The Real Millwall Show Fan 11.07.19

New season, new edition of the podcast and – I hope – a more regular use of the blog, which has fallen into a bit of a fallow period of late. I apologise, life has a habit of coming at you fast and this post is therefore a bit of a ‘first toe back in the water’ on wordpress.

Amazingly I have put out the podcast for five years now and, as with anything, there is a tendency to dwell in your comfort zone somewhat. Hence my recent request for feedback via Twitter:

Thankfully only 11% backed the ‘it’s shit’ option! So not too bad …

Now my own view on anything in this life is – first, last and everything – you have to do stuff that you like – and the Devil take the rest.

Fundamentally I’ve always tried to please myself – and hopefully others will like it too. So a big thank you to everyone who has commented with kind words.

Some stuff has clearly worked better than others over time, but I appreciate all of the feedback given.

The new season starts on August 3rd 2019 and, subject to the vagaries of life, I shall be doing my usual in-game stream of consciousness – teamed I hope with a post match conversation to review Millwall proceedings.

Would you like to come on the show? I need a rotation of regular pundits able to take a Saturday night – or more often a Sunday morning phone call.

Going forward, I would also like to revive the old ‘Listed Lion’ feature, in which we record a conversation with a fan (old or young) to share memories of the old days, first match and so on.

If anyone is interested or knows somebody who they think would make a great guest, please do get in touch either by Twitter @CBL_Magazine – or by more traditional email

It would be great to hear from you.

Finally, if anyone wishes to give us a rating and comment on Apple podcasts, these are really much appreciated too –

Arrivederci Millwall…


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Walking for Isla

“Former West Ham boss Harry Redknapp believes fans should never again get the chance to attend a match between the Hammers and Millwall.” 

Evening Standard 27.08.09


Isla with West Ham captain, Mark Noble


Traditionally Millwall and West Ham United fans have cast themselves as opposing forces of nature. Enemies since some obscure dock strike in the late 19th century, these are two clubs that caused ex Hammer player Harry Redknapp to comment after the 2009 League Cup tie violence at Upton Park, that they simply can’t be allowed to play each other any more.


So some might have found the recent support of a number of Lions fans for the ‘Isla’s Fight’ online campaign, rather surprising. Although I would argue that only those on the outside of these two fiercely proud clubs would think that. 


For those of us on the inside, both sets of fans are in fact remarkably similar. As it was my pleasure to confirm whilst taking part in the ‘Walk For Isla’. An event organised by a group of Hammers fans from the West Ham training ground at Rush Green, to the London Stadium at Stratford.


By way of background, little Isla Caton is a very brave three year-old girl, from a staunch West Ham family, who is suffering with a rare form of childhood cancer called ‘Neuroblastoma’. A very similar condition to that which the late Bradley Lowery suffered -and which so caught the national imagination last year.


Isla needs to generate some £400,000 to seek treatment in the USA for this rare condition. Only a hundred kids in the UK have been diagnosed with it – and consequently the NHS does not cover the full treatment in this country. A heartbreaking situation for Isla’s family and something which is hard to imagine living with.


Now if I am honest, when the Isla cause first came to my attention back in February, Millwall were on a decent run of form. But only a madman would have said that the Sheffield United away fixture on April 14th would be effectively a play-off fixture in its own right. Maybe sometimes you should listen to lunatics as, having committed to take part, I would have felt like a complete heel if I had pulled out and shot up to Sheffield. Yes, I was tempted …


But, as I have posted a few times on Twitter since committing to do the walk, it does take a very special young lady to not only put Millwall and West Ham fans on the same side, but also to drag myself and Bill ‘Henshaw’ away from Bramall Lane into wearing claret and blue shirts on a sunny Saturday morning.


