|With Superden seemingly dead in the Water Millwall
were left to find the money for the compulsory safety
|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)
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
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
|Millwall may leave Den (November
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
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
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
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
|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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
With the fixtures for next season due out shortly,
top priority will be to sort out out contractural difficulties at Cold.
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
• Waiting game:
Millwall chief executive Tony Shaw
|Chairman's Statement (August
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
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
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
|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
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".
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
|There can't be many better
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
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
"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
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 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
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
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.
Millwall's summer spending spree tempt back the missing fans?
Its Now or
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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. "
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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
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."
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."
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.
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.
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
CLEAN UP ACT
also agreed a sponsorship deal with the council, worth £70,000
a year over four years.
want our fans to be aware of what's been done, be proud of the
Club and its ambition."
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.
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."
Football Club is on course to become the sporting Yuppies favourite
haunt, writes Tony Roche.
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
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
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.
problem is that very few of them are football fans. But we are
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.
have worked very hard to clean this up place, It has been a formidable
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
chief executive Graham Hortop, said the club has spent more than £300,000
safety and increasing the capacity from 16,000 to 19,000.
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.