With over 300 games under his belt, long servant Alan Dunne gave this very interesting and honest interview to the Lions Live Radio team on 07.02.13. Millwall through and through, Dunney’s return to the side has seen us regain our edge and has been a factor in the cup run too:
Has it been a hard season on the bench for you Alan? Yeah it’s been frustrating, I haven’t played much since my fifth yellow card against Huddersfield. And since then the manager has brought in the boy Smith and he’s a good player and had done really well. He has been excellent and that means that I have to wait my turn. I’ve been in the game long enough to know that. The boy has done really well though – that’s football.
How do you keep yourself sharp and fresh in training? This is what you have to do, football can change very quickly and at any moment you can be thrown in. So you have to train every day, work hard and be ready for your chance when it comes. I know that and I will keep working to be ready for my chance when it comes. We have a lot of tough games ahead and i will be ready. You need a whole squad available.
With Robbo being away in the US and the departure of the old names like Neil Harris, you’re one of our mainstays now aren’t you? Yeah the boys I grew up with and call friends have moved on – Darren Ward is another one – but that’s part and parcel of football. Ever since I was 18 I’ve had to get used to this. Friends come in and move on. You mustn’t get too attached. But I seem to have out-stayed them all! We keep in touch, but people have their own careers and that’s how football is.
What are you thoughts on the season so far? Well if you’d have said to me at the start of the season that we’d be a top ten side by February, I’d have said that would be a remarkable achievement by the manager and with the squad budget that we have available. So it’s been a fantastic season so far. Ok we haven’t achieved anything yet, but to be where we are is a massive credit to the manager. We have to keep it up though – top six being our target.
Do you think we can do it? (be in the top 6) – I think we can do it. But we’ve had to adjust to the loss of two big players in Wood and Hendo – both got us a lot goals. But they’ve both moved on to further their own careers and we have to adjust to it. The manager knows what he is doing. He is a clever man, he’s done it before and we have faith in him. We are lucky to have a manager like Kenny.
Which would you choose at the moment – the cup or the league? As a player it’s nice to go on a cup run, but equally if you can get in the top six then the pot of gold at the end of it is amazing. Yeah we’ve had an FA Cup final before, so it would be nice to challenge for a play-off spot. We have both in mind at the moment. I mean you never know, if we can beat Luton then we’re one game from a Wembley semi-final. One game at a time though.
We tend to get the rough end of a lot of refereeing decisions don’t we? Well me and refs have never got on! So I’d better be careful what I say. I think over the season it evens itself out. But it is frustrating where we don’t get decisions. The thing is that this is Millwall Football Club and it isn’t going to change. We could be here in ten years time still having the same conversation – that’s just the way it is. You just got to try and over ride it.
Are you fit and well at the moment Alan? Yeah I’m good. Just enjoying watching the lads from the stands and awaiting my chance. Smith is a fantastic player though and I am of an age where – you know I’m not silly – he offers something special. So I have to wait. But I want the club to win and do well, I’m not one of these people who wants to move on [to another club], I back the manager and am 100% behind him.
What do you make of Crystal Palace this season? They’re having a fantastic year, they’ve got Holloway down there and Zaha is playing well. But really the least we say about them the better I think!
Who do you think will come out to the pack to go up this season? I think both Cardiff and Leicester will go up. Both are big clubs and they have spent an awful lot of money. So the pressure of expectation is on them. For the play-offs Hull, Middlesbrough, Watford, Palace and hopefully us have a chance.
Hull didn’t look much better than us recently did they Alan? No I haven’t seen much in this division to worry us – maybe Cardiff and Leicester – but otherwise not a lot. All are beatable teams and you have to go into each match thinking that you can get something out of it.
It must be one of the most competitive divisions in football – Yeah everyone is capable of beating everyone else, especially this time of the year with conditions being harder. For me a lot of it is attitude. Scrappy games in scrappy conditions – with the right attitude you can pick up points in this league.
Do small budgets mean that we can’t compete? Team spirit can always overcome wages. You get a good set of lads who want to play for each other and a manager that brings the best out of them; and you can go far. I think that’s what we’ve got to aim at. We have a team spirit and a bond that means that people don’t want to play against us – especially at The Den. No team wants to come down Millwall, they see our fixture and the know that they are going to get a hard game. They know they are going to get beat up!
You’re coming toward the end of your career, are you thinking of staying in the game when you hang up your boots? Yeah it’s something that I’d like to do. My dream is to finish my career at Millwall and be a one club man. It would be a great achievement for me. Then, yes I’d like to coach and work my way up from the bottom. I’ve learnt a lot over the years, I’ve played under a lot of managers and you know you get a lot of information. I’d love to put that into practice one day. Football is all I know. Millwall is all I know – and I know what we’re all about. To be able to help bring through young players for us would be a dream come true.
What are your views on Kenny Jackett? He is by far the best manager that i have worked under. Football is his life, he lives eats and breathes the game. His passion for the game is infectious. What he has done for Millwall, how far he has brought us in the last five years is unbelievable. Yes he gets linked with jobs from time to time, but I am sure that he’s happy at The Den and wants to take the club to the next step. He has done a lot for me and I have got massive respect for him.
The Lions Live show is essential listening for any Millwall supporter. It is broadcast online each Thursday from 7pm – 9pm during the season. To tune in visit www.millwallsupportersclub.co.uk or http://lionslive.podbean.com