With Superden seemingly dead in the Water Millwall were left to find the money for  the compulsory safety works
D-Day at Den: Millwall face GLC verdict  (September 85)

by Brian Alexander

Millwall could discover tomorrow how much work is required to earn a safety certificate at The Den. Newly-promoted Millwall are now a designated club under the 1975 Safety of Sports Grounds Act, whereby their facilities must reach a certain level to receive a GLC certificate.

Millwall have already admitted that improvements at The Den could reach the £1 Million mark. They were told yesterday that GLC inspectors will be at The Den tomorrow together

with fire officers and local police chiefs.

And Millwall chief executive Tony Shaw said, "All we know is that the GLC will inform us at this meeting what our new capacity is for the rest of the season."

"But they could also be giving us the details about ground improvements too."

A GLC spokesman told me yesterday, "Our inspectors will visit Millwall to give them a few decisions following the first visit in May."

Millwall are expecting that their current ground capacity of 35,000 will he halved by the GLC this week and Shaw added, "That won't cause us any major problems, unless we get Manchester United or Tottenham in the FA Cup."

County Hall architects are expected to demand that exits are widened at the ground, that the terraces are resurfaced and that escape routes and gangways are provided in the terrace opposite the main stand. But the GLC have confirmed that they will not completely close a section ground.

Under normal circumstances, Millwall would he hoping for the Football Ground Improvement Trust to give up to 25 per cent of the costs in a special grant. But since the crackdown on ground safety following the Bradford fire tragedy in May and the recent Popplewell Report, FGIT's resources are severely stretched.


£1 m Blow: Lions hit by safety shock    (November 85) 
by Brian Alexander

CRISIS-club Millwall could he forced to quit The Den by a crippling £1 million repair bill.

The Second Division club are already in grave trouble with the football authorities because of their crowd hooligan problems and are considering changing their ground and name to rid themselves of their bad reputation.

Now, Millwall have been hit by an endless list of demands from the GLC before County Hall can issue a safety certificate at The Den.

And I understand that to bring the ground up to standard, Millwall could have to find about £1 Million to pay the bills.

In a letter to the club, GLC architects insist that crash barriers, gas systems and electrical installations must he updated or renewed while major repairs are needed to the terraces.

The GLC are also demanding that gangways and escape routes are provided in the terraces opposite the main stand while exits are widened in the ground. A second phase of ground improvements requirements will then he issued early in the New Year.

As a result, the club are now expected to make inquiries about finding a new home in the docklands.

Millwall are already facing yet another FA inquiry at The Den following missile-throwing antics of a section of their supporters during the match against Leeds fortnight ago.


The FA have asked the club to make their home games in the meantime all-ticket with a ban on away fans.

• Millwall Chief Executive Tony Shaw (left) and Millionaire chairman Alan Thorne are facing mounting problems at the Den with an FA Inquiry and ground improvement bills adding to the headaches.

The Den's capacity has been reduced from 35,000 to just 16,000. That figure could be even lower if Millwall decide to close another section of the main stand, taking 1,850 seats out of use.

And Chief executive Tony Shaw is also considering shutting down the Ilderton Road end of the ground until- a membership scheme can be brought in to operation.

The GLC's safety work demands plus the latest crowd trouble may well be the final straw for chairman Alan Thorne, who is currently recovering from a lengthy illness.

Property developer Thorne has only made a handful of appearances at the Den this season. On current estimates, Thorne is keeping hard-up Millwall in business despite the club losing £8,000 per week.

Millwall may leave Den  (November 85)

MILLWALL football club's chief executive Tony Shaw thinks the club may be forced to quit their ground at the Den and even change their name in a final attempt to solve their crowd hooligan problems.

Shaw's comments come in the aftermath of last Saturday's crowd trouble against Leeds United which has led to an FA inquiry. He said yesterday: "Last Saturday around 500 so called Millwall supporters attended the match with Leeds hell-bent on causing trouble."

Now Millwall will have to consider whether it is worthwhile spending in excess of £100,000 to bring the ground up to standard in view of the fact that it is in an area of inner-city deprivation.

