After nearly 80 years at Cold Blow Lane Lewisham Council announced plans to move Millwall on, to a local playing field called Senegal Fields  whilst Millwall drew up their own plans to develop the Den

Millwall soccer chief Reg Burr yesterday poured cold water on controversial plans to move the First Division club to a new £100 million sports complex. 

By Will Smith

Lewisham Council's ruling Labour group want to re-site the Den - the Lions' home for nearly 80 years - on nearby parkland as part of an ambitious redevelopment scheme.

• Senegal Fields: New Home for the Lions?

But Mr. Burr said, "In the present economic climate I can't really see it coming off."

And he revealed the club has drawn up its own plans to revamp the existing ground. The plan to move the Den just a few hundred yards to Senegal Fields, Zampa Road, Rotherhithe, is the brainchild of former council leader and Millwall director Dave Sullivan.

The scheme would include a new stadium, an all-weather pitch and sports hall. The old ground would then be used for housing and an industrial development.

Mr. Burr said, "To call the Lewisham scheme 'pie in the sky' would be unfair to Dave Sullivan and the other people who have put a lot of hard work into it. '

"But it is a very complex scheme and in the present economic climate I can't really see it coming off." Furious Tory councillors claim the move would be subsidised by between £4m and £5m of ratepayers' money.

Tory group leader Cllr. Maggie Punyer said, "It is appalling that these plans have been kept quiet for so long. Now I have discovered that Lewisham Council will be subsidising the scheme I understand the reason for Labour secrecy."

"The idea of moving the club is a good one, but I don't see why our rate payers should pay this much for it - there must be another way to achieve the same end."

Lewisham already gives Millwall an annual £70,000 grant under a unique partnership between the council and the club launched in 1987.

Cllr. Sullivan was unavailable for comment. But he told a Labour group meeting last month that the development 'would trigger economic and social regeneration of the area, providing a major leisure facility for community use and creating jobs.

 Super Den: Millwall unveil new stand plan  (Jan 1989)

Ambitious Millwall officials are determined to improve facilities at the Den - and that could mean a new multi-million pound grandstand on the north side of the ground.

By Rob Bowden

The high-flying First Division newboys have also been holding detailed discussions with Lewisham Council over plans for a £100 million sports centre, just a long free-kick away from the Den.

That scheme would mean Millwall moving a few hundred yards down the road 10 Senegal Fields, but the club's board of directors feel the plan may be too complex, costly and controversial to get off the ground.

"At the moment we are leaning heavily towards redeveloping the present ground," admitted Millwall chairman Reg Burr.

"That would mean a multi-level stand on the north terrace side incorporating executive boxes, sponsorship facilities, seating and terracing, as well as the offices and dressing rooms, "We have already had some detailed drawings done and we have just sent them back to the architects so they can incorporate our specific requirements."

Burr is determined to bring the Den up to First Division standards after almost 40 years of neglect.


Bur the man who hauled Millwall back from the brink of bankruptcy pledged, "We won't be developing the ground at the expense of the team. "There is no way we are going to end up with First Division facilities and Third Division side. We are not that daft."

"Any developments we decide on will have to be self-financing. For instance if the new stand included 30 executive boxes and we were able to lease them 10 years in advance, as Arsenal have, it would pay for the whole scheme."

Burr and his fellow directors will also be at pains to protect the unique character of the Den.

"If you could bottle the Den's atmosphere and sell it you'd make a fortune, he stressed. "We certainly don't want to destroy that."

Meanwhile, the Millwall board have strengthened their position by buying the freehold of the ground from former chairman Alan Thorne after 18 months of negotiations.


 Millwall talk on Den move (The Standard Jan 89)
MILLWALL and Lewisham Council are discussing plans for a new stadium with an all-weather pitch on parkland at Senegal Field.

The London dockland club, enjoying their first season in Division One, could receive a £5 million local council subsidy for the move. But Tory opposition councillors are opposed to the scheme. If Millwall moved to a new complex, the Den site would be sold for housing and Industrial development.

