2002-03 Season Review
Div 1 : 9th W 19
D 9 L 18 Pts 66
Goals: For 59
FA Cup : Round 4
League Cup : Round
of the Year: Tony Warner
Kevin Grogan (Free Agent) Andy Roberts (Free Agent), Christophe
Kinet (Free Agent), Denis Wise (Free Agent), Sergei Baltacha (Free
Agent), Daniel Severino (Free Agent), Mark McCammon (from
Brentford Free), Kevin Davies (Loan from Southampton), Glen
Johnson (Loan from West Ham)
Scorers: Neil Harris (12),
Out: Marc Bircham (Free
QPR), Sean Dyche (Free Watford),
Christophe Kinet (Released), Daniel Steele (Free Colchester)
Leon Constantine (Free Brentford), Ryan Green (Free Cardiff),
David Tuttle (Retired), Kevin Grogan (Released), Leke Odunsi (Loan
Colchester), Ben May (Loan Colchester)
one of those horrendous hangovers that puts a dampener on everything you
do the next day? Well Millwall had one of those in season 2002/03
and no potions or patent cures could shake it off despite threatening briefly to come
to life in January and then finishing with an all too late flourish in April.
As if the
fall out over the riots of May 2nd were not bad enough, Millwall were
facing the harsh reality of life without any Television money following the
closure of ITV Digital.
second summer running Millwall spent no money in the transfer market, what
movement there was, was all the other way with first team squad players, Sean
Dyche (Watford), Christophe Kinet (Released),
Marc Bircham (QPR) all released on free transfers along with Leon
Constantine, Ryan Green and Danny Steele.
The releasing of Bircham
and Kinet was understandable in the light of the club trimming the wage
bill. However fans were left shaking their heads at the Club allowing Sean
Dyche to go to Watford on a free transfer, whilst his natural replacement,
Darren Ward had cost up to £500,000 from Watford last season, could not
dislodge Dyche from the team.
The Millwall first team squad at
the start of the season comprised 17 experienced players and 8 youngsters: Goalkeepers: Tony
Willy Gueret, Chad Harper, Full Backs: Matt Lawrence, Robbie Ryan, Ronnie
Bull, Alan Dunne, Central Defenders: Stuart Nethercott
(Captain), Darren Ward, David Tuttle, Joe Dolan, Mark Phillips, Paul
Robinson, Midfielders: Tim Cahill, David Livermore, Paul
Ifill, Steven Reid, Leke Odunsi, Charlie Hearn, Peter Sweeney, Forwards:
Steve Claridge, Neil Harris, Richard Sadlier, Kevin Braniff and Ben May.
of the 2nd of May
The actual events of the
night are covered in the previous seasons review, however it will suffice to
say that the tactical decision of the Police that night to uphold the law
another day (no arrests on the night) and to contain the mob rather than enforce order on the
streets coloured their actions over the following days and months.
In this modern 24 hour
news world, its interesting to see how a story develops in its reporting,
especially when there are no eyewitnesses from the press to the event
pictures of the Riot: Helicopter shots and home videos
There were radio reports
on the evening football phone ins of petrol bombs, coaches ambushed and
dead horses, most of these coming from Birmingham Fans with X-ray eyes
capable of a seeing through a railway embankment.
However Millwall did not
make the usual front or back pages but did feature on the inside pages. A
small report on Page 27 of The Sun had the sub headline of "Shops
torched, motors smashed after defeat"
Despite the inaccuracy
of the headline, taken from an elderly eyewitness, the story was far from
hyped. "The Cliftonville Pub, which is now used as a furniture shop,
was set on fire. I saw a car pushed on its roof and set on fire."
What the witness actually saw was one car on fire outside the Cliftonville.
The article stated that 5 police officers were injured.
only car set on fire outside the Cliftonville
A further quote from a
Scotland Yard Spokesman "At about 10pm a crowd of 50 people began
throwing missiles in Ilderton Road. Flares and fireworks also thrown and a
car was set alight. One police officer was kicked by a Police
The Mirror went more
overboard in their Page 10 story "Riot of Millwall".