There might even be a case for eventually changing the club's name and making a completely new start.

Before the FA stepped in to make the next home match against Middlesbrough all-ticket, Millwall had formulated their own plans to try to solve the problems. They are to close down another section of their main stand taking 1,850 from the capacity of 3,000 out of use.


Don't call us the Dirty Den  (November 85)
Millwall, terrified that they may he shut down because of their thug fans, could he forced to quit The Den and change their name to survive, writes MICK DENNIS.

That is the shock view of the club's chief executive, Tony Shaw. The FA warned that they could close down clubs with a hooligan problem this season. And they may he ready to make an example of the docklands club after the crowd trouble at last week's Millwall-Leeds match.


Already, before they have even investigated last week's Missile-throwing, the FA have ruled that Millwall must make their home games all-ticket and bar visiting supporters. And Leeds fans have been banned from away games.

Shaw said last night: "We will have to look at the feasibility of moving. There might even be a case for changing the name and making a new start somewhere else."

"The Football Grounds improvement Trust and Millwall will have to consider seriously whether it is worthwhile spending more than £1 Million on the ground when it is surrounded by so much inner-city deprivation."

Flashback...to those ugly crowd scences at The Den

Shaw said the FA's decisions were unfair on Leeds. He added. "About 500 so-called Millwall supporters attended the match hell-bent on causing trouble."

WHAT'S your idea of a new name for Millwall's ground ? Send your suggestions on a postcard to: Den Name Sports Desk, The Sun 30 Bouverie St, London EC4Y 8DE. There's £100 for the best name.

Thorne fights for Millwall  (December 85)

by Harry Harris

MILLWALL'S devoted chairman Alan Thorne is refusing to he driven out of the Lion’s Den by the club's notorious hooligan element.

On the day when an FA commission meet at The Den to consider the latest outbreak of crowd trouble, Thorne is ready to fight off rumours about quitting....and fight to repair his club's tarnished name.

Thorne said: "I’m not about to sell up; I’m not moving this club away from The Den ... and I’m not changing the club's name."

Despite a long illness he may even make a surprise appearance at today's hearing when Millwall face an FA shutdown. That could happen if soccer's authorities decide to make an example of them over their bad record.

The trouble stems from missile throwing and hooliganism at the November 9 Second Division game against Leeds.

The commission, investigating Millwall for the Second time this year, will hear evidence from club and match officials as well as police before referring their findings to their disciplinary committee.

Thorne’s own solution: "Ban away supporters... but the Police do not this approach."

Millwall are expecting to get the final go-ahead to revamp The Den in a multi-million pound link with superstore Asda.  (April 86)

The club's appeal, with Lewisham Council, against a GLC planning snub, is expected to be upheld by the Department of the Environment within a fortnight.

Why are we waiting ?   (June 96)
MILLWALL fans are beginning to wonder if they will get a new manager in time for next season. It's important for the new man to plant himself in the hot seat, but there's no sign of him. Chairman Alan Thorne is the man who has to put his arm around George Graham's successor.

But as we went to press it seemed most unlikely that a decision was imminent. And Millwall's twos backroom dynamos, chief executive Tony Shaw and his wife Sylvia - the club secretary - leave for a three-week holiday at the weekend.

Yet there's plenty for the new man to get stuck into.


With the fixtures for next season due out shortly, top priority will be to sort out out contractural difficulties at Cold. Blow Lane.

Welsh internationals Steve Lowndes and Steve Lovell are both on the transfer list after failing to agree new terms. They might attract other clubs but the right man in charge at the Den could possibly sweet-talk them into staying.

Also, rebuilding has to start at the ground to satisfy safety regulations, while Asda's plan for a Supermarket are also underway.


• Waiting game: Millwall chief executive Tony Shaw

Chairman's Statement  (August 1986) 

In welcoming you to The Den for the start of the 1986/7 season I believe I should explain to you the present position. Mr. Thorne decided for health and personal reasons that he could no longer carry the heavy financial burden required to maintain League Football at The Den, consequently he sought without success to find some other persons outside the Club who might wish to take over.