Bill ‘Henshaw’ and yours truly – ‘Millwall for Isla’


After a seven mile walk through the East London and Essex heartlands of Goodmayes, Barking and East Ham, the walk brought Bill and myself to the usually hostile (for any right thinking Millwall supporter anyway) ‘Boleyn Tavern’ at the junction with Green Street. Once  a heaving match-day boozer, the sparse lunchtime customers of the Boleyn now sit next to the sad building site that the football ground has become.


From the demolished White Horse and the now converted Hammers Pub on East Ham High Street (into a sourdough pizza restaurant of all things), through to the Central Bar on Barking Road, it is very hard not to feel that a community is passing away.


Even as a Millwall fan, the sight of the most hostile football stadium that I have ever been in, levelled with a concrete apartment shell already being developed makes a very sad scene.  


Sharing a beer inside the spacious Victorian decor of the Boleyn, the chaps with whom it was my pleasure to walk with – including the Hammers boxer Mark Little – each described the thousand and one small ways that the move to the Stratford stadium has eroded their match-day routines. Never to return.


‘Isla’s Angels’, boxer Mark Little and yours truly outside the Boleyn Tavern

Can a few jars in the Westfield Shopping Centre really compete with the fortnightly meet up in the old school pubs around Upton Park? Can the hipster bars along the canal really take the place of the traditions of a hundred years? Can the very real sense of Hammers identity that oozed from the walls of the Boleyn Tavern be recreated elsewhere? Almost certainly not. 


As I say, I am sure some will see these as very strange words written by a Millwall supporter, but the sense of loss to the area can almost be touched. The replacement mix of private and social housing, all built around that ghastly modern ‘placemaking’ concept, is no replacement for one of English football’s great venues. 


Are football clubs communities or businesses? Both of course, but the sadness of the West Ham story is a hard one not to acknowledge. Maybe the sales pitch of turning the club into a top table contender will one day come to pass, but until then it remains an empty promise.


The final stretch of the ‘Walk for Isla’ route took us along the Greenway path, past the Victorian splendour of the Abbey Mills pumping station, through the 2012 Olympic village to the club shop at the London Stadium itself. Ten miles and a mutual respect for two traditionally working-class sets of fans, both united by a joint cause that goes much beyond football. 


Some will see the amount of support lent by Millwall fans, to what is fundamentally a West Ham family cause, as strange. Especially with all the history between the clubs in the past. But as the chaps in the Boleyn Tavern put it to me, “well you know that we’d do exactly the same for one of yours.”


And that’s the thing. As mad as it will sound to anyone on the outside of the East London v South East London rivalry, we really do know that West Ham would do the same in reverse. 


Respect and rivalry go hand in hand. Equally Harry Redknapp may well have a point if the Lions ever do get into the Premier League, because it won’t be kum-by-yaa songs and happy-clappers when we visit the Hammers at the Olympic stadium. I dare say I won’t even be able to get served in the Boleyn Tavern that day…


At the heart of the day though was Isla. The brave young fighter who has united the two sides of the River Thames and whose image dominated our walk.


The group of fans that I met at the Rush Green gates were solid, decent and traditional working class followers of their club. People just like us. 


And, just like us, they see the bigger picture that in the end, people make communities. Not business, not boardrooms, not money for that matter. Family and community is all we can leave behind.


It was my pleasure to ‘Walk for Isla with them all …


The fight for Isla continues in May with West Ham fan Pat O’Connor’s walk around the twelve London grounds. It was great to share Pat’s company on the walk and now also to lend my support to his ‘Just Giving’ page: a top man, top fans, a top day… and the Lions pulled of a great away point too.



West Ham fan Pat O’Connor and yours truly at the mural marking ex Millwall manager Billy Bonds, adjacent to the Upton Park site.

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An open letter to Councillor Damien Egan – prospective Mayor of Lewisham 2018

1 view of the the away end from Zampa Road.jpg


Dear Damien,


Firstly, congratulations on winning the majority support of the various Lewisham Labour Party’ members for the role of Mayoral candidate for Lewisham. This is democracy in action.


I write these words to you as both a Millwall fan since 1972 and as an active trade union member.


