Learn more about Millwall F.C.
|Full name||Millwall Football Club|
|Ground||New Den Stadium|
|Chairman||Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg Stewart Till|
|Manager||Image:Flag of Scotland.svg Willie Donachie|
|2005-06||Championship, 23rd (relegated)|
Their team nickname is The Lions, formerly The Dockers. They changed the nickname after being referred to as "Lions" for their acts of giant killing in their FA Cup run of 1900, when they reached the semi final. They adopted a lion emblem, bearing the legend, We Fear No Foe. The emblem, along with its legend, was not added to their shirts until the 1930's. We Fear No Foe was changed later, however, to just MFC, (Millwall Football Club). They also reached the semi final in 1903, 1907 and 1937. Their 1937 appearance was notable as they became the first team in the old third division to reach the last four.
Their traditional strip consists of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks. Their current strip is blue shirts with white trim, white shorts with blue trim and blue socks with white trim.
Millwall "Rovers" were founded by the workers of J.T. Morton in Millwall in the East End of London on the Isle of Dogs in 1885. J.T. Morton was owned by Iron Merchant James Morton, Provost of Greenock (1867-1871), Scotland. They opened their first English cannery and food processing plant on the Isle of Dogs at the Millwall dock in 1870, and attracted a workforce from across the whole of the country, including the East Coast of Scotland. The group of tinsmiths who founded Millwall were predominantly, but not exclusively Scottish. The club secretary was seventeen year old Jasper Sexton, the son of the landlord of The Islander Pub in Tooke Street where Millwall held their meetings. The first chairman of the club was Irish international footballer and local GP Doctor William Murray-Leslie, who surprisingly never played for the club. Their original nickname, "The Dockers" emanated from the occupation of the club's supporters.
Millwall's first fixture was in 1885 against Fillebrook, who played in Leytonstone. The newly formed team was well beaten 5 - 0. Learning from this early defeat, they were unbeaten in their next 12 games before they lost to the top East London side Old St Pauls. In their first season, they were only beaten three times. In November 1886, the East End Football Association was formed, and along with it came a Senior Cup Competition. Millwall made it to the final against London Caledonians. The game was played at the Leyton Cricket Ground. The match finished 2 - 2 and the teams shared the cup for six months each. During this season, Millwall played two games on the same day, both at home. The first was a 0 - 0 draw against Dreadnought in the morning; the second, a 4 - 1 win against Westminster Swifts in the afternoon.
Despite an 8 - 1 defeat in the FA Cup, Millwall went on to win the East London Senior Cup at the first attempt. They went on to win it for the following two years and the trophy became their property.
 Formation of the Southern League
Millwall went on to become founder members of the Southern League which they won for the first two years of its existence. In those days, The Football League was in its infancy and consisted mainly of northern clubs such as Bury, Notts County, Sheffield United and Preston North End. In the south, the Southern League was not only seen as a rival league, but more prestigious. Millwall were also the Western League Champions in 1908 and 1909.
Millwall played on a variety of grounds on the Isle of Dogs. It was not unusual for Millwall to attract thirty or forty thousand spectators to a game, especially at their second ground at North Ferry Road. This was quite an achievement, given that travelling facilities were sparse.