  Lions New 45M Den (The Sun Jan 89)
THE Lions of Millwall are set to quit The Den writes Alex Montgomery

Boss John Docherty's First Division new boys are off lo a new home costing £45 Million.

The plan was leaked last night by local councillors opposed to the new deal. But it looks certain that Millwall will join the yuppie revolution in London's Docklands. The deal would take them away from The Den to Senegal Fields, beside South Bermondsey railway station.

They would have a modem luxury stadium as part of an overall sports complex for the local population, which could be completed within two years.

 Den's pride of the Lions (The Daily Star)
Defiant Millwall chairman Reg Burr last night promised worried fans: "We are not leaving the Den!" On the eve of the Lions TV debut against Norwich he stormed: "Stories about us moving are rubbish! They would have to drag me out screaming - never mind the fans."

He spoke out after stories linked Millwall to a new multi-million pound stadium - just a stone throw away.

Burr confirmed that the club are planning to carry out major work - but only on their existing site.

Millwall's main worries come along when Dave Stringer's Canaries fly in for a top of the table showdown.  And Norwich Striker Robert Fleck boasted; "We have nothing to fear from Millwall, we're desperate to keep pressure on Arsenal.


 New Lions Den (The Mirror Jan 89)
by Harry Harris 

MILLWALL may leave The Den. their home since 1910 as part of a new scheme being considered by Lewisham Council.

The Council have drawn up plans for a £100 million new sports complex at Senegal Fields, just a Few hundred yards from The Den.

They hope that Millwall will move to a 35,.000-capacity stadium in the complex.

Club chairman Reg Burr said the Council would give Millwall financial support for joining in the new venture. "It is going to cost a total of, I would say £100 million for the whole operation and we would be just one of the landowners."

"It would involve exchange of land and the grant of a substantial cash amount to us."


Then in the aftermath of Hillsborough....a change of policy
 Lions to Quit The Den (April 89)

MILLWALL are set to quit the Den and step into the 21st century at a lavish, multi-million pound stadium just a few hundred yards down the road.

By Rob Bowden

Lewisham Council's plans for a new sports complex on Senegal Fields were first unveiled three months ago - and initially got a lukewarm reception from Millwall officials.

But yesterday Lions chairman Reg Burr admitted, "We are being offered the chance to step into the 21st century, and we have got to take it."

"The only reason for us to stay at the Den is an emotional one. I can understand how people who have stood on the terraces week in, week out for 60 years may feel, and leaving will be wrench."

"But we have got to move with the times. A new purpose built stadium would help establish ourselves as one of the top clubs in the country, and if it comes about, I think we'll go,"

The result of a Department of Trade and Industry feasibility study into the scheme is due at the end of the month, and Burr is optimistic chat the Lions could move into their new home in two years' time.

"I think the scheme is far more likely to get off the ground now, than I did three months ago," stressed the Lions chief.

As well as a new home for Millwall, the Senegal sports complex would also include a running track, artificial all weather pitches, indoor cricket school, squash courts, gymnasium, saunas and a |play area for children.

The whole scheme is still in its infancy, but Burr admitted that he is excited by the sort of plans that are being submitted, including one by a top German design company.

"Their proposals include a grass pitch which can be lowered when it's not in use so that an artificial surface can be constructed over the top."

"That is the sort of high-tech proposals we are looking at and the beauty of some of these schemes is that they are entirely self-financing."

So after some initial scepticism, what convinced the Lions boss that a move to Senegal Fields might be in the clubs best interests?

"I really made up my mind after our FA Cup clash with Liverpool," he explained. "It was great seeing the Den virtually full, but I realised that without moving that was it, we couldn't go any further."

"We need to make another £½ a million if we are going to build on what we have achieved over the last couple of seasons and there is no way we are going to do that at the Den."

"We have got to look to generate that money from all sorts of sources outside football - and we simply don't have the resources to do that at the Den."

"This club had lo wall 103 years for First Division football and we are not going to throw it away lightly. Moving would help give John Docherty the resources he needs lo go out and spend £800,000 or even £1 million on a player."

"What has happened to this club over the past three years has been fantastic, a real fairytale. But we are determined not to stand still, we owe that to the supporters, the manager and the players who have pledged their futures at the club."