Subsequently my colleagues and I agreed to fund a new company financed at the level required by the Football League, and to take a lease of the ground from Mr. Thorne. Thus Millwall 1985 was born.

We have a new ambitious Manager in John Docherty, who I hope you will welcome warmly. John has, we believe, strengthened the squad with the new players recently signed, including an old favourite, David Mehmet.

Your new Board will do its level best to ensure a successful future for Millwall, but there are many and serious problems to be faced.

The cost of the Ground improvements currently in hand to comply with legislation amounts to some £300,000. In addition, there are very substantial extra sums to be expended, not covered by grants, to carry out general maintenance that has been neglected for over twenty years.

The current level of operating loss is not sustainable in the long term, and every effort by the Directors and the supporters will be necessary to ensure a continuing and successful future. if you have the welfare of Millwall Football Club at heart please support your team. Encourage your friends to come back and support us and also support the lottery and other off the field revenue producing schemes. But above ail take care that we have no repetition of any 'crowd' problems like last season.

As you all know our reputation with the authorities is bad (far worse than is justified in my view) and any small trouble at our ground or involving our 'fans' will place our future in great danger.

It is up to us all to take whatever steps we can to see that we have a peaceful and successful season's football. My colleagues and I promise that we will do everything that is possible to ensure a continuing and successful future - we rely upon you all to play your full part.

R.I. BURR Chairman

The Last Chance for Millwall   (November 86)

• In The Hot Seat: Millwall's new chairman Reg Burr is concerned about the future of the club

Millwall have a new manager and an new Board, but their die hard supporters are staying away from The Den. Home gates are the lowest in Second Division for the opening third of the season. Ian Malin meets Millwall's new chairman.

REG BURR and his manager John Docherty speak through a haze of cigar smoke but they see the future of Millwall Football Club all too clearly.

The cigars are the only glamorous prop at The Den nowadays. The new chairman and manager keep an early low-profile and the contrast between Docherty and John Bond of Birmingham will be a marked one tomorrow.

Burr is a 63-year-old Investment Consultant who has a penchant for dark suits and likes to keep out of the limelight. Our photographer had to persuade him to have his photograph taken.

But the sombre undertaker's attire is misleading. Burr has come to praise Millwall not to bury the club. The new chairman speaks in the clipped tones that are very "North of The River." He talks a lot about Luton Town where he was a director, for 12 years.

He heads a four-man board following the setting-up of a new company, "Millwall 1985 Ltd," during the summer. But the shadow of the former chairman Alan Thorne hangs over The Den.

Thorne left the club at the end of last season through a mixture of ill health and disenchantment. But he owns the freehold to The Den.

Thorne ploughed around £1.5 million into Millwall and he may want to cut his losses by developing the Cold Blow Lane site.

Since he and manager George Graham left during the summer a financial shiver has swept down Cold Blow Lane and the winter promises to be a long one.

"We don't want to be pompous, but I honestly think we are Millwall's last hope," says Burr. "The job of the new board is to keep the club alive but the people who are boycotting the games now are cutting off their noses to spite their faces."

"We have the lowest gates in the Second Division and are losing £15,000 a month. There is money to spend on players and I want to see the club in the First Division."


"We are conscious of the fact that we are the only London club who haven't been there. At Luton we bought our way to the First Division but that can't be done now."

Burr recognises that the club, with its fringe of violent supporters, has an image problem. The phrase "Millwall fan" still has its sinister connotations and the club is haunted by those TV flashbacks of-the riot of Luton Town eighteen months ago.

The new chairman far from condones the troublesome element in the crowd, "We hate them and wish they'd stay away," but adds, "I respect the Millwall fans and I for one don't think they are rubbish".

"Previous management's have treated them with contempt but I think they are the salt of the earth. We are saddled with an image problem and I don't think it is fair. We are an Aunt Sally, nobody really cares about us and we are convenient whipping boys."