"Hundreds of Millwall fans went on the rampage after losing a crucial
play-off match. One eyewitness who asked not to be named said: 'This is
the worst incident of hooliganism I've seen in 20 years of living in this
area. They left the streets looking like Beirut. They are worse than
The Mail did use the
back page for a couple of paragraphs and a photo under the headline
"Den of Hate" The only quote they had was of the non sensational
type from a policemen, "It was pretty lively out there. I've never
taken as much flak in any situation. There was one car burned out while
another was smashed up while someone was sitting in it. We shouldn't have
to do this, but I suppose that's football."
The Evening Standard
Early edition however went to town with a front page splash of
"Hooligans" The toll of injured police was now up to 45 and
three horses were reported hurt. The number of rioters was put at 900
based upon a police quote. Commander Humphries said "I will be
forming an investigation and over the next few months we will be making
arrests of all those who have been filmed who have been involved in
criminal activity. I have a message for everyone involved: I promise we
are going to find you"
The Evening Standard seemed to be
following the TV and Radio media in playing up the trouble. Nicky
Campbell's Radio 5 Live phone in was 'Are certain clubs more trouble
than they're worth.' The BBC were reporting that the number of police
hurt was 47 and that between 600 and 900 rioters had taken part.
Around 12:00 O'clock the
police held a press conference and boy could they show New Labour a thing
or two about spin.
Blair wearing a sour face said he would be calling (reported on TV as
summonsing) Millwall Football Club to a meeting next week. "For
an hour and 10 minutes the football fans of Millwall decided to attack the
The story now had a new
angle, The Police were looking to sue Millwall FC and that 26 Police
Horses were injured including a couple that had taken part in the Queen
The Lewisham commander
Chief Superintendent Mike Humphrey, said, "Millwall has always been a
difficult club and last night it disgraced itself."
Now if Millwall FC was a
shop selling knives, guns or other weapons to all and sundry they might
have a case. But to seek to link a company that merely provides
entertainment to customers in the form of football matches is silly.
Millwall football club does not have any parental responsibility for it
customers on their way to or from a football ground
Now Thursday night's
riot was moved up the running list of the news. Item 2 on the BBC 1
O'clock news. Still not good enough for the police. So, some sexy video
footage taken from the Helicopter and special police video units footage was
released. The TV cameras and photographers were shown some of the injured
horses. Hey presto item 1 on the BBC Six O'clock news. Only the death of
Barbara Castle relegated the story from the lead item on the BBC 10
It's a sod when you are
caught up in someone else's agenda, the Police were pushing for Football
Clubs to pay all the costs of matchday policing, not just the cost of
police on duty inside the ground. The BBC even used its 6'oclock news to
advertise its forthcoming 'Hooligans' documentary.
The M Word
The Standard was unable
to resist using the M word to describe the hooligans. No not Morons but
Millwall. They start by calling them Millwall Hooligans but further into
the article they drop their pretence and it's Millwall fans this and
Millwall fans that.
The only thing missing
was the usual promise of severe punishment from the FA. Unlike the Millichip's
and Kelly's of old, the current FA knows that clubs have no control
over their 'fans' through bitter experience over England hooligans behaviour at
World Cups and European Championships.
The afternoon radio was
just as bad. Richard Kaufman on Talk Sport started with a tirade labeling
all Millwall fans as scum.
The Saturday papers had
more coverage than the previous day. It was a story with momentum thanks
to the police briefing. There were plenty of pictures of Alamein, one of
the Police horses hurt on the night. The Mirror keeping up its red top
tabloid image decided to splash us on the front page with a sensational
headline "We Saved Their Lives" claiming that they prevented the
murders of Birmingham City Fans.
The Sun reporter Ian
Hepburn excelled himself with "Millwall Thugs Maim 26 Horses"
Perhaps the reporter should look up the difference between injured and
Maimed in a dictionary.