The horrific scenes at Hillsborough last weekend merely strengthened Burr's conviction that the time is right for a move. Congestion inside and outside the ground has increased dramatically since Millwall's promotion to the First Division, and Burr believes a purpose built stadium with a large car park could solve these problems at a stroke.

Lewisham officials also feel that moving Millwall to Senegal Fields rather than upgrading the present ground would have far reaching and beneficial effects for the whole area.

The Lions board of directors are still mulling over plan for a new stand on the north side of the present ground - just in case Lewisham's ambitious scheme never gels off the drawing board.

But Mr. Burr explained, "The problem with that is that it would leave us with one super stand and below par facilities on the other three sides of the ground."

"Thai might lead to a them and us situation developing and that's something I definitely don't want to see happen."

Burr knows that there is a very special atmosphere down at the Den, but the Lions chairman is convinced that moving half a mile down the road won't destroy that.

"When we stand looking at the designs for a new ground that is something that we will take into very careful consideration," he promised.

"I wouldn't want any new ground to be all-seater because I know a lot of our supporters don't want in sit down at matches, and we have got to respect their wishes."

"We'll take the good things we have got at the Den - and leave the bad ones behind."

Dilemma for Lions over Den future (April 1989)

 By Tony Quested (Daily Star)

Millwall's future is in the melting pot as the First Division surprise packets consider whether to quit their home at The Den.

The Lions face the prospect of having to move out within the next three years to keep pace with slick city neighbours like Arsenal and Spurs.

Millwall are now being linked with two sites - and one of them would literally involve selling their fans down the river!'

It's been suggested that they could move to a site on Isle of Dogs-the club's birthplace. Although the land is the other side of Thames, a rail link could be provided through the proposed Docklands Light Railway which would open access to Greenwich, Lewisham and Deptford.

Millwall have already been asked by Lewisham Council to leave The Den and build a new stadium half a mile down the road on the Bermondsey border. 


But directors are also considering plans for a major revamp of The Den. Chief Executive Graham Hortop said no decision has been taken. But he didn't think a move to the Isle of Dogs was likely. "It would be a great emotional wrench. A move of stadium is a big enough pull for supporters but the inconvenience, at least, has to be kept to minimum, I don't think we would want to move out of the area."

Lewisham Council has also pledge to "move heaven and earth" to keep Millwall in the borough. Hortop revealed that it was proving hard for the club to develop off the pitch as quickly as the playing side.

"We are an established First Division club and have to improve our facilities Our playing success has taken off beyond all expectations, but it costs a lot of money to redevelop a football stadium.

 Millwall to join Tottenham on the stock market (Sept 89)
MILLWALL are to become only the second Football League club to go public, with a quotation on the Stock Exchange.

by Steve Stammers and Malcolm Withers

And they intend to use the money they will raise by Issuing shares to move to a new stadium and challenge soccer's rich elite.

•  Cold Blow Lane: The Home of Millwall FC

The only other club to have gone public are Tottenham, who did so in 1983. Now Millwall, the Docklands club with the humble Image, are to forge an unlikely association with the City.

In the next four weeks they will announce ambitious plans aimed at raising £5 million by selling 25 million 20 pence shares.

Ronnie Jacobson, senior partner for stockbrokers Jacobson, Townsley, and a Spurs supporter for 40 years, said today: "We hope to be offering the shares to the public during October."

There will be special terms for Millwall supporters, who will be able to buy a minimum of 500 shares costing £100.

The maximum holding allowed will be 50,000 shares, costing £10,000. The cash will help to finance the club's plans to move to a multi-purpose new stadium in the next three years.

The new ground will be built less than half-a-mile from the present home at The Den. The New home will, with the co-operation of 

Lewisham Council, provide leisure facilities which it would be Impossible to Install at The Den.

The Millwall chairman is Reg Burr, who is financial consultant to Cleves Investment. Cleves will be financial advisers to the newly named Millwall Holdings PLC

"Nothing more can be done at The Den," said Burr today. "The who Idea is to secure the future of the club. Last season our income was just under £3 million of which £1.2 million came through the turnstiles. If you wrote out a league table of gates in the First Division at the end of last season, we would have been fourth from bottom. If you then did another table of cash per head from spectators, we would have been relegated."