 The Den
Their most famous ground was The Den at New Cross, SE14, which they moved to in 1910. They had previously occupied no fewer than four separate grounds on the Isle Of Dogs in the 25 years since their formation as a football club. Tom Thorne, the director in charge, had sought the help of architect Archibald Leitch and builders Humphries of Knightsbridge. The estimated cost of The Den was £10,000. The first match was against Brighton & Hove Albion, who spoiled the celebrations by winning 0 - 1. The price of the official Match Programme was one penny. Unfortunately, the opening ceremony also suffered a slight hitch when it was discovered that Lord Kinnaird, had inadvertently gone to the Canterbury (Ilderton) Road end. He had to be unceremoniously hauled, pushed, and pulled over the wall into the ground. After rushing to the other end (Cold Blow Lane) the President of the FA performed a brief opening ritual and led the players onto the pitch. Before kick off a brass lion, inscribed (in Gaelic) "We Will Never Turn Our Backs To The Enemy", was presented to the club. It was here that the famous Millwall Roar was born. This strongly partisan support was soon to be regarded by the team as "a goal start." The Den became one of the most feared grounds in the country. No team liked to play there, because the crowd and the place itself created such an intimidating atmosphere. Many supporters from the East End of London continued to follow The Lions in the early years after their move south of the River Thames by walking through the Greenwich foot tunnel to join the new supporters drawn mainly from the Surrey Docks. The Lions fans were tough, uncompromising, quick to speak their mind and offer advice to the team and officials. Anyone visiting The Den thinking that southerners were soft, soon realised they were in the wrong part of London.
 The Football League
Millwall's first Football League match at The Den was on August 28th 1920. They beat Bristol Rovers 2 - 0. This victory over Rovers was the Lions' seventh successive win against them since moving to The Den. The game was played in the Football League Division 3 South of which Millwall were founder members.
They became known as a hard-fighting Cup team and competed in various memorable matches, notably defeating three-time league winners (and reigning champions) Huddersfield Town 3-1 in the third round of the FA Cup in 1927. Matches against Derby County, Sunderland and others that saw packed crowds of forty-eight thousand plus in the 1930s and 1940s. However, it can be argued that the biggest cup upset came in the fourth round of the FA Cup on the 26th January 1957, when Millwall beat the then mighty Newcastle 2-1, watched by a crowd of 45,646, at a time when The Lions were fighting for Third Division survival.
 Wartime Exploits
On April 7 1945, Millwall appeared in a Southern FA Cup Final at Wembley against Chelsea, but because it was an unofficial Wartime Cup Final it is not acknowledged in the record books. With the War in Europe in its last days, there was a relaxation on the number of spectators allowed to attend games. The attendance was 90,000, which is the largest crowd Millwall have ever played in front of. Despite being favourites to win, Millwall played poorly and lost 2 - 0 to Chelsea. To this day Lions fans who were at the game blame the "guest players" in the Millwall side, and Sam Bartram, the Charlton goalkeeper, in particular. Despite having won the Cup which was presented by King George VI, the Chelsea post match celebrations soon "fizzled out", and most of their players ended up at the Millwall party, which continued well into the early hours of the morning.
With the loss of so many young men during the Second World War it was difficult for all clubs to retain their former status. This was especially true for Millwall, who appeared to suffer more than most. From being one of the country's biggest clubs before the war, Millwall were reduced to one of its smallest afterwards. The Den sustained severe bomb damage during The London Blitz. A German bomb hit The North Terrace on April 19th 1943 and on 26th April, a fire destroyed the main stand. The club accepted offers from neighbours Charlton, Crystal Palace and West Ham to stage games. On 24th February 1944 Millwall returned to The Den, to play in an all-standing stadium. This was achieved, in part, with considerable volunteer labour by the Lions fans.
After the war, rationing in Britain continued and Millwall were refused permission by the Ministry of Works to construct a new two tier stand, despite having procured all the materials. They had to wait until 1948, when permission was granted to build a smaller single tier stand two thirds the length of the pitch, with a forecourt terrace at the front.
 In the doldrums
Their form during the 1950's was poor, and they suffered relegation on a regular basis. One highlight during this period was on October 5th, 1953, when Millwall played Manchester United to mark the opening of their floodlights. A crowd of 25,000 saw The Lions beat The Red Devils 2 - 1. In the 1958-59 season, Millwall became founder members of Division Four. It wasn't until the early 1960's that things began to change. During this time, they discovered a number of useful players, such as goalkeeper Alex Stepney. He later went on to fame with Manchester United, winning a European Cup Winners medal in 1968.