The Times debunked
Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair's threat to sue Millwall FC. "Legal
experts said that they could not see how the club could be held legally
responsible for the actions of its fans. 'There needs to be a link between
the club and the activities of these fans to enable a compensation claim
to get off the ground,' Anuja Dhir, a barrister specialising in crime and
public order offences, said."
No one was giving Theo's
line that "The problem of mob violence is not solely a Millwall
problem, it is not a football problem, it is a problem which plagues the
whole of our society," much prominence.
In the Sunday papers we
got the counter point of view from such luminaries as Former Editor of the
Guardian Peter Preston. It's a shame that such sense is confined to lower
The Sunday papers
started the theme of publishing the Police rouges gallery, however the
quality of these mug shots in light of today's video technology was rather
poor. However the count of injured police was now up to over 100 in most
papers. This was a blurring between those being treated for injuries
and those not reporting for duty the next shift. The tradition of
Policemen throwing a sickie was alive and well and inflating the official
statistics. However given the stress of quelling a riot the night before
its understandable that a few fancied a duvet day.
The News of the World
revealed that Detective Chief Inspector Peter Newman would head up the
investigation. They also revealed that they have just recovered further
items thrown at the Police including a carpenter's chisel and a Wheelie
Bin. (48 Hours to find and recover a Wheelie bin, obviously the Met's top
men were on the case!)
The customary knife in
the back quote came from Birmingham Chairman David Gold, "Those
horrific TV images will stay in my mind forever. Never have any of us seen
such appalling violence after a football match. (tip: try looking out
of your board room window sometime David). If it had happened at my
club I would have to resign. (You didn't resign though after the Villa
game!) How can I have carried on when policemen were being taken to
hospital, a police horse maimed (repeating a myth) and the area was
turned into a war zone. But it is laughable to believe that life bans will
solve the problem. The only thing these people have in common is a desire
for their clubs to do well, so points deductions are the only solutions.
The events at Millwall justified a nine point deduction at the start of
next season." (further tip: stick to peddling porn David as your
not the sharpest tool in the box)
By Monday news of the
first arrests of rioters was reported. The Three, Ian Stone (24) a
Stockbroker from Rotherhithe, John Manzarillo (24) a Warehouseman from
Fulham and Paul Healy (19) and Engineer from Bromley were charged with
violent disorder. Of the Seven arrested on the night, Nigel Haywood (22)
from Dudley was charged with breaching a banning order, James Mullen (19)
from Gravesend, John Parker (18) from Halstead were both charged with
Public order offences. A 21 year unnamed man from Enfield was bailed to
return in connection with a public order offence, while a 22 and a 24 year
old man arrested outside the ground were cautioned for drunkenness. A 40
year man arrested was released without charge.
Tuesday's South London
Press headline was "We Will See Off The Scum". Theo Paphitis
admitted that he and Manager Mark McGhee had considered quitting, but
decided "not to be defeated by criminals. We will simply
redouble our efforts to rid ourselves of these scum."
Tuesday was also the day
that the Met Police had arranged to see Theo at New Scotland Yard. Naively,
Theo expect the meeting to be a good natured chat about the situation and
what they could jointly do to prevent any repeat.
The room was full of
Senior Police officers and the Lewisham Police team in charge of matchday
policing at the Den when the Millwall delegation arrived, (Theo,
Bermondsey MP Simon Hughes and Ken Chapman). Deputy
Commissioner Ian Blair then breezed in and laid down the law in a rude,
abrupt diatribe in industrial language. Theo was a horrible man....The
club was a horrible club.....The Supporters were all thugs .... he
presumed Millwall would be paying full compensation.....He presumed the
Millwall accepted full responsibility....and.....I think you should know,
I have no intention of renewing you safety certificate.....He then left.
There then followed over two hours of discussion during which the Millwall
delegation explored several ideas such as banning all traveling
supporters, introducing an ID scheme, donating a substantial sum towards
police costs, improved street lighting, extended CCTV coverage, the walkway,
Millwall Stewards on the streets etc. Each suggestion whilst
welcomed was met with the rebuff, No Safety Certificate for The Den.
