a plague o' both your houses...
Family - The double edged sword…


The biggest small club in the world got a little bit bigger recently. It’s all thanks mainly to a man named Mike Calvin and the book he has been promoting recently titled Family, Life Death and Football in which Mike spent a year as a fly on the wall of Millwall’s dressing room in our promotion season to the Championship. 

The book itself is a revelation to any football fan, one that supporters of what Mike has dubbed ‘proper clubs’ will be able to completely relate to and yet - on a completely different perspective - one that would bewilder those fans of the commercialised, Americanised teams in the country (see Manchester City’s stolen Polish celebration or research the creation of the Crystal Palace ‘Ultras’ as perfect examples of football fans devoid of true thoroughbred passion).

My one gripe on the book has nothing to do with the book itself but more down to the double edged effect it is having to our fan base during this dire half season we have had. The book gave fans a window into how our club was run, who the big voices were and how the manager got the best out of his players despite having a transfer budget of less than what Carlos Tevez ‘earns’ in one week. 

We enjoyed and took heart from the book the following season as the Lions marched up the table and almost made a third consecutive play-off birth, narrowly missing out on the second to last game of the season. Then the summer came, we lost Steve Morison to Norwich and replaced him with what many people believed (though gladly I can say I was not among them) was an injury-prone player in Darius Henderson that wouldn’t score more than 10 goals! (He is currently on 12 so far). Not only that but we would sign an unfit Jay Simpson on loan and an unproven winger in Liam Feeney (later to be found as another masterstroke signing). 

However the fans couldn’t help wondering where the Morison money had gone? They fretted for the season and their window that they had the previous season was now out-dated. Fans now demand complete transparency on the situation of striker Josh McQuoid, attack John Marquis for running his socks off despite being only 19 and our most prolific scorer last season! (4 goals in 11). They probably see a little bit of the Lewis Grabban(Chapter 7 - House of Fun) in either or both of them which would be harsh indeed.

Our defence that was so solid last season was shaken early on and we were bleeding goals. Heads dipped and people called into question Paul Robinson’s ability as a captain. What they fail to realise is that ‘The Guvnors’ they read about in the book that aided Robinson are no longer there. The group of old heads who knew what it was to be Millwall but unfortunately their ability could not match their drive in the Championship and they were allowed to play for contracts (to feed their families) elsewhere.

The club has undergone a period of free fall and its in times like this where fans are demanding answers from the manager that a revealing book like Family makes any lack of communication seem like a defensive stance or perhaps an admission of defeat by the manager, particularly in the age of Twitter where players lives are streamed for the world.

However, I believe that on the back of his achievements and the details of how he runs the club that are revealed in Family that Kenny Jackett has had the backing of the majority of our support all season and will continue to have it (even if we were to get relegated) where so many other clubs have and would have replaced the manager. So for that Mike, I thank you.

Family, Life, Death and Football is by far the best football book you will read this or any other year and here are the links to a few promotional pieces for anyone looking to do more research as well as a link for anyone wanting to buy the book now!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss4TawnY2k8 Promo

http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/listen-again/episode/61905 Interview with ex-Sky Sports Andy Gray and Richard ‘would you smash it?’ Keys on talkshite - Mike is on 1200-1300

Buy the book here…


Lets see what the Theatre of Dreams is now…

With the current issue on reporters being allowed access to football grounds many this weekend found themselves shelling out 10-30 pounds for a ticket for the game in which they were to report.

For me its one of the best things that has happened to sports journalism, as maybe now we’ll get less press glorification of an overpriced and lifelessly supported premier league and a better focus on the leagues lower down. 

When watching football in a press box, every stadium is the same but at Old Trafford and the Emirates the prawn sandwiches are certainly of a better class. However go out to the terraces and you will find a most drab and dull affair save for those ‘big games’ against rivals in which classic rivalries bring out a shred of character in these plastic fantastic fans. 

The best seats in the house of the premier league last year were in the away end of the newly promoted, where singing is non-stop even in the face of what drubbings the fan’s respective clubs may be taking.

Go to the Championship, League one and two and its even better. Hear the chants from people who actually live and grow up in the area around the stadium. Feel the passion for the game that families have been following for generations not flavour of the months. 

When you have to pay 20 quid to hear Millwall roar rather than 60 quid to hear Arsenal whimper you start to see what ‘real football’ is, and maybe, just maybe we will see a glorification of the game that the majority of people in this country watch.

The new rivalry continues…

That time of year again, Leeds at home.

We can’t ever seem to have a game against em that isn’t for something more than just three points. Now its three points and the look at stealing theirs or Readings shot at the play-offs.

It’s a game that could cost the team already sitting pretty - £80million pounds in loss of earnings for failing to get promoted. Not that entry to the playoffs is a guarantee.

Many believe that win this and we have as good a chance as any of making it there. We won’t make it easy for Leeds, never have, never will.

Grayson has no backbone and has ridden his luck on player power rather than tactical prowess, something that the one true King Kenny thrives on. 

I expect the pitch at The Den on saturday to be the narrowest Leeds have played on all season. Not due to the groundsman mind - but the uncensored abuse and venom that would even make Wayne Rooney blush. 

As fans our job is to make the players jobs easier. The mind games will start in the tunnel no doubt, expect expletives from our captain and hopefully three points too.