So, as much as things have been fraught, I hope that you WIN the 2018 elections and that the faith placed in you by the Labour Party’s supporters within the borough is well rewarded.


I do not think it is any secret that the past year of battle between the fans groups representing our small club and Lewisham Council has been a bitter one. Harsh words and immense pressure has been applied – by both sides – over the question of the Compulsory Purchase Orders for our Zampa Road stadium lands.


As a Cabinet member just one year ago, you voted for the CPOs that our club has said would force Millwall FC out of Lewisham borough. I hope you would now agree that the loss of the club and its community initiatives would be too much for any Labour mayor to countenance.


I think it is fair to say that trust between all parties has been massively eroded.


I hope and believe however that, if politics is a rough trade, then so too is professional football – and dwelling on the past is counter-productive.


In the end we all only have one way to face – toward the future.


To your credit during the height of our protest campaign, you withdrew support for the CPO plans that would exclude Millwall FC from partaking in the much-needed New Bermondsey regeneration scheme.


During the recent selection process, you repeated that you would not support any CPOs against our club – thank you for that clarity.


We call on you as the Labour mayoral candidate to hold to that promise and to find a way out of this destructive impasse.


The New Bermondsey scheme needs to progress in a way that both Millwall FC and the local community can find acceptable. One that will preserve our club’s economic future within the borough and its award winning community scheme.


Wars rarely benefit anyone. Least of all a war between the passionate fans of Millwall FC and the borough that once offered so much support to us.


This moment offers you a massive opportunity to put the past aside – and make a truly great start to your candidacy.


Damien we want this to work – we hope you do too?


Nick Hart

Achtung! Millwall podcast

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Post election thoughts: no fairy stories in real life …

“Labour hold” says the BBC News election page, which doesn’t quite do it justice really. The sitting MP Heidi Alexander did a bit more than ‘hold’ the seat, she increased her majority by over 12% bringing in more than 32,000 votes…


Our brave Willow Winston by hard contrast garnered just 355 votes. A tough result when so much effort went into the campaign by her and the Millwall Community generally.


Well done to Heidi Alexander. The extraordinary national trend toward Labour from the Conservatives clearly played out in the Lewisham East constituency as much as across the nation. Almost everywhere non mainstream candidates took a whupping as the great Muhammed Ali used to say.


Looking through the other local results, only the BNP’s 738 in Eltham came close to the four figure private target that I had hoped for back when Prime Minister Theresa May called her – now disastrous – snap election just two months ago in April. How the world turns upside down nowadays , as her hopes of annihilating Labour blew up in her face.


From the Millwall Community perspective, I have to be honest in feeling disappointed not to have reached the 1000 vote mark. That said, we generated a huge amount of media attention for both the club and indeed Willow’s cause. From The Sun to the Guardian, from the Evening Standard to Sky Sports, the spotlight was very much turned on to the shabby and indeed bullying treatment meted out to local residents by Renewal-Lewisham Council.


This blog’s Twitter feed alone has had some 832,000 views in the course of the last 28 days.


The campaign displayed the potential loss of our beloved club to the borough for the the world to see, as well as the murky Lewisham Labour elite’s links to this highly questionable developer.


So was it worth it?


Absolutely it was. The speed of the election caught us all unawares, none of us are politicians and to say this was a steep learning experience is an understatement. Yes there were a number of areas where we would look to improve if we do it again.


Will we? Well let’s just say that we are looking at the local Lewisham council and mayoral elections of 2018. Having dipped our toe in the water in 2017, we will approach things with a different mindset next time around.


Would we prefer to have a strong bond and understanding with the ruling Labour group at Catford Town Hall? Yes, very much so. Our door is open to anyone who wants to work toward a real South Bermondsey community based regeneration.


Finally, a big thank you goes out to Willow. She was a magnificent candidate and made a wonderful representative for all that is best about our club. Our best wishes collectively go out to her.







