Defend our Den (again)

Once again, very late in the day, the poor bloody infantry of the Millwall support is being asked to come to the rescue of the club by persuading Lewisham Council not to compulsarily purchase sections of The Den’s land to enable major developer ‘Renewal’ to begin the regeneration  of South Bermondsey – a seemingly endless storyline. This is my email sent to the Mayor of Lewisham Steve Bullock and the Lewisham Cabinet members:




Dear Mayor and Cabinet of Lewisham Borough Council

On Wednesday this week you will make a decision which will have a huge impact on both the future of Millwall Football Club and the Millwall Community Trust and which may put the Clubs’ survival in doubt.

At a time of crisis in the game in this country. A period with the richest clubs benefitting from the vast TV incomes now available – and the smallest struggling to exist in their shadow – your decision will be momentous. Indeed if you decide to allow the compulsory purchase orders to proceed, it may mean the long term end of Millwall Football Club’s existence in Lewisham.

I hope this matters to Lewisham Council. I hope that by working with the club, that the historic links between Lewisham Council and Millwall FC can be reinforced.

I ask that the council considers imposing a long term covenant that provides the area subjected to the current stadium lease as ‘home ground to Millwall FC’ for as long as the club exists. Such a move will give vital reassurance and also instill confidence in the fan base that that the club will not be forced out by developers.

With regard to the wider issue of the community facility, I would urge the council to re-open discussions with the club to a) ensure a long term future for community development work and b) allow joint plans to be brought forward and developed jointly with the council.

This email comes late in the day but as fans we have not been directly invited to be part of the discussions and negotiations. We are, without doubt, the largest single group who the plans will affect and our voices should be heard. The club and its fans very much see the current ground and associated facilities as home and as such believe that we should have been asked for our views a long time ago.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email and for considering the long term best interests of both the South Bermondsey area and Millwall FC. I believe both go hand in hand and hope that you will see this issue in the same way.

Best wishes.
Nick Hart
CBL Magazine and Achtung! Millwall podcast



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Johann Cruyff 1947-2016

“There have been four kings of football – Di Stefano, Pele, Cruyff and Maradona – and the fifth has not yet appeared. We are awaiting the fifth, and it is sure to be Messi, but so far he is not among the kings” — former Argentina and Barcelona coach Cesar Luis Menotti.


They say that you reach a certain point in your life where the familiar landmarks that have guided you so far, all start to crumble or fade away. It’s why old people often look so bewildered. The modern world bearing so little resemblance to the days of their youth.

Worryingly the last few months have started to have that effect on me. Dull certainty dictates that ‘the end’ will come to us all, it’s just that some people seem to stand above ordinary rules. By the very audacity of their life, they seem to rise above the ordinary mortality that governs the rest of us.

Except of course that they don’t.

Rather like my other teenage hero David Bowie, Johann Cruyff embodied a certain time and certain place in my life. Both seemed to have an alien other-worldliness. A trait that made their ability to do strange things beyond the understanding of normal men, seem like their kind of normal.

Three European Cups in succession for Ajax Amsterdam? Yeah. A World Cup runner up, when his opening minute run into the danger zone led English referee Jack Taylor to award a penalty in the first minute? Yep. And all good sense saying that the Total Football Dutch would go on to win with ease? Gotcha.

Except of course that they didn’t.

The vivid orange shirted Dutch, captured my suburban teenage imagination watching that 1974 tournament in West Germany. In one of life’s humdrum coincidences, my Dad had bought our first colour TV shortly before the competition. As was his own Cruyff-like way, he didn’t fuck about when the shopfitting game was going well. So he bought a Bang and Olufsen for £800 – equal to something stupid in today’s values. Rules being for other people.

