Morisons greatest goal? (Oxford 1 Millwall 2)

Morison’s greatest goal for us? (Oxford 1 Millwall 2 29/10/16)

This Saturday I missed my second away game of the season, having taken in the delights of some rather long and fruitless trips, including the pinnacle of all depressing Tuesday evenings in Port Vale. Having only missed the disastrous Peterborough game previously, I was sitting in a  large franchise coffee shop with my daughter refreshing my phone every 2 mins and hoping we could cling on as the lads took on Oxford.. I am sure the lot up there were more tense than me but the lack of updates at 95 mins did nothing to settle my nerves (although the coffee may have added to my jitters).

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Oxford against Millwall last season in the JPT, where a defiant effort at the Kassam with 10 men was not enough to overturn the 2 goal lead David Forde had so kindly offered in the home leg, bless him.

As I didn’t go it is hard to comment, but having seen the highlights; that is some goal from Morison. It’s hard to remember a better goal that he has scored from us, and what would appear to have been an important time to score it too. This being the first time we have come from behind in the league to win a game. Up until today it was almost invariably the case that whichever team scored 1st would likely win, although by all accounts, people that travelled today have said that we still conceded a goal from the oppositions only meaningful attack, as has been the case so frequently this term.

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Morison enjoys Ed Balls’ latest outing on ‘Strictly come Dancing’

At half time I was told by someone I sit with at the Den that we had been the better side, and that Morison’s goal was a ‘worldy’, which is hard to dispute. At full time I was told that both Williams and Craig had put in a shift (both have been consistently strong this month) and that my mate had been chatting to Harris after the game. According to him he mentioned 3 wins out of the last 4, and Harris had corrected him that it was 4 from 5! Having chatted to Neil on many occasions, that sounds like something he would eagerly point out!

It doesn’t seem that long ago we were talking about 4 defeats on the bounce, and some where calling for the managers head. Now we are right back in the mix, and hopefully on our way to a run of wins that will see us back in contention to push for the top six come May. Its easy to let emotions get the better of you and losing every week was tough, especially the continual long journeys home afterwards. The table now is a more accurate reflection of how we have been playing, and it really does show why pressing the panic button after 4 games and sacking a manager who the players respect is just counter productive. Sure the style of play can be something to address in the long run, but hopefully we are now looking up for the remainder of this season rather than down.

Craig watch

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Croydon ultra’s unveil their new banner, everybody now……You take it up the arsssssssssseeeeeeeeeee!

Another week, another good game according to a few coming away from the rather odd 3 sided creation that is the Kassam stadium. That said I seen some that have criticised his part played in the goal conceded yesterday. Its hard to judge as I wasn’t there, but I feel its a bit harsh to blame Craig alone for the goal, even though he is slow to close the player down and does little to stop the ball flashing across the 6 yard box. From the footage it looks like Webster has just been done and is chasing back, Romeo I cannot find in the footage (but I presume moved central to cover Webster) and Fergie’s ball watching makes him equally culpable.

Apart from his part in the lead up to the goal where most agree he (and others) could have done better, most I have spoke to have said besides this Craig had an ok game, and for the past few weeks I have left games saying “Craig wasn’t that bad today”. I am pleased for him for sticking it out and he has put in some better performances of late, as much as I was a critic of the ‘scapegoat of the season’. Craig really is a fighter, not that we really could expect anything else him, his minerals have never been in question by anyone; he is however limited in ability, poor in the air, and not a natural centre half as I have said before. Despite this, his recent showings have certainly proved he is worth having around the squad as back up for the remainder of the season at least in my opinion. The return of Hutchinson should ensure that Craig fulfils this role on the bench, and as much as I admire his persistence, if Hutchinson is not benching Craig then questions need to be asked of management.

Our lovable fruit throwing friends across the pond:

I apologise for talking about them on this page, but the issue has been burning away in that unrealistic middle class parody of football that is the premier league for some time now. Every week, the lovable cockney fruit throwing bunch seem to be involved in some sort of misdemeanour. For us down here at a more grounded level of realistic football with no delusions of grandeur, we are still not too far away from a story akin to the ones from Stratford.

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The vermin club shop are making a killing on binoculars

The rivalry between West Ham and Millwall allegedly stems back to the days of the docks, when working class men from opposing docks viewed the game with tribalism. Over my time as a Wall fan I have heard numerous stories of the 2 sides “getting one over on each other”. These stories usually stem back to the 70’s / 80’s where I have heard all sorts, from a Wall fan being chucked under a train, to the entire cockney firm playing hide and seek for a day round the backstreets of New Cross.  Since these days, the premier league money has tried to give football a makeover. The sky pundits would have you believe that the “dark days” of the 80’s are long behind us, football is a family game, and that we can all go and enjoy our Saturday afternoon on our comfy seats in our soulless bowls without any hint of a firm in sight.

The truth is, although the image sky paint of this new product called football, at our level of football especially, football is very much still a game for the masses and (mostly) affordable for all, it therefore seems to hit its original target audience of the working class. The media may have painted the picture of us as a club being in the dark ages, but anyone who goes away with us will see that at most grounds, it’s not just a few of ours that have turned up for a few beers, a goading, and if it comes to it, a bit of a ‘commotion’ wink wink. There are plenty of teams all around the country who come to ‘have a go’ at us. I would not count myself in this category of football fan at all, I have far more interest in football and seeing wall win than goading someone I will never see again, but I have taken it as part and parcel of football.

