text-align:CenterCally's Farewell Blast: I Never Settled|
Millwall's ambition to reach the First Division m for the first time has taken
Kevin O'Callaghan home to The Den.
The Republic of Ireland winger launched his career there and says: "I'm
delighted to be going back, even if it all came as a bit of a shock to me."
"When Alan Ball told me of Millwall's interest I felt that maybe it was time
to move on. To be perfectly honest, I never settled at Portsmouth as well as
I'd have liked."
"The manager made it quite clear I could stay and fight for my place but
after I'd spoken to John Docherty at Millwall I knew what I wanted."
London-born O'Callaghan was only 18 when England boss Bobby Robson, then
in charge at Ipswich, forked out £250,000 for him. Seven years later that's
still a Portman Road record.
The switch to Suffolk catapulted him to international status and he had just
succeeded in regaining his place in the Eire squad when Millwall made their
"Some of the Eire lads couldn't believe I was even thinking about moving into
the Second Division and told me I was worth more than the £85,000 Millwall
have paid for me."
"But I feel sure I've done the right thing. Millwall proved they wanted me
back and if I turn out to be a bargain no one will be more delighted than
O'Callaghan reveals he was suffering a confidence crisis last season when
Pompey finally clinched the promotion place.
"Alan Ball made it quite clear early in the season that he was only going to
use one winger in away games to keep things tight," he explains. "
"I was left out several times and although I made more than 30 appearances
I never really felt a part of things at Portsmouth."
"It wouldn't be natural if I didn't have some regret at missing out on the
First Division. After all, that's where everyone wants to play. I've been
there before with Ipswich and know I could do it again at that level."
"But I feel sure Millwall could give me that chance and I won't regret the
decision to rejoin them."
Lions want Lawrence
MILLWALL manager John Docherty is poised to pull off another major
transfer coup by signing striker George Lawrence from First
Docherty has agreed a fee of around £160,000 with Saints boss
and has had preliminary talks with the powerfully built coloured
London-born Lawrence (24), started his career as an apprentice at
before joining Oxford for £45,000. The Saints bought him back for
£60,000 two years later.
"We agreed a fee with Southampton for Lawrence at the
beginning of last
season but the lad wanted to see out his contract down
"He is somebody I have been interested in for a long time and
I am hopeful
that he will agree to sign."
MILLWALL'S £365,000 close season spending spree on Kevin
Tony Cascarino and Steve Wood is already paying off with a big
Knock-Out At The Weigh-In|
Heavyweight Tony Told to Slim
Spotlight on the soccer star out to win his 'Battle of the
Bulge' with Britain's great boxing hope….
Big Frank Bruno gave heavyweight striker Tony Cascarino the
fright of his football life.
Millwall new boy Tony couldn't believe his eyes when he
stepped on to a pair of scales at London's Paddington Station
last summer as he explains: "It was the day Frank Bruno
fought Tim Witherspoon at Wembley and, when I looked at the
scales, I realised I Weighed exactly the same as Frank."
"I missed the last five or six weeks of the season and couldn't
do any training through the summer because of injury but I
didn't realise I'd piled on so much weight."
"I eventually managed to loose most of it, although I'll admit I
was carrying a few extra pounds last season."
It still didn't stop him bagging 30 goals in impressive style and
eventually moving to Millwall for £225,000 where the Eire
International's new boss didn't waste any time laying the law
down to his new striker.
Tony continues: "Within minutes of signing, manager John
Docherty told me I was overweight, not fit enough and was
going to have to come in and do extra training in the summer."
"I've got to lose about a stone, which means a lot of running
and eating plenty of salads - but I think it will be worth it.
To be honest I wasn't really fit enough last season and, in a
way, I'm looking forward to the work because I know how
much it's going to benefit me."
Tony's prolific record for Gillingham in recent seasons has
made him one of the most sought after strikers in the lower
divisions and eyebrows were raised when he eventually decided
on a move to second division Millwall.
"They came in for me last Easter before the transfer deadline
and I also had the chance to join Charlton, but in the end I
decided to stay at Gillingham until the end of the season to
see how things went," says Tony.
"When we missed out to Swindon in the play-offs, I decided it
was time to move on and I must admit I would have liked to
move to the First Division. Having said that, Millwall are very
ambitious and I don't see why I can't get up there with them.
They had a good defensive record last season but just didn't
score enough goals. Hopefully myself and one of the other new
signings, Kevin O'Callaghan, can do something about that."
It's a testimony to in-demand Tony's ability that, on the same
day he signed for the 'Lions' he was also approached by Aston
Villa and Ipswich.
"They came in for me after I'd signed for Millwall," says
Tony. "But a move to The Den delighted me because I used to
watch the club from the terraces as a youngster and a few of
my friends will be keeping an eye on me next season.
I'd certainly hope regularly in the Second Division will improve
my chances of adding to my collection of Republic of Ireland
All I've got to do is carry on scoring goals and I'm certainly
confident of doing that."
It sounds like bad news for Second Division defenders in the