News filtered out the
next day in the Evening Standard that Millwall FC were thinking about
introducing a range of 'Draconian' measures to prevent any further trouble.
The measured included banning away supporters, preventing Millwall
supporters traveling to away games, Improved street lighting and extended
CCTV around the ground. Theo was quoted "I went there to offer
my sympathies to the officers and horses who were caught up in last week's
disgusting violence. I do not want our good fans to suffer but we have to
make sure their safety and the safety of the Police and Local community is
protected. We will do whatever is needed to be done to prevent a repeat of
the horrific situation we had last week. What happens outside the ground
is not down to me but we will work with the relevant authorities and are
prepared to help in whatever way we can."
By not divulging the
threat to Millwall's safety certificate, Theo deliberately left Millwall
supporters with the impression
that these measures were the Polices ideas, but
no one could see why the club would accept such a punishment. What need
was there to ban Millwall supporters visiting Walsall or Grimsby or
Walsall or Grimsby fans visiting the Den?
The Friday Headline from
The South London Press was 'Lions' Future In Doubt'. Theo was more
forthcoming with his quotes two days on from the meeting: "The threat
is clear and very precise and made in an open forum. Unless we pay them a
large amount of money there will be no football at The Den next season
which will mean the end of the club."
Continuing the local
infighting of South London's police commanders, a Posting by Lambeth's
Commander Brian Paddick on an Anarchists website Urban75.com stirred up a
hornets nest. In response to claims of police brutality on May 2nd
he said that a minority of policemen were Criminal Thugs. "I
would not like to say what size of minority are criminal thugs
masquerading as police officers." Writing under his pen name Brian
the Commander, "What I do know is that a substantial majority of
police officers will feel betrayed by this sort of behaviour. We all have
a responsibility to identify and testify against these people including,
primarily, police colleagues of the officers concerned."
Paphitis met with
Committee members of the Millwall Supporters Club on Friday 10th of May to
brief them on his meeting with the Met Police. He told them of Deputy
Commissioner Ian Blair's threat and asked the MSC Committee for anymore
suggestion of how to overcome this. A few suggestions were made and mulled
over by all present. By this process Theo had brought the MSC inside in
the Tent over the implementation of unpopular measures. To paraphrase an
old saying, better inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent
MSC chairman Bob Asquith
said: "We are in the last chance saloon. It is a dire situation. We
were very pleased with the chairman's determination to sort this out but
he has been so battered by the damage to our club it is too early to find
solutions yet. We may have seen the end of the chanting and baying at
visiting fans because anyone dropping a tissue in future may find they
have done the wrong thing. We are not going to have another chance to get
our house in order, now the police are saying that night was the worst
ever of football violence. Millwall has been a companion to me all my
life. I have no intention of deserting the club now."
In the middle of all
this the long trailed BBC's Hooligans documentary series was aired. The
first episode was entitled 'No One Likes Us' Whilst full of shocking
footage of disturbances around the Den from several matches that season,
the programme was centred around several members of various Midland firms
who went to England games. It did however cap an awful ten days for the
club. The programme also featured Sergeant Neil McPherson who is the
Police Intelligence liaison for Millwall.
It showed him at the end of his tether in dealing with the trouble,
claiming that they had tried everything. The theme of the Police
contribution was the cost of policing football and how little football
pays toward it.
the Cash Crisis at Millwall: Dyche, Bircham & Kinet
The South London Press
revealed that the Police demands
for 'compensation' had scuppered new contracts for Sean Dyche, Marc
Bircham and Christophe Kinet. Contract talks with all three would be
suspended until the club had worked out its budget for the new season.
McGhee's also admitted that his attempts to sign Dundee's Juan Sara were
over and he would probably be unable to bring in Brentford's 22-goal striker Lloyd
Owusu - who is out of contract in the summer.
McGhee also drew a line
under the loan deal which brought Leeds United mid-fielder Stephen McPhail
to Millwall in March. "Trying to bring him here is a
non-starter," he said. "Regardless of his experience, Leeds will
think of him as a multi-million pound player and we are not in a position
to pay that."