The reason that Dad went to town so , was because of my interest in the game (he was never too bothered by comparison). The new TV was combined with an industrial strength roof aerial fixed into our Mottingham council house roof and pointed straight at Crystal Palace tower (no permission sought, no fucks given and it’s probably still up there.) The German TV images were  razor sharp by the side of the old black and white set top job that previously occupied the corner of our front room. “They do love a public address system out there” I remember my grandfather interjecting as the West Germans struggled against their Eastern brethren in a game that I now realise was loaded with political significance.

Rob Rensenbrink. Johnny Rep. Johann Neeskens though? They seemed to laugh and breeze their way through. Strange names, cool accents and pop star looks. That Dutch side could easily have doubled as the Beach Boys on tour. Only Johann Cruyff, my hero, seemed to be impervious to the demands of the everyday world. In fact he seemed ever so slightly bored by it all – even his own talent. I imagine Leonardo Da Vinci being the same, though less skilfull with the ball. The famous turn? Yeah so what? Cruyff could just do it, get excited if you want to. Or maybe even try and do it yourself?

Except of course, very few could.

Johann Cruyff was always his own man. Never afraid to play or walk away if he wanted. Whether to Barcelona, from the Dutch national side or to the USA he did what paid and what he liked. His call – always.

Was he a genius? Well he always felt like my genius and maybe that’s all that counts. But let’s give the last word to a man that knows: the Sweden defender Jan Olsson, victim of ‘The Cruyff Turn’ at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

“I played 18 years in top football and seventeen times for Sweden, but that moment against Cruyff was the proudest moment of my career. I thought I’d win the ball for sure, but he tricked me. I was not humiliated. I had no chance. Cruyff was a genius.”

The Archbishop

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Gerd Muller

 @BBCSport Bayern Munich and Germany legend Gerd Muller is receiving treatment for Alzheimer’s – 06.10.15


We live in a world of seemingly torrential bad news. War, strife, hunger. The internet driven daily news is filled with conflict, tragedy and disaster. In fact, it’s almost too much for one human mind to absorb. So maybe that’s why this small post on the BBC Sport twitter feed caught my eye. The former West German striker Gerd Muller was receiving treatment for Alzheimer’s. In a sea of desperation, one small familiar island somehow ‘counts’.

Irrational I know.

And unfair too, but we are seemingly geared to only be able to deal with news that has some personal quality to it. Personal? I never met the man. Yet Gerd Muller was part of my youth. Very much so. He will never know it, but his feats in the white shirt of West Germany and the red of Bayern put him on a superhuman pedestal in my early ‘70s world.

Not that I ever met him. Nor would I really know what to say if I did.

I actually know very little about him in truth – other than the fact that he scored goals. Particularly goals against England.

Was he actually ‘the greatest’ goal scorer of my lifetime?

Truthfully, I don’t know how Gerd Muller’s numbers stack up against the Peles, the Cristianos and the Linekers. I deliberately haven’t fact-checked anything to write this short tribute. Probably there are others who supersede him.

The reason I haven’t done that, is because I wanted this to come purely from the memory. I wanted to describe the impact that Gerd Muller had on me. A 13 year old growing up in a suburban council estate in South East London. I wanted to capture something of the mythical quality that Muller held in my mind – and still does to this day.

Gerd Muller represented a one man slayer of the British Empire that I had heard so much about, yet had never known. Not only that, Muller was a German slayer. A representation of all of the bad guys of the Sunday afternoon war movies so beloved of my Mottingham home in 1973.

Only in this Commando comic … it was Fritz – not Tommy – who pulled off the daring victories.

I was too young to really know or understand what the 1966 World Cup win meant. I was vaguely aware of the 1970 Mexico tournament, in which reigning champions England were defeated by West Germany (as it was then – and still is instinctively in my aging mind). A defeat blamed on stand-in goalie Peter Bonetti, but really due to the goal-hungry machine that was Gerd Muller. Whose close range volley sealed a two goal comeback in a game that England should never have lost.

On such small moments, huge changes in (football) history can turn.