And he goes on, "Nobody can help Millwall apart from the people of South London. A lot. of folk in the football hierarchy would like to get rid of us because we are a source of embarrassment. But Millwall's supporters have a passion and interest in football and I just wish they would show that passion again. I understand the feelings of the fans. They have seen too many false dawns, but if they don't take us on trust there won't be a football club here for much longer."

Burr and his manager exchange jokes as they puff away on their cigars. Docherty, who once took Cambridge United into the Second Division is passionate about his new job.

A tough-minded Scot, he has a wry sense of humour. He scours the country in search of new players and when our conversation ends into the evening he puts out the lights and unplugs the kettle in the Den kitchen.

"I bet Brian Clough doesn't have to do this," he chuckles, still drawing on the cigar, and he gets into his car, bound for the M40 and another long night watching a Football Combination game.


There can't be many better jobs in football than managing world famous Arsenal in their Centenary Year. Add to that a place at the top of the First Division on the very day of those birthday celebrations and that makes George Graham someone very special.

Everywhere, that is, except at his former club Millwall. They are still seething over comments he made which they believe have wrecked three months of bridge building and hard work.

Quiet London businessman Reginald Burr, the man persuaded to put together the package that saved the 101-year-old London docklands club from extinction when former chairman Alan Thorne departed, almost blew a gasket when Graham told the world. "I got promotion for Millwall and still left them more than £100,000 in profit, including £60,000 compensation received for me from Arsenal."

Countered Burr, a former director of Luton Town now in his second spell with Millwall: "All the money from the transfers and George Graham's compensation went straight to the company of the former chairman Alan Thorne".

"We formed a new company, Millwall 1985 Ltd and took over the players' contracts with the agreement of the PFA. We took the lease on the Den from the old Millwall, but Mr. Thorne still owns the freehold."

"Since the start of the season we have been trying to convince our fans we do not have thousands of pounds tucked away but now they really believe we are sitting on a pot of gold. I would not dream of questioning the professional competence of Mr. Graham the manager but I would question his competence as an accountant. I simply cannot understand his figures when in three-and-half seasons he lost a minimum of £250,000 a season - and that is being kind."

"There was a loss of £850,000 in the last publicised figures in 1984, which also showed losses carried forward of £3,434,000. We have still to see the accounts for July 1985 and 1986".

Some of that lost cash was invested in buying up the adjoining site for redevelopment. If the

proposed supermarket is given the go ahead it will wipe out the previous losses but leave Millwall with not a penny for themselves.

Thorne was a football enthusiast whose family had been involved with the club for many years. He sincerely believed he could build a super stadium for a super team but as the realisation grew it was nothing more than an expensive dream he took the company away with both its debts and its assets.

"It left us with a run-down ground that needs a minimum of £300,000 improvements to earn our safety certificate," said Burr. "And a lot more just to make it a reasonable place to watch football. At least we have no debt other than our running losses - caused mainly by the supporters who have stayed away because they think we are cheating them."

Burr has been respected in the game for the past 23 years but believes in a low profile. He quit Luton along with the late Eric Morecombe after a long and successful association because he despises boardroom rows. He removed himself from the directors' box to a vice-president's seat at the Den when Thorne turned the club into his private 'kingdom' with no board meetings or discussions.

"It was," said Burr, "an explosive situation when mixed with an inexperienced and ambitious manager with access to a lot of money. A lot was spent and the club got nowhere. I am strongly of the belief that football is not the plaything of one rich man to walk away from when it becomes a bore or because it is in a mess. Directors are really trustees for the local community and it behoves them to at least leave the club in a better state than they found it."

"It is not right to have all the fun, even if it is with your own money, if it destroys the very thing you are playing with. If we hadn't taken over Millwall when we did, the club would have been destroyed, it would have disappeared."

The club was in a sorry state when Burr and his men moved in. Three days before the players were to report back there were not enough of them to form a team. They even had to bring back a player Graham had told to go.

Millwall are still reeling as a club from that shameful and much publicised night in Luton. Reginald Burr was not present but having an unique insight into both clubs, he has his own theories about what happened, who was to blame and why. But that is another story.