For the second summer
running Millwall's pre-season tour was thrown into chaos. The Previous
summer had seen German Police canceling Millwall's tour games at the last
minute when they were already in Germany, this
summer it was discovered that Millwall, Birmingham and Cardiff would all
be playing in and around Glasgow at the same time. Millwall were to play
Morton on July 22, Ayr United on July 24 and St Mirren on July 27.
adviser Ken Chapman said "We believe as we were the first to organise
our fixtures, the other clubs should take full cognisance of that. At the
moment, we want to go ahead with the tour as planned."
A spokesman for
Strathclyde Police, which covers all the grounds affected, said: "We
are aware of the fixture situation and the games will be policed
friendlies were cancelled one by one, no doubt because of the increased
policing costs and pressure. The old chestnut of hooligans planning
violence on the internet was again raised.
During this period one
bit of good news was Steven Reid's late call up for Irelands World Cup
Squad when former Lion Mark Kennedy pulled out.
Millwall also announced
the Season Ticket prices for the new season, the announcement had been
held back incase Millwall had won through the Playoffs.
All season ticket prices
were substantially up, some by as much as £50 and Matchday prices saw a
Category system instigated. An Adult East or West upper stand ticket would
cost £25 for a category 1 match (Ipswich Town, Derby County, Leicester City, Gillingham, Crystal Palace, Coventry City)
and £22 for other games. The Adult South stand ticket would cost
£18 or £16 and a West Lower £22 or £20.
Paphitis said: "I
am not happy at increasing them way above inflation. But we have tried to
keep them sensible and realistic and they cost less than many other clubs
in the division."
He has also warned of
the consequences of the loss of TV money and riot on May 2 for the squad.
"Let's not kid ourselves, this could cost us players. With the ITV
Digital deal going down, we are not in a position to be as generous as we
would like," he said.
"We have to be
realistic enough to know when we can't afford to keep players because of
what has happened. The atrocious occurrences of May 2 will play their own
part in terms of extra expense incurred by the club."
Jumping on the friendly cancellation
bandwagon was Mitcham & Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh who wanted Tooting
& Mitcham to call off their friendly with Millwall to open their new
Bishopsford Road ground on July 16. She said, "My constituents don't
want anti social behaviour in their area and neither do I"
Tooting's Chairman John
Buffoni said that they had not had problems before when they played
Millwall but no final decision on whether the game would go ahead would be
made for a month. This was more to do whether the ground would be ready in
Ticket prices weren't
the only thing being inflated as by the end of May Scotland Yard
commissioner, Sir John Stevens, revealed to the Metropolitan Police
Authority that the number of injured officers had risen to 127, with
several still off sick.
The article by Justin
Davenport was trying to place the blame on Millwall for Police moves to make
football clubs pay for policing outside the ground. (It had been the
police agenda for sometime)
"At present clubs pay
towards the cost of a police presence inside grounds but now senior
officers are calling for clubs to meet more of the costs if trouble takes
Commissioner Sir John
Stevens said: "It is our intention to call Millwall to account for
the violence and to seek compensation."
Sir John, speaking to
the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: "This was a very serious
disturbance and a totally unacceptable situation. We will not tolerate
that level of violence." He also issued a warning to the football
thugs involved in the rioting, saying: "These people should know one
thing: they cannot rest in peace. We will pursue them, arrest them and
take them to court no matter how long it takes."
Deputy Commissioner Ian
Blair said Millwall would be receiving a bill for "a pretty
The irony of an incident
that was in the news just before May 2nd, that of the Yarl's Wood
detention Centre was lost on the senior officers of the Met. The £43m
detention centre which was owned and operated by Group 4 was burnt down
during a riot of Asylum Seekers. Group 4's insurers cited the 1886 Riot
Damages act to sue the Police for the damage to the centre.
At the beginning of
June, Steven Reid became the second Millwall player to appear for Ireland
at the World Cup Finals, coming on in the 77th minute against Cameroon in
a 1-1 draw.