 The Class of '71
Later in the decade, Millwall established an incredible record of 59 home games without defeat from: 22nd August 1964 to 14th January 1967. This was thanks largely to managers Ron Gray, who laid the foundations, and Benny Fenton, a former player who continued to build on Gray's side. All the players were presented with a commemorative cigarette lighter by the Football Association. In the early 1970's Millwall boasted a truly great side, now remembered by Lions fans as "The Class of '71". This was a team that boasted the inspirational Harry Cripps, Dennis Burnett, Derek Possee, Barry Kitchener, Eamon Dunphy, Keith Weller, Doug Allder, Alan Dorney, Bryan King, and more. They lost out on promotion to the old Division One by just one point. In 1974 Millwall hosted the first game to be played on a Sunday (against Fulham). To get around the law at the time, admission was gained by "Programme Only". On production of a matchday magazine, the bearer was then sold a team sheet bearing the words "Official Programme". The programme was sold for the same price as admission to the ground. Millwall repeated this exercise against Fulham on the 27th April 1982, hosting the second game to be played on a Sunday.
Millwall are also the only club to be unbeaten at home in four different divisions: 1927-28 Division 3 (South), 1964-65 Division Four, 1965-66 Division Three, 1971-72 Division Two, 1984-85 Division Three.
 George Graham
George Graham was Millwall manager from 1983 to 1986, and during that time he guided the club to promotion to the Second Division. Millwall also won the Football League Trophy, beating Lincoln City 3 - 2. It was during this game that Graham spotted a talented young Lincoln striker, John Fashanu, who signed for Millwall and was an F.A Cup winner with his next club, Wimbledon. In the 1984-85 season Millwall knocked Leicester out of the FA Cup. This was a Leicester side that boasted Gary Lineker and Alan Smith, but Millwall showed tremendous discipline and ended up winning 2-0. Graham left to begin a successful nine-year spell as Arsenal manager.
Reflecting on his time as the Millwall manager Graham informed the South London Press: "The Millwall fans reminded me of home. The ground may have been a bit spartan, but I soon realised that the fans were in a different class. In fact, their passion for the game reminded me of my days in Glasgow. The people up there are really fanatical about their football, they eat it and sleep it, and the Millwall fans were exactly the same. That was something I wasn't used to, because I thought that in general, southerners were less passionate. I learned so much".
 The First Division at long last
Graham's replacement was fellow Glaswegian John Docherty, previously a manager at Brentford and Cambridge United. In his second season as manager Millwall surprised observers by winning the Second Division championship and gained promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history. Millwall had been the only professional team in London never to have played in the top flight. Docherty stated at the time: "The full enormity of what we had achieved struck home that night as we celebrated with the players and fans. When Frank McLintock and I went into the Royal Archer with the Championship Trophy, I think most of our fans thought that I was a cardboard cut-out! They couldn't believe that we wanted to have a drink with them and let them hold the Trophy, but for me, that sort of moment is what the game is all about". During this season, Millwall were the first club to open a crèche in the Football League. Millwall were also voted "Community Club Of The Year".
Millwall had a good start to the 1988-89 First Division campaign, topping the League on October 1st 1988 having played 6 games- winning 4, drawing 2, losing 0 and rarely being out of the top five before Christmas. This was mainly due to their deadly strike force of Tony Cascarino and Teddy Sheringham, and to Terry Hurlock, who totally dominated the Millwall midfield with his "no nonsense" style of play. Cascarino was signed from Gillingham for £225,000. Sheringham began his professional career at Millwall in 1982 at the age of sixteen, after impressing a scout when playing for Leyton and Ilford during a youth team game against Millwall. The first live television transmission of a Millwall game was on 22nd January 1989. The T.V. cameras picked out a banner bearing the slogan "It's Taken You Long Enough To Find The Den!" Their first top division season ended with a tenth place finish, which was the lowest place occupied by the club all season. They also briefly led the league for one night in September 1989 after beating Coventry 4-1, but won only two more games all season and were relegated in bottom place at the end of the 1989-90 campaign.