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Eve of election thoughts


So here we are then.

It’s just six weeks since Theresa May called a snap General Election and we are finally at the last evening of campaigning.

As you might have gathered, a huge effort has gone into our Lewisham East campaign on behalf of South Bermondsey resident Willow Winston. And I want to thank everyone for their help – including of course Willow herself.

How will we do?

Truthfully, I haven’t a clue. I’m sure you’re not supposed to say this, but we’re not professional politicians and the correct approach is never to admit the possibility of defeat.

But we have to be realistic don’t we? We have to say that our challenge to the sitting Labour MP and former Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander is an ambitious one.

Some have called it mad – but they tend to be few and far between. And, more often than not, rattled Lewisham Labour loyalists.

This has been a wild card move to enter to election. And events more generally will play their part when voters enter the booths from Blackheath Village to Downham Way.

To what extent will the sad events of the last week impact the Lewisham East election?

Who knows? If the pollsters can’t tell us, I am sure a football fanzine can’t either.

We may get anything from 200 to 2000 votes, possibly more (or less!) Expect the worst and hope for the best as we say down The Den…

To dip our toe into the murky world of local politics however has been quite an interesting experience.

I will let you into a secret, our entry into the Lewisham East parliamentary election was not in truth something that we planned.

Shocking, but true.

Why are we doing it then? Well our target starts (and ends) with persuading (or forcing) Lewisham Council to see a future for Millwall FC in the South Bermondsey area.

That’s all we want.

Solve that – and the Millwall Community challenge would fade away.   It takes a certain kind of arrogance though not to grasp this kind of simple solution.

Lewisham Council have shown a breathtaking level of high-handedness and a complete disregard for anything other than theirs and their cronies’ wishes.

As ever, the ruling clique at the top of the Lewisham Labour tree has proven clumsy, arrogant and incompetent in equal measure.

The sooner new blood comes into the Cabinet room and clears away the deadbeat Mayor Bullock and Deputy Alan Smith, the better.

Hence our election challenge to the former Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Regeneration Heidi Alexander – it was just too good a symbolic chance to pass up.

So yes, we hope for the best tomorrow. We hope more than anything though, that the value of community assets like Millwall can start to be seen for the value they truly bring.

If we can extract that from Lewisham Council, then we will have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

One last question that people have asked me: will we need to make a similar stand in the Mayoral and council elections of 2018?

We shall see. Certainly the votes required to make an impact against the Cabinet members who voted against us will be less than those needed to be an MP.

One thing the Lewisham Cabinet should note from the sad events of the London Bridge attacks and mark well, is that the Millwall Community makes a great friend – but a fierce enemy …


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Fuck you, I’m Millwall

“Millwall fans get a bad rap, a lot of it very deserved, but there are times that you really want a lot of Millwall fans – and that was one of them” Piers Morgan 06.06.17 ITV


If you’d have asked Millwall fan Roy Larner whether he was a hero last Saturday night, just as he sat at the bar of the ‘Black and Blue’ restaurant and having ordered his first beer, you might have drawn a funny look.

Possibly even asked if you were taking the piss or something?

From the battlefields of history, to the modern pleasure palaces of the Borough, few heroes set out to be such at the start of their night.

Instead events plunge them into life or death decisions without any preparation. A night out turns to horror, forcing bravery (or its opposite) in the hyper-reality of frame-by-frame micro-seconds.

Three Islamic terrorists hacking their way into innocent bystanders in a maelstrom of horror is a situation that most of us would run from – but not Roy Larner.

No, he did ‘what he had to do’ when the murderous scum launched their attack.

As staff and customers scattered, the 47-year-old Roy shouted back, ‘F**k you, I’m Millwall’ and counter-attacked with whatever was to hand.

Pint glasses. Stools. His bare fists. Anything.

All against three deranged fanatics, who let’s not forget were potentially wearing explosive belts as they stabbed.