Millwall also revealed
that they had offered a contract to Lloyd Owusu, the out of contract
Brentford striker who was available on a Bosman free transfer. Millwall
also lined up Steaua Bucharest at the Den as replacement opposition to
fill the gap in the pre-season friendly fixture left after the
cancellation of the Scottish tour.
Millwall held a press
Tuesday 11th June where they announced that six clubs (Burnley, Leicester,
Nottm Forest, Portsmouth, Stoke & Wolves) would have their fans banned from the Den
and Millwall Fans would not allow to their grounds and that ID cards would be required
for home fans to attend all Millwall games.
Four other games (Coventry,
Derby County, Reading and Crystal Palace) would have kick off times so
that the game finished at least one hour before darkness.
Eight Men Out (of
their minds ?): DCI Peter Newman, Ken Chapman, Ch Supt Mike
Humphrey, Theo Paphitis, Simon Hughes MP, Neil Harris, Bob Asquith,
Sgt Neil McPherson.
Theo Paphitis said
are unprecedented. We were left with no option but to take these measures.
The club's future had been put in doubt by the actions of criminals who
attach themselves to our club. A
smart card (Millwall had been talking to Teamcard prior to May 2nd)
will be issued to all members. Unless we know you, you will not be allowed
This meant a tightening
up of the proof of identity required to get a membership or season ticket.
Applicants now had to produce either a passport, a birth certificate or a
driving licence with their current address, plus a recent utility bill or
bank statement. The measure was introduced after it emerged some of the
suspects involved in rioting had given false addresses on their
memberships and season tickets
Theo recognised that the
measures may deter the casual fan as well as the hooligans. "It will
be an inconvenience for the club, the players, the staff and the
fans," Paphitis added. "We apologise to them for that. But it is
the hooligans who have brought this upon us. But we need to make sure we
can keep our players, meet their aspirations, and that means there is no
room for violence at this club."
Millwall's head of security
Ken Chapman said: "We are sorry to have to do it but supporters, we hope, will
appreciate we are not doing this out of bloody mindedness. We have to do
what is necessary to ensure fans can enjoy the chance to watch football
next season. The scrapping of the Scottish tour has shown that at the
moment people do not want us. So we have to be seen to be doing something
about it - and probably more than others will have to."
Chairman Bob Asquith said: "Why should anyone who is law-abiding
worry about it? The only people who have anything to fear are those who
glorify in violence and make the decent fans suffer. It is exactly the
same thing as railway season ticket holders have to do every week. And
many of us have
to use a swipe card to get into their workplaces these days."
supporter Dave Bannon was unhappy and gave a dire prediction that was to
prove spot on.
"I am worried home
gates will be halved if people buying tickets face these kinds of
restrictions. Asking for such personal details is an imposition. I don't
happen to have a passport and there must be others in my position. The police are
dictating too much what Millwall have to do. I am from a group of 14 fans
who go together regularly and none of us can believe the
Chief Supt Humphrey
said: "We want to support these very sensible measures. Up to 20 of
the people we have arrested after May 2 have been charged with riot - and
there are a lot more to come."
"Out of that
terrible night has come the opportunity for the club to rid itself of the
hooligan element. I say to any hooligans who want to try to come to
matches next season - We will be waiting for you."
But he admitted the
events of May 2 had not been predicted by his intelligence officers:
"There was no specific intelligence. We used more officers than at
any games in my six years here - 300. But we never foresaw the scale of
the problem - the viciousness and the venom behind it. But very rarely
have we ever got it wrong."
Chief Inspector Peter Newman, heading Operation Zampa, added: "We
have arrested people from all over South East England. Many were
ticketless fans who had stayed in the area of the ground during the match.
But some are ticket holders - and they all consider themselves Millwall
fans, rather than casual supporters."
He said he would
research with other London clubs on whether some of the thugs were known
to their police intelligence officers.
commander Chief Supt Mike Humphrey agreed most of the people arrested
after their pictures appeared in the Press after violence on May 2 were
not local - but came from Kent, Surrey and Sussex, as well as much further
He said: "These
people use certain games as a focus for recreational violence. But most
are not from Lewisham or Southwark. They are from all over South East
England, They will be less likely to travel to a game if they think there
is going to be less tension."