 Life outside the top flight
Just before relegation was confirmed, John Docherty was sacked and replaced by ex-Middlesbrough manager Bruce Rioch. Striker Teddy Sheringham, who later played for the England team, was the highest scoring player throughout the Football League in 1990-91. He was sold to Nottingham Forest after Millwall's defeat in the Second Division playoffs.
Rioch left Millwall in 1992 to be succeeded by Irish Defender Mick McCarthy. McCarthy guided Millwall to third place in the new Division One at the end of the 1993-94 season. This was their first season at the New Den, which was opened by the late Labour Party leader John Smith M. P. on the 4th of August 1993. They also knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round, beating them 2- 0, with a spectacular goal coming from young Irish midfielder, Mark Kennedy, but they lost to Derby County in the playoff semi finals. McCarthy resigned to take charge of the Republic of Ireland national team in December 1995, shortly after Millwall had been knocked off the top of the Division One table by Sunderland after a 6-0 defeat. Mark Kennedy was sold to Liverpool in March 1994 for £2,300,000. The New Den was the first new football stadium to be built in London since the Second World War.
 Another slump
Jimmy Nicholl of Raith Rovers was appointed as McCarthy's replacement, but could not address the slump in form which saw Millwall relegated at the end of the season in 22nd place. Just five months before this they had been top of Division One pushing for a place in the Premiership. Instead Millwall found themselves in Division Two for the 1996-97 season. The club also experienced extreme financial difficulties that resulted in them being placed in financial administration for a short period of time. Jimmy Nicholl was relieved of his duties and John Docherty returned on a short term basis to stabilise the club at playing level.
The club came out of administration, and new chairman Theo Paphitis appointed ex-West Ham United (Millwall's bitter rivals) manager Billy Bonds as manager. Paphitis proposed that Millwall should play in grey shirts, but after considerable pressure from fans groups, he relented and Millwall's home colours became all white, with a blue away strip. He also dispensed with the Roaring Lion crest, replacing it with, in his words, "a less aggressive emblem". An ongoing campaign was launched to have the Roaring Lion restored to the Millwall Shirt. This was not a successful season, with the club hovering close to relegation to the Third Division. Bonds was sacked and replaced by the long-serving and popular Keith "Rhino" Stevens, with Alan McLeary as his assistant. McLeary was promoted to joint manager. Millwall's blue "home" shirts were reinstated.
Keith Stevens and Alan McLeary led Millwall to their first ever official Wembley appearance. They faced Wigan Athletic in the Auto Windscreens Final. However, Millwall, who were playing in front of 49,000 of their own fans, spurned numerous chances to win the game, and lost by a single injury time goal. Millwall also lost on aggregate to Wigan in the 2nd Division play-off semi finals in 1999.
Mark McGhee was named as Millwall's new manager in September 2000, and eight months later the club won promotion as Division Two champions after five years in the lower tier of the league. Winning the first match of the season 4-0 at home to Norwich City set the team up well for a good season in which Millwall qualified for the Division One playoffs, but lost to eventual winners Birmingham City 0 - 1 in the semi finals. This meant that they missed out on a second successive promotion, which would have given them a place in the Premiership. Millwall missed out on a playoff place in 2002-03 and McGhee was sacked soon after the start of the 2003-04 season.
 FA Cup run
In 2003 Dennis Wise, ex-Chelsea and England player, became caretaker, and subsequently permanent player-manager, of the club. In his first season in charge Wise led the club to the first FA Cup final in their history (excluding the 1945 War Cup Final). When Millwall took to the field at the Millennium Stadium they were only the second team from outside the top flight to play in the final since 1982, and were the first team from outside the Premership to reach the final since its foundation in 1992. They were also missing no less than sixteen players from their squad due to suspension or injury. They played the Cup final on May 22nd 2004, losing 3-0 to Manchester United. As Manchester United had already qualified for the Champions League, Millwall were assured of playing in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup. Millwall midfielder Curtis Weston, substituted for Wise with two minutes to play, became the youngest Cup Final player in history at 17 years 119 days, beating the 125 year old record of James F. M. Prinsep. Dennis Wise also insisted that the injured Tony Warner and Kevin Muscat be presented with medals.