"There were two steps we could take. We could have stayed as we were and ended up in the Third Division after having to sell our best players. Or we could raise additional capital that would help us get new players and help the move to a new, purpose-built stadium."

"This scheme is the only way that we feel we can maintain our progress as a major football club by increasing revenues."

"What we are aiming to do is build a more broadly based leisure group."

But Burr Insists that the ordinary fan will not be excluded from a stake in the future of the revamped club."

"I will give them a chance to have a say in the club - although I do hear their opinions every Saturday!"

Burr is bracing himself for what he regards as inevitable criticism from those who will suggest that he and other board members are motivated by self-profit.

"I suppose we will get some stick but really this is the only way for the club to go, The criticism will come from ill-informed people. Personally, I am very excited about the whole project. It will strengthen our financial hand."

And Burr made it clear that there will be no ground sharing and no artificial surface.

Don't Be Afraid: The last thing I want is to change Millwall into a Yuppie club. (Sept 89)

Lions chairman Reg Burr is already assured a place in Millwall folklore as the man who master-minded the club's triumphant march into the First Division after a 103-year wait.

By Rob Bowden

Now Burr is determined to safeguard Millwall's coveted position amongst the country's elite, by dragging the club, kicking and screaming into the 1990s.

Burr's ambitious plans include a £5 million share issue, and most controversially they mean moving from the Den, Millwall's home for nearly 80 years.

The Lions chief is adamant it's the only way forward for a club whose gale receipts will never provide them with the son of resources enjoyed by Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and co. But his plans have already been slammed by some supporters who fear that the club's unique spirit wouldn't survive a move from the Den, and that a share issue will surrender Millwall into the hands of business entrepreneurs more interested in profit than success on the field.

Burr believer those fears are groundless, born out of an understandable emotional attachment to the Den and a lack of understanding about the club's financial problems.

In today's SLP Sport he spells out his vision of the future and explains why the club must move from its beloved New Cross home.

Instead of moving from the Den a lot of supporters would rather see the ground improved and modernised. Why isn't that possible?

"It simply isn't viable! The Football League and Football Association have recommended that all First Division grounds should be 60-75 per seated. If that recommendation is included in Lord Justice Taylor's final report on the Hillsborough tragedy it is likely to become law by 1992 or 1993."

"It throws up the possibility of us being kicked out of the First Division, not because we aren't good enough, but because our ground doesn't come up to scratch and that's something I am determined to prevent."

"To bring the Den into line with that all-seater recommendation would cost between £15 and £20 million and there is simply no way we can raise that sort of money."

"When the idea of moving from the Den was first raised I thought it was a pipedream which would never come off, but now it's not an option it's absolutely imperative.

Do you understand why people are so reluctant to leave the Den?

"Of course! I've had letters from people who say that when they stand on the terraces at the Den they feel the strength of their fathers and grandfathers."

"I can understand that, but would those same people want to stand on the terraces and watch Third, Fourth or even non-League football because that's what the future holds if we don't move."

"Far too many people have worked themselves into the ground to get this club into the First Division for us to give up lightly."

THE Lions were highly successful during their first season in the top flight, and you've started the current campaign in similar fashion, so why are any changes necessary?

"John Docherty and his staff have done an absolutely marvellous job. I'm the first to acknowledge that and I for one don't think we have seen the best of this side yet.

"But the harsh facts are that despite last season's success our total income was just under £3 million of which £1.2 million came through the turnstiles.

"Unless we have a decent Cup run it is hard to envisage our gate receipts will increase dramatically this season - and of course you can't budget on Cup runs."

"In today's transfer market improving on our current squad would cost John £600,000 - £700,000 a time minimum, on our current income that sort of money isn't readily available.

"We've got a squad of players who are tremendously loyal to this club. But if we don't match the wages other people are paying we won't be able attract new players or keep the ones we've got."

"If that happens the result, inevitably, would be a decline in standards and a return to the Second or Third Divisions."