"But there was an
element of spontaneity about May 2. I believe that if the result had been
different, we might have seen jubilation rather than violence."
He said he had made
written submissions to the Football League about when to stage risky
games. "We have told them what our preferences would be," he
He added: "The
decent fans need to know we will continue to treat them fairly. They have
nothing to fear from us. As far as I am concerned it is business as usual.
I want us to be able to get on with the business of arresting thugs. But I
do not want to hear people saying this is the police taking May 2 out on
us. I would like to say that if any of the fans coming to the games give
our officers a smile when they turn up, they will get a smile back. Then
we can start the season moving on."
He stressed the measure
could be reviewed at any time, depending on the behaviour of fans. But it
was often very difficult to predict when violence would occur.
"There was some in
the game last season against Burnley which arose purely over a row about a
hamburger. I know because I saw it myself. Suddenly the whole street
erupted. It was quickly dealt with. But that sort of thing can easily lead
to more serious disorder."
Neil Harris said:
"I think at the moment we are quite used to the stigmas associated
with the club. But I can see it getting worse and I can see players saying
enough is enough.
Despite the tough
measures introduced by Millwall FC, the Metropolitan Police did not lifted
its threat of legal action against Millwall.
It was also revealed
that the walkway linking The Den to South Bermondsey station would not be
ready for the first four home games of the season.
Closed circuit television in nearby residential streets, linked to the
control room at The Den, was part of the walkway scope of works.
was still awaiting planning permission from Lewisham and Southwark
Councils, with building work planned to begin in mid-July.
However the project was
likely to be further delayed over two further wrangles. Millwall FC, who
were down to pay for the maintenance and running cost wanted reassurances
from the owners of the walkway land, Railtrack, that they would not vastly
increase the £5,000 annual cost of leasing the land in the coming years.
The Walkway construction
costs had also risen by £104,000 after police insisted on design changes.
Southwark, paying the bulk of the construction costs, wanted Lewisham to
accept their share of the increased costs of a walkway in their borough.
However Lewisham were refusing, saying that they already paid for the
matchday policing and the walkway was for the benefit of Southwark
The fixture lists were
released on the 13th of June and gave Millwall a home opening day fixture
first Hooligan jailed for the May 2nd riot, was Ian Harman (37) of
Folkestone, whose picture was featured as suspect No 1 in the
first rouges gallery in the national newspapers.
He was sentenced
to 2 years in prison for violent disorder and banned for attending
any football match for 10 years.
In what was to
become a pattern, Harman pleaded guilty after being shown Police
video tape which showed him sparking the riot by throwing a pint glass
full of urine at the police line on the corner of Zampa Road and Ilderton
Road. The glass fell short showering two passing girls in its contents.
The promise of convictions was being kept, but could not excuse the
abandonment of the streets by the police that night and earlier in the
DCI Peter Newman said:
"This sentence sends out a strong message from the courts that
society will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. We want to thank the
public for their tremendous response to our publishing images from that
announcement at the press conference that Millwall Fans would be banned
from the reciprocal games that they banned away supporters from,
Leicester, Portsmouth and Forest broke ranks.
executive Peter Storie said: "Two wrongs don't make a right" and
indicated that Millwall supporters would be welcome. Nottm Forest also
said they would monitor the situation before making their minds up on the
April fixture. Leicester also said that Millwall supporters would be
welcome, Stoke had not decided whether they would reciprocate, but Burnley
and Wolves said they would.
Tooting and Mitcham
chairman John Buffoni confirmed that the friendly with Millwall would go
ahead at their new Bishopsford Road ground provided they got their safety
certificate in time.
To rub salt into our
Playoff wounds the FA announced that Geoff Horsefield was being charged
with violent misconduct for raking his studs into Matt Lawrence back
during the 1st leg game. If the referee or linesman had seen it, it would
surely have merited a red card and could have swung the tie Millwall's
By the 3rd week of June
Millwall announced that had fixed up two replacement friendlies in Sweden,
against GAIS Gothenburg and Trollhattan.