 Foray into Europe
Millwall put up a brave fight in both games, but the Hungarian champions were too strong and wily. Surprisingly, whilst Millwall were seeded, Ferencvaros were not. Millwall could have had an easier draw, against Chechnyan minnows Terek Grozny. If Millwall had beaten them, then they would have made it into the group stage of the competition, where they would have faced some of Europe's elite, including teams such as Lazio and Schalke. This would have been a fantastic opportunity for Millwall on and off the playing field.
 Change of Hands
In 2005 Theo Paphitis announced that he was stepping down as chairman of the club with Jeff Burnige to replace him from May 2005. At the end of the 2004-05 season, manager Dennis Wise announced that he was leaving as he was unable to form a working relationship with the new chairman.
 Another change of hands
On 21st June 2005 Steve Claridge (Millwall forward 2001-03) was announced as the new player/manager of Millwall FC. However, when Burnige then stepped down just two months after taking up the post, it was announced on 27th July that Claridge had been sacked after 36 days, without ever taking charge of the team in a competitive match.
 A leap into misery
Former Watford, Wolves and Walsall manager Colin Lee replaced him but lasted only five months in charge of the club. On 21st December, with the club bottom of the Championship, he became the club's Director of Football and was replaced as manager by 32-year-old player Dave Tuttle, on a short-term contract until the end of the season. Tuttle had no prior experience in football management. In February 2006, Colin Lee left the club altogether. Millwall experienced a very difficult season, possibly as a consequence of having had no fewer than four managers in 2005. Their relegation to League One was confirmed on Monday 17th April 2006 with a 2 - 0 loss against Southampton.
Ironically, sacked manager Steve Claridge had spoken to BBC Sport on the 13th of April stating, "I was treated absolutely disgracefully at Millwall, for people to come out and say after I'd gone and say, he had to go, we could have got relegated - well, they have done really well since I left, haven't they?"
Tuttle was unable to save Millwall from relegation to League One and resigned from the job as a result on 20th April 2006. Goalkeeping coach Tony Burns and Alan McLeary took charge for the two remaining games of the season.
Millwall won one and lost one of their two remaining games, with caretaker manager McLeary fielding teams whose average age was just twenty one. They were officially relegated to League One in 23rd place on Sunday 30th April 2006.
 A change at the top
On 3rd May 2006, lifelong Millwall supporter Stewart Till became the new Chairman of Millwall Football Club, with Peter de Savary remaining as chair of the Holding Company, (Millwall holdings plc).AIM: MWH New Executive Deputy Chair Heather Rabbatts will oversee the day to day running of the company. On 23rd May 2006, Nigel Spackman was announced as the new manager of Millwall Football Club. Spackman failed to make an impact at the South London club after a run of only 2 competitive wins out of 8 games (up to and including 9/9/2006.) In September 2006, Theo Paphitis (Chairman 1997-2005) decided to end his 9-year association with the club after a year spell as a non-executive director of The Lions.
On September 25th 2006 Spackman left the club by mutual consent after five successive defeats, placing assistant Willie Donachie in temporary charge, and leaving Millwall second from bottom in League One.