Instead of being World Cup semi-finalists, with an expectation to be in with a chance of winning the thing, we became a nervous-breakdown country who struggled to qualify for successive tournaments all through the 1970s.

If there is such a term, I became ‘football-aware’ from about 1972 onwards. The advent of colour telly and discussing who supported whom at primary school, serving to fuel my interest in the game. This, just as England were beginning a long-term wane and West Germany were on the rise. Two trends incidentally that I would argue continue to this day.

The European Championships of 1972 stick vividly in my mind. England and our German nemesis had been drawn together in a home and away two-leg quarter-final.

First up being the Saturday night floodlit leg at the old Wembley Stadium. This to be played out in vivid colour in our front room, thanks to my Dad who had had a good run at work. Pockets full, he bought Bang and Olufsen TV from a specialist shop in Bromley – as was his wont when times were good. He even rigged up a super-duper aerial in our loft, pointing straight at the Crystal Palace TV tower. Let’s just say that the picture, by the standards of the day, was razor sharp.

Memories of the match itself at this far remove are scanty. The green of the Wembley pitch. The green of the German shirts. The green of my envy as Gerd Muller, short and squat, seemed to spin like a top on the edge of the English penalty area and slide home what we called a daisy-cutter shot at school. This past the imploring arms of our great Gordon Banks in goal.

I can still see that moment now, as I write this. Green shirts. Yellow arms reaching out. Muller’s arm raised aloft in his trademark. Disbelief as England crashed out 1-3 at home.

Admiration too.

That was something that I never expected. To lose so devastatingly and yet find the mental space to admire the qualities of the opposition. Was I traitor? I never spoke of it back at Castlecombe school on the Monday. Instead the talk was how England might yet win the second-leg by three clear goals – as kids do. We can still beat ‘em! Hande hoch!

Of course we didn’t.

Press the fast-forward button by two years and there was Muller again. Winning the 1974 World Cup with a reflex strike inside the Dutch penalty area.

The fiendishly well organized Germans defeating everyone’s favourite football romantics, in a crushing display of real politik. All played out in what looked like a space-age stadium in Munich.

Again, it was hard not to feel admiration, jealousy and fear in equal measure. How could we English ever match up? Maybe we never could … or maybe we could, with hard work and application. Hmm, big life lesson there.

As for Muller? he followed the classic path of hitting the heights – and then taking the path down the mountain to hell. Down, down, down.

Alcohol. A poorly judge period in the USA chasing money. Alcohol. More alcohol. Most of us lost track of him as he disintegrated of the footballer. We all know how the story goes…

Yes, such is the power of football that Gerd Muller, the German goal-scoring machine, did leave his mark on my life. Thanks to Gerd, I learned that the stereotypes of my youth were essentially hot air. That yes, you could lose a game, yet admire your opponent’s skill. Of great value it has been too as a Millwall supporter.

I learned that despite seemingly devastating losses, they were in fact only football matches that counted for everything and equally counted for nothing. Certainly  the sun still rose tomorrow.

I learned that sometimes, the only real response is to try to learn from the approach of a nation who had suffered an immeasurable wartime defeat just 30 years before; and were now able to rebuild themselves into something better. An amazing achievement.

Gerd Muller inspired an interest in me for Germany that lives on to this day. Not only would I like to thank him for that, but I also want him to know that yes, he really was the greatest striker of my lifetime.

A man who made his mark – and then some …

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Achtung! Millwall podcast report 2014-15


As the awful 2014-15 season zimmer frames off into the sunset, dribble coming from its mouth and involuntarily urinating itself, I thought I might share a few bits and pieces about the Achtung! Millwall show with you, by way of an update:

If we include the midsummer 2014 edition, we produced 45 shows all in last season. Most running for an hour or so. Though during the most difficult days of the Holloway campaign, some ran to nearly 90 minutes as the contributors vented their spleen …

On average most shows got around 1200 – 1400 plays and downloads. Much depends of form of course, but here is a list of the top ten shows last term:

8 – MFC 2-0 LUFC 09.08.14 (Listed Lion – Kevin Kempster) ……. 3472
18 – DCFC 0-0 MFC 04.10.14 (LL Frank Harper) – …………………… 2730
9 – FFC 0-1 MFC 16.08.14 – …………………………………………………. …2158
7 – Midsummer Achtung July 2014 (LL Old Les)………………………..1950
11 – MFC 0-1 RUFC 23.08.14 – ……………………………………………….. 1689
41 – BFC 2-2 MFC 21.03.15 – ………………………………………………….. 1668
40 – BCFC 2-0 MFC 15.03.15 – …………………………………………………1617
34 – NFFC 0-1 MFC 31.01.15 – …………………………………………………1508
28 – MFC 0-1 BWFC 19.12.14 (Round table show) – ………………….1505
12 – MFC 2-1 BFC 30.08.14 (LL LS75) – ……………… ………………… 1493

By contrast the lowest performing editions were:

24 – CAFC 0-0 MFC 22.11.14 – ………………………………………………….987
17 – HTFC 2-1 MFC 27.09.14 – ………………………………………………… 987
37 – MFC 0-0 FFC 21.02.15 ………………………………………………………976
43 – MFC 0-2 WFC 12.04.15 – ………………………………………………..…893
15 – RFC 3-2 MFC 16.09.14 – ……………………………………………………826 (short episode)

So by some distance, the Leeds game at the very start of the season was our most listened to show. Followed by the Frank Harper Listed Lion edition, which was included with the Derby report in October 2014.

The Listed Lion interview hit parade ranks as follows:

1 – Kevin Kempster (Leeds 09.08.15) – 3472
2 – Frank Harper (Derby 04.10.15) – 2730
3 – Old Les (Midsummer 01.07.14) – 1950
4 – LS75 (Blackpool 30.08.15) – 1493
5 – Mark Baxter (Wolves 18.10.14) – 1391
6 – Kellie Maloney (Huddersfield 07.02.15) – 1382
7 – Del Strain (Watford 01.11.14) – 1307
8 – Peter Garston (International break 16.11.14) – 1235
9 – Lord Kitch (Leeds away 14.02.15) – 1146
10 – Neil Bradley (Brighton 12.12.14) – 1119

The round table conversations are always enjoyable to make and I want to personally thank the Butterfly Collector, Fairweather Fan, Bongo and Hannibal for their help and support, as well as the Mizen Foundation for the use of their facilities.

The hit parade of the round table shows are:

1 – 28 – MFC 0-1 BWFC 19.12.14 (Round table show) – 1505
2 – 47 – END OF SEASON ROUNDTABLE 04.05.15 – 1480
3 – 13 – Round table conversation 06.09.14 – 1400

Unfortunately the first five round table shows dating from the Hangover era are all now lost to infinity. As my wife will tell you, I am not a collector of stuff and tend to delete and chuck away with abandon.

The show format has evolved into a standard match report by me / match comment with one of the rotation of co-presenters / occasional oddball item format.

This works well (for me anyway) and we certainly will keep the same for next season.

I want to thank my regular rotation of co-presenters, Stooza, Charlie, Craig, Glenn and lately Harry Warren – each of whom brings an individuality to the show that makes it such a good listen (in my opinion). Having tuned in to a few other club’s versions they sound immensely bland to me and I think we really do capture something of the anarchic experience of being a Millwall fan. That is certainly my aim anyway.

Overall, there have been just over 59,000 plays and downloads of the Achtung! Millwall shows since the demise of the Millwall Hangover. A number which is kind of scary when I think about it.