Now don’t ask me where the dividing line between courage and madness lies. I really don’t know how I would behave in that mayhem.

Maybe Roy can say, because he braved the machete blades, saving others’ lives and forcing the terrorists outside into the street. Out into the police hail of bullets that thankfully ended their lives, just eight blood soaked minutes after their assault began.

Raw courage. No other words will do. He deserves the George Cross in my emotion driven opinion.

‘Fuck you, I’m Millwall’ is rapidly going viral as a phrase, thanks to the power of the social media.

We’ve even got commentators as diverse as Piers Morgan, Tony Parsons and John Simpson praising Roy’s actions as an example of the people fighting back. The people not being terrorised. The people not giving in.

It’s akin to the Blitz spirit. Something that (still) lives on in the as yet un-gentrified streets of Bermondsey.

Call me a lemon, but I see something more at work here. Something class driven.

For how long has the name of Millwall and its fans been associated with being old-fashioned, stuck in the 1970s and out of step with the modern world?

A fanbase with an almost dinosaur image?

Forever is how long…

Along with the denigration of the working classes generally, Millwall and its fans are regularly held up as examples of ‘all that is wrong with society’ and out of step with the right-on sport that football has become.

Millwall fans are seen as lunatics who are always likely to invade a pitch. Sing a naughty song. Or take the piss using inappropriate language. Always being a bit … out of control … you know how the script goes.

All very working class isn’t it?

The modern world though is waking up to the fact that there is maybe virtue in the people it has ridiculed for so long.

Millwall supporters in particular, being so close to the alien world that London has become, have been seen as ‘dispensable’. Just witness our battles with Lewisham Council who would love to turn Bermondsey into a hipster paradise.

As Kipling might have put it, it’s Millwall this and Millwall that and throw him out the brute! But it still seems to be walk this way sir, when the guns begin to shoot.

The example of Roy Larner’s fierce and instinctive bravery in the face of a terrifying attack, offers a glimpse of the true strength of our country.

The much maligned working classes have once again shown that you don’t have to run, hide nor tell. Our island home really can be defended on the beaches, landing grounds and in the streets. As it was before, so it can be again.

It requires courage. Just like Roy showed us. And there is a price to be paid – his severe injuries are testament to that too.

But maybe, just maybe ‘fuck you, I’m Millwall’ can become a rallying cry. These terrorists depend on one thing – the ability to terrify. Take that away and they really are nothing…

It is in all of our interests that we are not cowed – just as Roy wasn’t.

So thank you Roy. Your words spoken in the heat of battle have carried far beyond what you will have expected mate.

We all owe you a pint…

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Interview with Micky AMS Group – latest update on the #Lewisham4 crisis

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Interview with the Millwall Cafe and Zampa Fish owners

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I Left My Heart At Cold Blow Lane

As you may have noticed (er… you have noticed … haven’t you?), we haven’t produced any issues of CBL Magazine this season. And if I am honest, I can’t see me doing so for the remainder of this season at least.


There are a few reasons behind this, strangely none of which are football related. This maybe seen as surprising by some, given our current position. But as a veteran of the late 1970s and early 1980s, there really is nothing that Neil Harris and John Berylson can do to me that hasn’t already been done. Indeed done with far greater devastation and long-term mental scarring by those crimes against humanity committed by Peter Anderson and George Petchey in those dreary years. Anyone who lived through that era has already seen the white tunnel of near-death, with your whole life replaying before your eyes. (I am visualizing the Toy Story scene where the toys collectively hold hands to face the incinerator here. You get my drift).


Nope. I just find myself with too many balls in my juggling act; and too little time to do it all justice.


So sadly something has to give; and I have decided that that something is CBL Magazine.


The whole writing, production and then selling of the magazine is an intensely physical process. One that I find I just don’t have the mojo for at the moment. Maybe that will change, I kind of hope it will. Equally I am also enjoying not having to do it each quarter. Especially with the cold and rain of winter a-looming. And as my wife would tell me, you have to listen to your body Nick. So I kind of expect it not to change.