With Lloyd Owusu
stalling on a decision of whether to sign for Millwall, McGhee started
making his excuses.
"If you look at
what we achieved last year, and in the last couple of years, we were
getting to the stage where we were one of the clubs on the up and up,
where players would say: 'Millwall are an exciting club that I'd like to
play for. After what happened at the end of last season, players will now
However McGhee felt that
the bad publicity that followed the riot changed all that.
something that's concerning me. It's not just the players we might want to
bring here, but their wives, their families. If a player is talking to his
wife and says he's thinking of going to Millwall, she might tell him she
doesn't fancy that, because of what happened last season. It's up to me to
convince them otherwise."
Mark McGhee also
admitted that Marc Bircham, Sean Dyche and Christophe Kinet had probably
played their last games for Millwall. He said the trio are 'likely to
leave' the club since he is not in a position to offer them new contracts
because of the club's troubled finances.
McGhee said: "Those
players who are likely to leave have been in a different class for us.
Sean Dyche has been a great servant of the club and on several occasions
last season I said he was a colossus in defence for us. And Marc Bircham
is the heart of Millwall, a first-class character. But the reality is that
he has not been the first choice for the last two years. It would be very
disappointing to lose a player of his character."
"We have the
relative luxury of young players like
Charlie Hearn, Peter Sweeney and Mark Phillips who are going to be good
players for Millwall and we need to bring them on soon. They have to get
their chance. Like Tim Cahill and Steven Reid, somewhere along the line
they will be important players for us."
The club's finances are
already in the red, he added - and signing new deals with the trio would
put it further in debt, he added. The collapse of the ITV Digital deal and
the violence of May 2 have worsened the situation.
"We are already
making losses," he said. "If I could sign anyone, it would be
those three. But we cannot afford it. Unfortunately, no solution has come
to light which would get us out of that situation."
Dyche said: "I want
to stay and get on with playing football for Millwall. Fans have been
asking me why I haven't signed but there has been nothing to sign - which
does not make sense because the club has said it wants to keep me. I have
only had a verbal offer from the gaffer."
"As time goes on I
will have to consider other offers," he added. "But I am still
hopeful something may be done."
Bircham and Dyche off to pastures new
Bircham said his
goodbyes to his Millwall team-mates and told them he was signing for QPR
on a free transfer. Before he left he said: "I had a talk with the
chairman Theo Paphitis last week and it seems there is no more money. I
know the problem is serious because of the loss of the ITV Digital money.
I know Millwall is in a sticky situation but I do not believe it can be as
bad as the club says - for instance, we are not as badly off as Bradford
or Coventry, with tens of millions of pounds of debt."
He revealed he had
turned down Birmingham City, he said. "I had a word with them at the
end of the season and they wanted me but they have spent a lot of money on
their midfield, bringing in players like Robbie Savage. Next season should
be a good season for me so I do not want to spend it in the reserves. The
Millwall fans would not have liked me going there much, either. I don't
suppose my Millwall tattoo would have gone down too well, either."
Bircham said "I
have loved my time with Millwall, I've had eight great years and enjoyed
them all - that's why I got the tattoo. I will miss the fans. It does not
matter which club I go to, it will not have as good fans as Millwall. I
hope wherever I go they will give me a good reception if I play back at
The Den. I don't think any other club has the same team spirit It will be
like leaving school all over again and missing all your mates. But I won't
be going too far."
friendly to officially open Tooting & Mitcham's new stadium at
Bishopsford Road, Mitcham, on July 16 was finally scrapped because the
ground will not be ready in time. A replacement has been lined up
against Fisher Athletic, managed by former Millwall manager Keith
Tooting chairman John
Buffoni said: "This is extremely disappointing for both clubs. We
were both really looking forward to it. But if there is any chance of
re-arranging it, we would be delighted to."
Millwall manager Mark
McGhee said: "We have become very good at improvising and we are
already speaking to other clubs who wanted to play us."