Next season, I am working on a move from Podomatic to an alternative Swedish carrier called Acast. Indeed I have constructed a fantasy world in which I am plied with drink at offshore yacht parties by statuesque blonde ‘Agnetha from Abba’ type strumpets in return for not taking the show global via a rival carrier. Acast will host the show for free – in return for selected advert breaks. I hope that this will not affect the show too much, if it does I will dump them without a second glance backward, so we shall see. Be nice not having to pay for hosting though …

Contributions to the show are always welcome. I would really like for more MP3s from Millwall fans – easy to record a few minutes opinion on your phone and send it in. I especially welcome anyone who fancies a post match phone call for the show (double-especially with all these grim northern away games to come).

A finally a few questions for you. Any comments or thoughts about the show are welcome. Even stupid ones.

Arriverderci Millwall.


  1. Do you listen to the show?
  2. Is it good, bad, indifferent, utter crap?
  3. If you don’t like it, any comments on why not would be helpful (unless the host is getting slated as he is sacrosanct)
  4. Any features you do like?
  5. Any features you don’t like?
  6. Did you enjoy the conversations with the opposition fans that I managed to get last season? Or should it be totally Millwall on the show?
  7. How can the show be improved? (‘Don’t do it’ is not allowed)
  8. Any other comments welcome …
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CBL Magazine donations 2014-15

I am pleased to be able to announce that the most recent edition 17 of CBL Magazine, generated £200 in respect of sponsorship of the Lions Trust Cup 2015; and £110 for the Courtney Terry appeal.

For the 2014-14 season therefore, the total generated for charity and good causes was:

Edition 13: £100 Combat Stress – £100 Jimmy Mizen Foundation – £75 Breakaway Visits – £75 Melanoma Research.

Edition 14: £500 Poppy Appeal – £350 ‘Sands’ – £50 Crunchie appeal.

Edition 15: £250 Willow Foundation.

Edition 16: £125 Demelza House – £125 Richard House.

Edition 17: £250 Lions Trust Cup – £110 Courtney Terry appeal.

Total for the season – £2110.

Total since edition 1 – £7414.

I would like to say a massive thank you to all of my contributors and especially to Crazyhorse for his design skills. Left to me, every edition would look like a punk DIY fanzine from 1977. I thought the recent move to a glossy feel with colour front page was very much the way to go next season.

May I also send a HUGE thank you to my resolute sellers, without whom you could halve all of those figures above. Rain or shine, all the time they are there for me.  I know they don’t like to be named, so I won’t, but you all know who they are.

Finally, thank you to everyone who bought the magazine or supported us by buying one of our badges. As much as it’s been a difficult season, I am proud of the fundamental decency of our fans, whose warm generosity never ceases to amaze me.

Up the Lions.


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The Lions Trust Cup 2015

Lions Trust Cup 2015 – Monday 11 May 2015

Ever dreamed of playing at The Den?

Well here’s your chance – YES IT’S BACK – the 6th Lions Trust Cup (sponsored by CBL Magazine) will once again be held at The Den on Monday May 11th 2015 beginning sharp at 6.30pm, registration by 6pm.

The format will be a 20 team 5-a-side competition consisting of four groups of five teams. The top two to qualify for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final matches.

HOW TO ENTER – CHECKLIST – the cost per team to enter this year’s LTC 2015 is £154 ie £22 per player – places will be allocated first-come-first-served upon receipt of the money.


BANK TRANSFER – please send £154 to:

The Cooperative Bank
Sort code: 08-92-99
Account Number: 65107883
Account Name: The Lions Trust

PAYPAL – please send £154 by Pay Pal to please remember to include your team name as reference.

EMAIL US – could the captain / organizer for each team please email our treasurer Steve Jones when payment is made to and cc (this so we can cross-reference the monies).
The email to state:

Once the money is received, we will email you back and confirm your team’s place in the tournament.

SPECTATORS – each team can buy up to 14 ‘spectator’ tickets @ £2 each and ‘Arry’s Bar will be open as in previous years. If you are not attached to a team but would like to come and watch please email us on .