It upset him to hear George Graham say that people cringed when they discovered he was manager of Millwall after that incident.

He said: "I am not ashamed. I do not cringe. Our supporters are the salt of the earth and much of the abuse has, to a great extent, been unjustified. I am neither ashamed nor afraid of them".

"Luton have given their fans a much better team than they have deserved over the years. But at Millwall it has been the opposite and I understand them being sore. There have been so many false dawns who can blame them for not believing us now?"

"The truth is that if we do not get it right this time there won't be a club in South London. If the fans continue to stay away then that is what will happen. The manager has done a remarkable job with the youngsters and he has a little money to spend when he finds the right players - but he will not be rushed. We are, not losing heart but George Graham undid three months of hard work when he said what he did."

If the Arsenal manager went back today he would certainly see a change. The emphasis has shifted from the older, short-term players he favoured, to the kids who have always been Millwall's salvation.

Perhaps even more important is the work going on off the pitch with the appointment of a Community Youth Officer; a school of excellence for local youngsters; help for the area's senior citizens; free admission for schools; dialogue with the police; voluntary all-ticket games for those considered to be potentially dangerous and a family enclosure and a limited membership scheme.

Burr has also met local authorities to suggest that not only his club but professional football in general should receive help from the rates because of the part it plays in the working class culture.    (December 86)

With merger fever breaking out with Marler Estates and SB Properties under the control David Bulstrode owning Chelsea's, Fulham's and QPR's grounds and Charlton playing at Selhurst park, The London Daily News ran a series of stories on London Football clubs...

At Millwall’s far from desirable residence in Cold Blow Lane    (March 87)

They just got on with the game

Peter Ball reports from a London Club totally free from merger threats 

Cold Comfort: while the Den is not the most attractive of grounds, its location helps keep developers at bay

To find an area of calm in the turbulent waters of South London football was an unlikely feat on Saturday. To find it at Millwall, of all places, sounds like a contradiction in terms.

But while talk of ground sharing, mergers and fans' protests raged at Fulham, Loftus Road, Selhurst Park and Wimbledon, the only sound from Millwall's largest crowd of the season was the usual scathing wit as once again the team failed to deliver, their injury-ravaged young squad finding a solid, experienced Derby side too much for them.

The fans, Millwall's cross so often but also their hope for salvation, were not sympathetic. A pair of pensioners in front of the press box offered a chorus of ironic comment throughout the afternoon.

On this occasion Darren Morgan, a young midfield player, was the particular target. Morgan, badly shaken by some fierce tackling in the first hag, had to stay on until the closing minutes because of doubts over Walker's fitness. When he finally came off, the pensioner yelled angrily at manager John Docherty: "You nutter, you should have done that an hour ago."

When Morgan was greeted at the bench by having his hair tousled, the pensioner was beside himself. "I wouldn't pat his head, I'd kick his backside," he announced. There is still a genuine sense of being put upon felt on the terraces at Millwall.

Nobody, it seems wants to share a ground with them, let alone merge with them. As their chairman, Reg Burr, remarked "The one merger which might make sense would be a Millwall-Charlton link to form a really solid club in South-cast London."


But when Charlton had to leave the Valley, they preferred to go to another area rather than join their neighbours at the Den. Possibly they felt that the ground was not suitable for a First Division club, although rancour persists they may think again if they are relegated.

Ironically, they might stand a better chance of avoiding that fate if they were playing at the Den. Plough Lane is an undoubted asset for Wimbledon and while a trip to Selhurst Park holds few fears for visitors, the First Division elite would find the Den a less comfortable proposition.

It is a harsh environment but it is also one of the club's greatest assets. Ten years ago Eamon Dunphy, a member of the team which came closest to ending Millwall's unenviable record of being the only London club never to play in the First Division, described his first visit to the ground with York City.

"It took us half an hour to find the place. Eventually we went up this dingy back street and I remember thinking 'Where is this?'"