My apologies for not writing this sooner. I have in truth struggled with this email, rather as one struggles with a break up letter to the girl you still secretly hold a candle for.


As Lynyrd Skynyrd once sang though, the big wheel keeps on turning and I would like to thank my writers, photographers and sellers for all their help, contributions and support. They all know who they are and they know how much i appreciated their work.


A big thank you too to Neil Andrews. A truly talented designer who gave the magazine a professional feel and, more importantly, prevented me from producing a punk rock DIY looking Sniffing Glue mark 2 style fanzine.


Is the age of the football fanzine done? I hope not. Modern technology is taking us all in different directions. There will however, I hope, always be a role for the paper magazine at the game though – and maybe a new generation will take on the fanzine burden. Maybe. That would be heartening if so.


I will close by saying that, over the years, we helped raise a lot of money for very many charities and indeed the club. CBL Magazine donated over £9,000 from 2012 -16 and if I add in the work we did with NOLU from 2009-12, the sum goes up to £17,500+ for charity and £4,500 in various kit sponsorships.


So all in all, I think we all did our bit for Millwall society. We should be proud of what we all achieved. Thank you all for buying it and I hope enjoying our efforts.


Byyyyyye for now…



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New Bermondsiania


Well at least we know who our enemy is now.

Lewisham Council’s decision to compulsorily purchase land around The Den and in doing so, to ignore Millwall FC’s plans to redevelop the stadium, certainly sets their stall out doesn’t it?

Where once the 1980s links between our club and the local authority were ground-breaking, now we are clearly seen as being a bit of a pain in the arse. One almighty hemorrhoid blemishing the Y-Fronts of the glistening ‘New Bermondsey’ depicted in artist’s impressions.

In this dreamy parallel world, the skies are endlessly blue. The Den appears to have been re-clad in some form of industrial-chic outer layer and rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies. If we allow ourselves a flight of fancy, we even might picture the Lewisham Council hierarchy pleasuring themselves over their tablet devices whilst perusing these LSD colorized images of the former South Bermondsey area. A kind of modern day Germania, all model cities and imaginings of a new cleaner world.


No more Millwall cafe. No more under arch car repairs. No more breeze block football stadium, with awful fans singing songs about Jimmy Saville. Only beautiful people drifting from coffee shop to organic restaurant, no doubt debating the latest French movie showing at the local media city.

Just like every other development across London right now.

Yep, drive from Silvertown to Surrey Quays and the former docklands that once employed thousands of hard bitten, raucous, cursing old bastards has been turned into a second rate Shoreditch. All yellow brick, glass fronted flats stacked on top of Tesco Metros in an exercise of high density tastefulness. You don’t need me to tell you that raw unforgiving places like The Den (and let’s say it, Upton Park too) have no place in this passive consumer world.

Where once football crowds were part of the end-of-the-hard-working-week drama, now they are foam finger buying, high-five leisure plastic consumers of stadium purchased shit. The kind of people who never, ever encroach on the field of play – and always applaud good form by both sides.

Millwall FC of course sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of this boring new world. And in keeping with the current Labour Party’s bewilderment – mixed with hostility – to the stubbornly working class attitudes of its fans. Lewisham has shut its eyes wide open, held its nose and voted 6-1 in favour of offshore based Renewal totally transforming the area (and hopefully the club) into a second rate take on Arsenal.

Our chairman John Berylson has vowed to fight on though.

We will fight them in the public enquiries, in the media, on Twitter and – with gathering strength of statements of the fundamental goodness we have – in front of the government stooge.

The club have (apparently) their own set of unimaginative proposals to build flats, a hotel and gawd knows what else on the car park. This, we are told, will provide an income stream for the Lions that may, someday, enable us to feature more prominently on Sky TV’s transfer deadline day show.

So we are told anyway.

