At last...... There's a wind of change breezing through Cold Blow Lane
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."

                                   Record

 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
 move.

 "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
 me."

 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 Division
 Southampton.

 Docherty has agreed a fee of around £160,000 with Saints boss Chris Nichol
 and has had preliminary talks with the powerfully built coloured marksman.

 London-born Lawrence (24), started his career as an apprentice at the Dell
 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 there," explained
 Docherty.

 "He is somebody I have been interested in for a long time and I am hopeful
 that he will agree to sign."


                                         
Happy Lions

 MILLWALL'S £365,000 close season spending spree on Kevin O'Callaghan,
 Tony Cascarino and Steve Wood is already paying off with a big demand for
 season tickets.

 

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
 caps.

 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
 season ahead…

 

 

Lions roaring into the big-time

by BILL PIERCE

MILLWALL last night agreed to splash out £160,000 on Southampton's George Lawrence to complete an amazing sink-or-swim operation designed to catapult the Second Division club into  football's big-time.

Tainted by a shocking reputation for hooliganism among their fans and frequently on the brink  of closure in recent years, Millwall have long been regarded as the poor relations of London  soccer.

But since the end of last season, their new board of directors have decided to back manager John Docherty to the tune of more than £½ Million in an attempt to bring Division One football to Cold Blow Lane for the first time in Millwall's history.

The 24-year-old Lawrence, who can play in midfield or as an out-and-out winger, has not yet agreed personal terms, but Docherty is confident the deal will be completed by the weekend.

Marvellous

Lawrence will be joining the club's other new summer captures Tony Cascarino, the Republic of  Ireland striker who cost £225,000 from Gillingham, defender Steve Wood, signed for  £80,000 from Reading, and Kevin O'Callaghan, the winger whose return to The Den from
George Lawrence £160,000
Lions Target.
Portsmouth last- month cost £85,000. Docherty whose massive rebuilding programme started last season February when he signed Terry Hurlock from Reading for £100,000 said last night "Its all down to the directors  putting their hand in their pockets and showing they mean business".

"It is a marvellous situation for me as a manager to get this backing, but the important thing is that the club is rewarded for its efforts by the right response from the fans. "Without their support we cannot do anything. We need them to come back and show their faith in us.  If that happens, there is no telling what we can achieve."

The first real sign of Millwall's new ambition came with an unsuccessful £300,000 bid for Portsmouth's prolific striker Mick Quinn in May. Docherty soon made up for that disappointment by landing other successful coups.

Key man behind the Millwall glory drive is chairman Reg Burr, the investment consultant who put together a consortium to take control of the ailing club last summer.

Burr, a former Luton Town director, says: "We are putting our money where our mouth has been and now it is up to the Supporters. I know there has been total frustration among our fans over the past 40 years. They have consistently had to put up with a team that was nowhere as good as they deserved."

Burr maintains that Millwall need average gates in excess of 8,000 from the start of the season to make their transfer market gambles pay off.

Alarming

Last season the average figure fell to an alarming
3,200 as the team struggled in the bottom
half of the table.

Millwall fans were disillusioned by the loss of popular players like Steve Lowndes, Anton Otulakowski and Robert Wilson soon after the departure of the club's former manager George Graham to Arsenal a year after he had taken the club into the Second Division.

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