A Clean Sheet (Wall 1 Southend 0)

Millwall 1 Southend 0 (FA cup 04/11/16)

It’s been a while, 13 weeks to be precise, since we saw a game where Archer had picked the ball out of the Lions goal. Is it a coincidence that the clean sheet came when 2 centre halves played at centre half? I think not. In hindsight, for all the Craig-bashing, he was probably the better option in the ‘mini crisis’ than Sid, although leaving Sid on the bench did the kid no favours either, and hopefully with Hutchinson back Sid will now go out on a much needed loan. I have expressed my feelings about Craig over the past few weeks, and I remain ambivalent to the whole saga; on the one hand we can all see his limitations, on the other hand he has given his all, and that is all we ask of some others (Jimmy springs to mind). One thing viewed with slightly less ambiguity from Lions fans is who should now be playing at centre half. Craig can also play left back, but with Ferguson and Martin, there is going to come a point where Craig needs to be dropped. Harris has made big decisions before, and now he has to again, there is no room for sentiment where you are judged on results.

As I expressed last week, thanks to the police, I was not at the game Friday night. I have however seen the impressive, outside of the right foot finish by young Marlon. He is clearly a talent and one thing is further evident is how much both him and Fred are bringing each other on with that partnership on the right. Both Marlon and Fred have defensive shortcomings, but here’s hoping they stay for a few years and develop those skills at this level before we demand a fee for them. Harris played in a squad containing Cahill, Reid, Warner and Ifill, I am sure he will be using those players as an example of players that learnt their trade at Millwall, and the benefits of this, rather than warming the West Ham bench, 30 miles from the pitch, before being sold to Grimsby for a pittance.

mahlon

Lewisham police released this image of the latest ‘ball thief’ at the Den. 

The Southend game was not without its setbacks, with Thompson having to leave the pitch due to a head injury, and more worryingly, Morison suffering a knee injury with no one around him. We have said for a few weeks, especially given his form, that losing Morison would be the worst player to lose. Although we hope it’s not long, we are without doubt going to have a few games without Steve now, and this without doubt (bar bringing Smith in from the reserves) will require a change of style from the ‘hoof to Morison’ style. We have seen flashes of the ball being played on the deck in recent weeks, and this seems to have suited Williams no end. I am actually quite looking forward to seeing how the team adapts, and this really should be a bit of a blessing for all the hoof-ball haters of the previous few months. Thankfully, we also have a bit of a dress rehearsal too, in the shape of a ‘check-a-trade’ tie at the Luxury Kenillworth Road stadium before Bristol Rovers arrive at the weekend.

Craig watch

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‘Nuff said.

Wall 3 Luton 1

Overcoming a league 2 side is never a given, having been dumped out the FA cup by Bradford under the clown, and then failing to reach Wembley against Oxford. This time we did not fail and our 100% record in the absolute shambles that is the ‘check a trade’ trophy continues.

As a fan who goes to a lot of games, I have voted with my feet on this competition, and not once did I attend a game. The whole idea of playing Premiersh*t B teams is patronising to both fans and players of lower league clubs. To my surprise, I was forwarded an email that appeared to come from the EFL themselves, asking all media outlets to circulate some fabricated stats about increased attendances, and the long term plan to develop home grown youth players. I am sure I was not the only fan who opened that email, and shouted “b*llocks”. I happened to be at work at the time too, but  managed to palm the boss off on some excuse about figures, which wasn’t entirely untrue in hindsight.

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This weeks ‘spot the fan’ competition comes from the Riverside stadium. Participants are in with a chance of being next weeks solitary fan at a check a trade game of your choice. 

The fact that the EFL are willing to lie about this to spin it as some kind of success rather like a candid old politician is laughable in circles of people who support these clubs. Attendances are down, yet they try to manipulate an increased gate by using the total amount of people who have attended the games (there are a shedload of new teams and a group stage, more games was likely to see more attendees, even with the lower gate). What I find even more astounding, is that both the EFL, and seemingly the FA also, appear to be trying to sell this as a great move for youth development of home grown players, yet seem to avoid pointing the finger at the ‘elephant in the room’ that is the money drenched top flight. These young player would benefit more from loans to lower league clubs, and once they have cut their teeth, they would benefit yet further from a chance in the 1st team ahead of the cheap foreign imports that stop them playing.

elephant-in-the-room

The FA meet to discuss the issue of home grown youth development in the English game (don’t mention it….)

Until the bigwigs stop avoiding the issue (hard I know whilst coining it in off the back of the gravy train) and start ensuring our kids get the chances at the top level, we can be sure that a) the national side will never get much further than a group stage, and b) most of the kids we are playing in the c-a-t trophy will be playing at our level in a few years anyway. Personally I couldn’t give a flying monkeys about the national side, I am far more interested in watching Millwall, but I refuse to watch my club when it is used as a pawn by some FA experiment.

After getting side tracked ranting away about the EFL, it should be noted that we won 3-1, and Smith scored twice, maybe he will start Sat and we can continue our much loved trademark hoof?

Signed shirt auction for Mind

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Here we have one I made earlier, I also forge cheques, bank statements, home insurance……

Having been directly affected by depression during a recent spell in my life, and having a couple of friends who have had to endure a family suicide due to mental health problems, I took up the challenge of running another marathon (London 2017) for Mind. After signing on the dotted line I got my fundraising target, a familiar £2g to raise for charity.

I ran Brighton marathon in 2014, then London in 2015, I had a rest of fundraising in 2016, I was pretty sure people were aware I could run 26.2 miles, and it wasn’t a ‘challenge’ as such anymore, rather routine yearly event. I have therefore decided to make myself a bit of a challenge this year, by running both the Brighton and the London marathons, with 2 weeks to separate them.

 

I am still concerned that even this will not be enough to draw in the target, although I did have some extremely generous donations on my previous attempts. To make sure I get to the mark I have acquired a number of things to auction which I hope will draw in a good start to the fund. The first of which is this seasons home shirt, signed by the entire squad. I need to add that I purchased this shirt off my own back, and after chatting to FOTB Pete, my Dad went down to the training ground and patiently waited for the squad to squiggle all over it, so I am hoping the shirt raises a fair amount more than the purchase price. All proceeds will go to the charity, I will not be taking the purchase price back.

The auction will start this Sunday 13th November and bidding will be open for 10 days (Via ebay). I will also offer free P&P for the winner. So happy bidding Wall family, I hope we raise a lot of money for mind, and someone gets a brilliant Christmas present.

 

 

 

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