 Millwall Supporters
Millwall FC are indeed a well supported club for their size and status, with notable large followings away from home. They have, however, had a long and notorious history of football hooliganism. Their Firm, known as the Bushwackers [sic] is one of the most notorious of all hooligan gangs. The Metropolitan Police have described them as "the most dangerous Firm in the country". However, the police, especially in the local Lewisham borough, are supportive of the club and recognise that any problems emanate from a small minority. Chief Superintendent Archie Torrance of Lewisham Police has stated, "Millwall have our full support." He continues to work hard with the club to keep the ground the safe place that it now is. Informed media commentators including Danny Baker, Paul Casella the editor of the leading Millwall fan magazine The Lion Roars, Danny Kelly and Steve Claridge also believe that Millwall's hooligan problems are to a certain extent greatly exaggerated, and that such wilful exaggeration has led to a siege mentality among the decent, law abiding fans, who are a constant easy target for both press and media alike. Examples of this include: archive footage of their hooligan element's past bad behaviour being shown, when disorder has occurred at other grounds, not involving them. During a game between Millwall and Huddersfield Town, The Observer reported that a Huddersfield Town fan had thrown a coin at a linesman, and that some Millwall fans had intervened, and handed the culprit over to police. The News of the World, however, bore the headline: "Millwall Thugs Deck Linesman With Concrete". These, and many other similar incidents, gave rise to the Millwall fans' famous song; "No One Likes Us - We Don't Care," being sung in defiant defence of themselves, and their team. 
A former Chairman of the club, Reg Burr, once commented; "Millwall are a convenient coat peg for football to hang its social ills on."
Having said this, hooligans attaching themselves to Millwall were involved in a riot away from the ground, after a play off game against Birmingham City in May 2002, which was described as one of the worst cases of civil disorder seen in Great Britain in the recent past. 47 policemen and 24 police horses were injured, and the Metropolitan Police considered suing Millwall after the events. 
The then Chairman, Theo Paphitis, stated that Millwall Football Club could not be blamed for the actions of a mindless minority who attach themselves to the club. He then went on to introduce a Membership Scheme, whereby only fans who would be prepared to join and carry membership cards, would be allowed into The New Den. Scotland Yard withdrew its threat to sue stating: "In light of the efforts made and a donation to a charity helping injured police officers, the Metropolitan Police Service has decided not to pursue legal action against Millwall F.C. in relation to the disorder".
Legal experts believed it would have been difficult to hold a football club responsible for something that occurred outside its ground and involved people who did not attend the match. The scheme introduced by Paphitis no longer applies.
 Current squad
 Notable former players
- Football League First Division (top tier)
- Best finish: 10th (1988-89)
- Football League Second Division (second tier)
- Champions: 1987-88
- Football League Third Division (third tier)
- Champions: 1927-28, 1937-38 (then Division Three South), 1968-69, 2000-01 (by then known as the Second Division)
- Football League Fourth Division (fourth tier)
- Champions: 1961-62
- FA Cup
- Semi Finalists: 1900, 1903, 1907, 1937.
- Runners-up: 2004.
- Football League Cup
- Best performance: quarter-finals (1973-74, 1976-77, 1994-95)
- Football League Group Trophy
- Winners: 1982-83
- Full Members Cup
- Best performance: quarter-finals (1988-89)
- War Cup South
- Best performance: runners-up (1945)
- FA Youth Cup
- Winners: 1979, 1991.
- Runners-up: 1994.
- Southern League
- Champions: 1895, 1896.
- Runners-up: 1897.
- Western League
- Champions: 1908, 1909.
- United League
- Champions: 1897, 1899.
- London League
- Champions: 1904.
- East London Senior Cup
- Winners: 1887, 1888, 1889.
- East London FA Cup
- Joint Winners: 1886.
 External links
- Millwall F.C. on BBC Sport:
- Official Site
- The Millwall History Files
- MISA (Fansite with busy Message Board)
- House of Fun (fans site)
|Football League One, 2006-2007|
Blackpool | Bournemouth | Bradford City | Brentford | Brighton & Hove Albion | Bristol City | Carlisle United | Cheltenham Town | Chesterfield | Crewe Alexandra | Doncaster Rovers | Gillingham | Huddersfield Town | Leyton Orient | Millwall | Northampton Town | Nottingham Forest | Oldham Athletic | Port Vale | Rotherham United | Scunthorpe United | Swansea City | Tranmere Rovers | Yeovil Town edit