"Then you go and have a look at the pitch, which is terrible. The dressing rooms are terrible - small, poky places. The away team dressing room is a dungeon, no light, no window. The bathrooms are horrible."

It has subsequently survived every attempt to alter it. There is a new block containing executive lounges, a mural to celebrate the club's centenary in 1985, and Gordon Jago - to Dunphy's horror - has improved the visitors' dressing room; but Dunphy would recognise the place immediately.

If anything it is now even more shabby, a monument to decay in an area of dying industry. It is like a scene from the industrial North rather than the supposedly prosperous South-east. But that is the club's strength.


As Burr remarked: "We're not in a position to be the jewel in someone's property crown. The only future for the club as a building site would be industrial and with all the empty factories around, who wants to put up another?"

After the narrow escape from bankruptcy in 1985, the foundations are there for survival. But although there is money in the bank, the club is still running at a loss.

Supporters disillusioned by so many years of not making it have been reluctant to turn-up, although a repeat of Saturday's gate, when they got a bigger crowd than either Wimbledon or Crystal Palace offered hope.

It will, however, take time. Against a Derby side who took the lead after only four minutes on Saturday, Millwall didn't quite have the skill or experience. The absence of Briley, Marks, Salman and Stevens proved too much of a burden.

So Millwall still have some way to go. But if the present hopes for a place in the play-offs may be premature, their progress with only one of Saturday's team remaining from the side which earned. George Graham the divisional. manager of the month award a year ago, is excellent. There is a club being developed rather than a ground.

After Asda's abandonment of the scheme to build a Superstore next to Millwall (June 87) 
Millwall's former owner Alan Thorne have just been awarded £3.7 Million in compensation against the Asda-MFI superstore
chain, who agreed to develop part of the Den site only to pull out - but the club won't see any of that money.

Will Millwall's summer spending spree tempt back the missing fans?

 Its Now or Never

THE boardroom of Reg Burr's West End office is dominated by a drawing of that classic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy with their famous "another fine mess you've got me into" catchphrase underneath. 

The much-maligned Millwall chairman must have cast a few rueful glances at that picture last season as the Lions slid down the Second Division, attendance's slumped disastrously and the debts piled up. 

But Burr has never been one to runaway from fight, and just 12 months after he helped wrestle the club back from the brink of oblivion he is ready to launch an all-out assault on the First Division.

"There are times in football when you have got to be patient, when you have got to sit back and take all the abuse," explained the 63-year old investment consultant who spent much of last season writing polite replies to some highly critical letters. 

"I can understand the frustrations of the fans. Over the last 40 years or so they have consistently had to put up with a team that hasn't been as good as  they deserved.

But I think a lot of the supporters don't appreciate how close we came to going out of business last summer. If we hadn't formed the new consortium and dealt with Mr. Thorne there wouldn't have been football of any sort at the Den." 

"By the time we took over, the club had already lost John Fashanu and Anton Otulakowski and people like Steve Lowndes, Steve Lovell and Robert Wilson didn't want to play for us anymore. Unfortunately most of the decent, players who had become available during the summer had already  fixed themselves up elsewhere - and it was virtually impossible to sign anybody." 

Manager John Docherty was forced to work with a paper thin first team squad and the Millwall board resigned themselves to a season of consolidation and plenty of abuse from those success-starved Den fans.

"I felt that the most important thing was to consolidate our Second Division position, although by Christmas I thought we might have a chance of getting into the play-offs. At that time we started trying to sign players again, but although we agreed terms with several people, for one reason or another the deals all fell through. I still we might have made it into the play-offs if we hadn't lost Danis Salman and Les Briley for, nine weeks through injury. "

Instead of the promotion play-offs, Millwall found themselves scraping to preserve their Second Division status, and Burr and Docherty bore the brunt of the fans frustrations. 

The Millwall chief isn't interested in mudslinging, but it clearly upsets him that he and Docherty are painted as the villains of the piece, while his predecessor Thorne and George Graham are regarded as heroes by the Den fans.

