accept the previous of Millwall's fan-base ensures it is hardly a bastion of equanimity or calm, as I can testify from trips to the old Den in the fittingly named Cold Blow Lane and also to the Zampa Road ground that replaced it in 1993.

As a travelling fan, going to the old Den always elicited a tiny soupçon of impending menace, while even as a football reporter the New Den provided an unshakeable memory.

Covering a York City visit to Millwall's home, I can recall even before the match started a sudden murmuring among the main stand crowd, which gathered rocket-like speed in venom and foul language directed at someone standing several rows above where I was in the press-box.

The target of some of the most vicious oaths I have heard in a public place was none other than Neil Ruddock, a former Millwall player. The reason for his mass-berating was that before he quit the game he had had the audacity to also play for West 'Am. The defensive hard-man scuttled off soon after he was heartily heralded to a less conspicuous haven.

If they treated one of their own like that, no wonder so many visiting fans greeted a trek to Bermondsey with no little trepidation.

However, the New Den is hardly alone in being a hostile arena. There are many splattered across England where visiting fans are likely to be welcomed with less than open arms.

But to label Millwall as the supreme example of today's "working-class" football fan is as grossly offensive as declaring how anyone north of Watford Gap smokes tab ends, wears a flat cap and muffler (even in summer), prefers the company of whippets or ferrets to anyone else, and would not even go dahn sarf even if he was paid.

It would be as injurious as saying that all students are... as it would be declaring that all sociologists are...

But before I tuck into a jellied eels pie washed down with a bottle of pale ale, I won't go there, it would just be an indolent indulgence in the sociological art of stereotyping.