BENEFICIARIES – as in previous years, 50% of the entry fees for the LTC will go to The Lions Trust’s funds, with the other 50% going to charity. This year’s event will benefit will be divided equally between:
The Jimmy Mizen Foundation –

Great Ormond Street Hospital

The local St John’s Ambulance group that turn out tirelessly to match days, charity events or whenever they are needed at The Den

REFEREEING – if anyone reading this is a referee and willing to help officiate, please contact us.

Huge thanks to the Club for allowing us to do this – they are donating the pitch, goals, extremely expensive floodlights, 2 stewards and opening ‘Arry’s for us. We are very lucky.

The Club have one stipulation – only teams and managers are allowed on the pitch as it must be kept in good condition for the Lionesses.

If anyone has any iTunes vouchers, Millwall memorabilia etc they feel like donating for the raffle it would e generously received.

Many thanks in advance.
Mel Bingham
Chair – The Lions Trust

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The Lions Trust – CBL Magazine charitable donations

Afternoon all – I have just divvied up the takings from yesterday’s Remembrance badge sales, plus that of our regular CBL Magazine edition.

I am pleased to be able to report that we are able to make the following donations on behalf of all Millwall fans:

* £500 – to the Royal British Legion poppy appeal.

* £350 – to Sands ( child mortality support.

* £50 – to the HoF Crunchie appeal (produced by regular badge sales v Cardiff 25.10.14).

I would like to thank my ‘A Team’ sellers yesterday – chaps, your efforts were a massive help and near doubled the takings compared with what I would have achieved alone. May I also express my thanks and pride in the IMMENSE generosity of Millwall fans.

Our efforts were drop in a much bigger picture yesterday and as much as the media might not want to acknowledge it, our club remains a true bastion of traditional values.

I am very glad that our various products were so well received and would like to thank the many very kind comments made to me about the badge designs, the quality of the magazine and our radio show. It means a lot.


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The Achtung! Millwall hit parade (as at 31.10.14)

As of today, the leading plays and downloads of Achtung! Millwall this season are:

1 – Millwall 2-0 Leeds 09.08.14 – 3288

2 – Derby 0-0 Millwall 04.10.14 – 2237 (starring Frank Harper)

3 – Fulham 0-1 Millwall 16.08.14 – 2066

4 – Millwall 0-1 Rotherham 23.08.14 – 1594

5 – Millwall 2-1 Blackpool 30.08.14 – 1406

6 – Sheff W 1-1 Millwall 19.08.14 (short episode) – 1300

7 – Round table conversation 06.09.14 – 1287

8 – Millwall 3-3 Wolves 19.10.14 – 1231

9 – Ipswich 2-0 Millwall 14.09.14 – 1032

10 – Millwall 0-0 N Forest 20.09.14 – 1020

11 – Huddersfield 2-1 Millwall 27.09.14 – 874

12 – Millwall 1-0 Cardiff 25.10.14 – 816

13 – Reading 3-2 Millwall 16.09.14 (short episode) – 773

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CBL 13: donations

I am pleased to report that the most recent edition of CBL generated a total of £350 for charity.

My original intention was to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War by donating to the Jimmy Mizen Foundation and the Albert Schweitzer children’s home in Germany. This didn’t prove so easy as I hoped, the German online donation page not allowing for card transfers.

So instead, I took the executive decision to instead donate to an excellent services charity in Combat Stress instead. I hope everyone approves of that choice in the circumstances.

The split of donations this time around then is:

£100 – Combat Stress
£100 – The Jimmy Mizen Foundation
£75 – Breakaway Visits via Bongo’s ‘Millwalk’ page
£75 – Rifle’s sky dive appeal for melanoma research made via the House of Fun website’s donate button

All great causes and ones that I am proud to be able to support on behalf of the fanzine. Next edition will be out in October versus Wolves.

All the best


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Achtung! Millwall 8: Millwall 2-0 Leeds United 0 09.08.14


Achtung! Millwall 8: Millwall 2-0 Leeds United 0 09.08.14.

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