Myself I have supported Millwall since 1972 and have heard so many chairmen sell snake oil to the fans in that time, that I don’t take this idea just with a pinch of salt, but with a whole bleeding packet of Saxa.

In fairness to John Berylson however, he is one of our better club chairmen and, but for his funding, we’d be ground-sharing with Fisher in a public park in Rotherhithe. So thank you to John. Thank you for it all.

My spirits though have never been lifted by anyone’s business plan nor by an artist’s impressions of some tree-lined alternate universe.

Nope, my memories of the Lions over these past 44 years are filled with the sounds of the roar from the Cold Blow Lane end when Barry Bridges put us one up against Pompey in my first ever game. The spine tingling moment we walked out in the First Divison in 1988. The mental surge of adrenalin when Tim Cahill scored in the cup semi-final in 2004. The almighty first half performance up at Bradford in the play off last May. That kind of thing.

Like many intimidating places, Millwall is in fact one of the warmest hearted – to the insider anyway. We are now to be engaged in a public enquiry of some sort though. I feel a little like the British Expeditionary Force must have in 1940, bravely setting our faces toward a new form of warfare to which we are ill-suited.

I have offered any help I can to the club’s #DefendOurDen campaign, although truth be told, I really don’t know what factors that we fans can make will influence the hard nosed lawyering and accounting of all this. We can all only do our best.

I expect the fantastic work of the Millwall Community Trust, the opportunities for local kids given by the Lions Centre and sheer fucking boundless charitable contributions made by our fans, to be trotted out in the hearts and flowers section of the enquiry.

Part of me however wants to scream at all of them. The council – who lived on the reflected glory of all this work (and never truly gave a toss so long as Sir Steve Bullock got his votes every four years). The QCs who will earn fat fees arguing for and against both of these dreary schemes. And – to be frank – the club itself. Who maybe if they devoted as much effort to putting together paperwork for this so-called critical scheme, as they do supporting arrests for match-day misdemeanours. might not be living in the world of shit they now find themselves.

But hey, what do we ordinary fans know?

We are led by the great and the good. We put our faith in our social betters don’t we? On the one hand we see Lewisham Council wringing their hands telling us this was a ‘difficult decision’. On the other we watch aghast as Millwall show up at the council chamber with just Fan on the Board Peter Garston and the blue bus packed with a selection of Lions Centre users and brave little Harvey Brown. No club hierarchy at all.

We can only hope that was part of some genius masterplan plan on what we were told was a critical night. Er … can’t we?

Me, I have as I have said placed my services in any way I can at the disposal of the Millwall FC #DefendOurDen campaign. Well what else would I do? After 44 years we are bound to each other like Bill and Hilary Clinton.

I hope that across the fanbase. And indeed across the many friendly messages of support from the wider football world gained during failed Lewisham aspect of this strange battle for long term survival. That all of us will do whatever we can to support our ragged club.

It’s the only one we’ve got after all.

But the next phase of this battle will be fought in the dry atmosphere of that lawyer’s paradise, the government enquiry. If Millwall’s ultimate survival in what remains of Old Bermondsey – now rebranded as ‘New’ – is really to happen, then we need a campaign run far more professionally and coherently than what we’ve seen to date.

We have (somehow) built up a bank of goodwill ranging from our local MPs, Tom Watson deputy Labour leader (still), Gary Lineker and some big voices in the media. So we do have some cards to play here.

But if we are to matter locally, I would like to see us exploit that goodwill with some really imaginative proposals for the area. Let’s see some sums that add up on the commercial front, all mixed with a decent chunk of much needed and truly affordable housing.

No not public schoolboy Boris’s 80% of the market rent style Bermondsey, but something really payable by moderate waged working people. Something that reflects both our club’s – and for that matter football itself’s – origins.

That’s what I hope. No doubt what we’ll get is a Hotel Millwall premier inn and a mix of market-rent flats built over a Subway sandwich shop.

Up the Lions.

The Archbishop


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