So what is going on in Stratford? Well not much different than was going on at Upton Park really. The Carling cup night the other year when we almost won (I still hate Junior Stanislas) was great fun. Although we lost in the end, and the fat Lycra clad idiots embarrassingly stormed the pitch, that was a great night. Gritty football, gritty atmosphere, that really is the kind of game I go to football for! I don’t doubt stuff like this was happening every week at their old ground, and even though we lost, the 1,500 of us penned in behind riot police took the p*ss out of them all night, and made far more noise than them.

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Kevin Nolan is mistaken for a pitch invader by a steward after Junior Stanislas’ equaliser

When the delightful Baroness Brady and her team wangled the deal for the stadium at the taxpayers’ expense, the gloats from the faithful over there were antagonising to say the least. They eventually moved to the new ground, knocking down all that history. The 1st day of the season they turn up to the ground with a new badge, a comfy seat 200 miles from the pitch, and prices for refreshments just below your standard mortgage on a London penthouse. Not only that, but the demographic of the fanbase has changed almost overnight. I have lost count of the amount of middle class looking families I have seen jumping on my train set for Stratford, claret and blue clad, as I set off for the Den. All of a sudden, I am notified by people that go, you are frowned at for swearing, and if you stand up at any point, some stuck up trendy is going to wave her copy of the Guardian at you, or worse still, grass you up to a steward. Can you honestly imagine this at the Den and how we would react? I know people have their views on the stewarding at the Den, but would we stand for this new class of supporter turning up and telling us how to support our club? I can’t see it myself.

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Frank Maloney impersonator and licentious old bat; David Gold takes his seat at the Olympic stadium. 

With the new stadium, the new badge, the rebrand, and the new demographic, the whole clubs soul is being systematically ripped out. I know of a couple of Boleyn regulars who have given up already. It is a Premier league dream, a working class gritty club becoming a plastic soulless money grabbing lovable monstrosity. Then with all the attention on the new ground; when the real fans inevitably revert to type and act as they would have at the old gaff, they are then lauded by the press and the board, who seem most surprised that these types were not cleansed already by the move to comfier climates. Apparently a few isolated incidents, not worthy of any real paper talk (I am being realistic here, we have all seen a lot worse) have been splashed across the headlines, and we in SE16 know about this type of reporting better than most. From the outside looking in, the trouble can only be a good thing long term for the board, who will continue their ambition of eroding the old core support for their more affluent, better spoken replacements.

With all the taunting about the deal they got with that ground, it would be easy to laugh at them now. That said, as a fan of a club that are very proud of its working class origins, I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them, as weird as it seems saying that. I hated them more than any other club, but I hated them as they were. It makes me a little sad knowing I will eventually be unable to hate this fluffy, corporate sell out and rather plastic reincarnation of themselves.

 Random observation: “Police advice” 

For the second week in a row I am unable to make the game largely due to our lovable Old Bill’s friendly yet seemingly needless advice. The kick off at Oxford presumably was due to the commotion of the season before. Last seasons game had a place at Wembley at stake, an evening game, the home end looked sold out to me and due to a crash on the M25, I arrived at 7:50 and couldn’t get past the stairs to any seated area. The most welcoming Thames Valley police were most accommodating to this predicament, and duly obliged to charge in with dogs and riot gear most appropriately. I could see this style of policing was antagonistic and wasn’t surprised when it all went off behind me at half time as I collected my bovril. Was there really the likelihood this would happen again on a Saturday league game? I have my doubts.

Then this Friday we play out FA cup 1st round game, a game pencilled in for Saturday but alas, due to that old trusty “advice” from the Met, for the second week running I will not be in attendance. This is particularly frustrating, as I had looked to take my 3 year old to her second game, and being that the nipper would be with me, I would have booked a table for both us and the family in Kitcheners and the exec tickets to boot. I work out that this alone has probably cost the club, from my family alone, about £6oo/700. Unfortunately this is not plausible to take a 3 year old to a game until 10pm or later, whats more frustrating than this is that due to my own commitments on the Friday, it will be my second week with no football! Withdrawal symptoms are already setting in, I don’t know what I will do if the Bristol Rovers game is called off due to international call ups!

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Bongo (from HoF) used this cartoon for anyone continuing to talk about Chris Wood long after he signed for Leicester. From now on I will use this cartoon for every time a game is rescheduled I cannot attend, and my subsequent excuse not to go to f*cking bluewater with the Mrs goes out the window.

What I really want to know is, what grounds did the police have for moving this game to a Friday, or ever? All the official site says is “police advice” but never elaborates. How much does the club fight this advice the plod kindly offer, or do they say jump and we say “how high”? Does the club get more than a friendly nudge, or is evidence presented to them? Because us, the people affected by this all the time, seem to have no explanation for any of these occurrences. Surely the club has an interest to challenge the decision, as this will no doubt affect the clubs taking on the gate. I was told by someone connected to the club the “advice” was due to the Met’s  commitments on fireworks night, but then why are we the only team in London to have our game rescheduled? The Chelsea, Vermin and Charlton games at home are all going ahead without the need for some friendly ‘guidance’.

I have asked the AMS to bring this to the clubs attention and they have agreed that they would also approach the police for comment, once I hear back I will post up the responses on the page.

 

 

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