Of Graham he will only say, "George did well for Millwall,  he got them up half a division every season, but I don't   think he was really dedicated to the club, he was only interested  in building up his own reputation as a manager.

"The Millwall chairman is anxious to clear up one popular misconception though - that the money for the club's bold summer spending spree has come from that £2.7 million  deal with the Asda Superstore chain.


Contrary to most reports the money from the sale of the old glassworks site adjacent to the Den went straight into Thorne's bank account - the money for Millwall's signings has come out of the directors pockets with Mr. Burr digging deeper than most.


"We lost money consistently last season and the board felt that if the same thing happened this time there would he no real future for Millwall," he explained. We decided that the only way out of the stranglehold the club found itself in was to make a concerted and quite definite push for the First Division." 

As a result Docherty was given the go ahead to spend £85,000 on midfield Kevin O'Callaghan, £200,000 for striker Tony Cascarino, £80,000 for defender Steve Wood - and now there's the possibility of a £160,000 deal for George Lawrence. 

 Add that to the £100,00 the club paid out for Terry Hurlock and the £20,000 they spent on Jimmy Carter before last season's transfer deadline and it takes the consortium's investment in new players alone soaring above the £½ Million mark. We believe we have put our money where our mouths are," stressed Burr. "Now it is up to the supporters to do the same by coming in through the gates." 

"With the overheads the club has now got after buying these players we need an average home gate of 8,500 just to break even. "It is no good  people waiting to see how the first few results go and then if we win a few matches coming back a few hundred at a time. We need them there right from the first match of the season. If they don't turn up we won't be able to afford to keep the players that we have signed and almost inevitably we will sink back into the Third." 

 As well as the £500,000 they have spent on new players, Burr and his boardroom colleagues have also had to pay out £400,000 on ground safety work, £20,000 on new drainage and there's another hefty bill for the new floodlights, which are due to be installed any day now. 

 "The directors have made a big investment in the club, but they are not going to go on pouring money in if the public support is not forthcoming," said Burr.

"I don't believe that football clubs should be the play things of one or two rich businessmen, This club belongs to the supporters and now it is up to them to prove that they really want First Division football. We are the only London club who hasn't played in the First Division and I think it would be the greatest thing ever if we could change that."


We’ve also agreed a  sponsorship deal with the council, worth £70,000 a year over four years. 

"We want our fans to be aware of what's been done, be proud of the Club and its ambition."

It's all very well changing the image, but success on the field is vital, and Hortop stresses the £650,000 the club has spent on players like Kevin O'Callaghan, Steve Wood, George Lawrence and striker Tony Cascarino. 

Hortop is both realistic and ambitious about the future. He said: "Our job of moving Millwall into a new era isn't finished yet. But we've made a very strong start."

Millwall Football Club is on course to become the sporting Yuppies favourite haunt, writes Tony Roche.

 To those fans who dreaded a trip to the South London club because of its association with hooliganism, this may seem inconceivable. But the men who run Millwall are determined to change its image and attract a new clientele.

Traditionally the home of London's dockers, The Den has undergone a massive facelift and the club is working flat out to become an integral part of the London Docklands Development.


Chairman Reg Burr explained: "We used to attract dock workers but they've gone; the whole working community has gone. Now we attract people from outside the area, Kent, Surrey and parts of London. Yet we have 650,000 people living within a quarter-of-a-mile of the ground. 

The problem is that very few of them are football fans. But we are

closest club to the new dockland development area and I can see a time when we will be what Chelsea and Fulham were to London football in the 1950s and 60s, the club where the young, upwardly mobile fraternity want to be seen.

"We have worked very hard to clean this up place, It has been a formidable task because  you cannot undo 40 years of neglect in one go. But we have quality and experience at the helm in manager John Docherty and his colleague, Frank McLintock." 

Millwall's chief executive Graham Hortop, said the club has spent more than £300,000 on ground safety and increasing the capacity from 16,000 to 19,000. 

He said "We know the docklands is the coming area in London and in London and we are determined to play our part in that community. We were sponsored by  the London Docklands Development Corporation last season and were negotiating a similar deal now. 

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