"I'd love nothing better than to be able to stay at the Den. I don't need all the work that moving to a new ground will create."

Reg Burr: "I can understand that (Supporters who say they won't go to the new ground), but would those same people want to stand on the terraces and watch Third, Fourth or even non-League football because that's what the future holds if we don't move."

"But unless someone can come up with a way of dramatically increasing the revenue we get at the Den we have got to go."

How will moving from the Den increase the club's revenue?

"Moving from the Den wouldn't necessarily improve our crowds, but the facilities we'd be able to offer people would boost our income per capita."

"There would be restaurants, bars, executive clubs and a whole range of other leisure facilities all designed to provide extra revenue."

"You have acknowledged the importance of the Den's special atmosphere. Would that survive if the club moves down the road to Senegal Fields?

"I'm sure it would. I believe that atmosphere comes primarily from the supporters and if we get the plans for Senegal Fields right I'm confident it can be preserved."

"We have already rejected a couple of plans because they are too 'high-tech' We don't want a state of the art ground, we simply want a smart modern one where people can watch football in comfort and safety."

"When the Den was built most people had outside toilets. Our fans don't live in the same conditions they did 60 odd years ago, so why should they have to put up with ancient facilities when they watch a football match?"

"I believe people should have the right to watch football standing up if they want to, so the new ground won't be all sealer and it won't have a plastic pitch."

Will the money from the proposed share issue be used to finance the new ground?

"No, that was what some papers said when the story broke but it's not the case. I can't say much about the share issue until all the technicalities have been sorted out but basically we want Millwall Holdings PLC to develop into a broad based leisure group."

Why do you think your proposals have upset a section of the supporters?

"People are always afraid of changes, but we have got to take some courageous decisions and move with the times. I don't want to alter the character of the club. The last thing I want to do is change Millwall into a yuppie club."

"What I do want is for us to develop into a major force, a club which can be compared favourably with the likes of Spurs and Arsenal."


  Football Club Studies plans for ‘Stadium on a Shoestring’ (BD Magazine  Nov 89)
By Adrian Barrick

Scottish Architects The Miller Partnership (RMJM) are testing the feasibility of a 'Shoestring' football stadium costing just £12 million.

The Stadium for First Division Millwall in Lewisham, South East London, will only go ahead if the club can sell its existing ground with lucrative planning consent for Housing.

Millwall Chairman Reg Burr told BD this week that if negotiations broke down he would consider taking the club out of Lewisham, possibly to nearby Southwark.

Miller and Engineers Thorburn associates will present studies to Millwall next month indicating the feasibility of an £8-12 million stadium with a 25,000-30,000 capacity at Senegal Fields, in New Cross, close to the club's home, The Den.

Burr said: "We can't talk about a hi-tech stadium with a retractable roof. That's all nonsense. We want a bread and butter ground."

Millwall will meet Lewisham officials next week to discuss a 'package deal', under which the council will lease the 4.2 ha Senegal Fields to the club and grant planning consent for the 'maximum possible' number of homes at The Den. House builders Barratts and Fairview own land nearby and are said to be interested.

According to a recent report for Lewisham council by Architects RMJM and Surveyors Driver Jonas, The Den is worth £4.5 million. 

The report also says the club could raise £2 million from the sale of executive boxes at the new ground and there may be grants available from the Sports council, The Football Grounds Improvement Trust and possibly the European Community. But DoE officials have told Burr there is no chance of City Grant support.

The RMJM report, a copy of which has been obtained by BD, examined the possibility of a 30,000 capacity stadium at Senegal Fields costing £16.6 million. This would involve Lewisham selling land worth up to £10.4 million to help fund the stadium, but this would still leave a £6 million shortfall.

Lewisham officials say the council cannot give Millwall either money or land under the new Local Government Act, without setting aside more money to pay off its huge debts.

Millwall are also considering a RMJM proposal to phase the new Stadium, starting with a main stand and temporary seats. But this may fall foul of safety guidelines to be imposed next year as a result of the Hillsborough disaster, which could insist on all-seater stadiums.

 One Step Forward!  (Aug 1990)
Millwall could well have taken the First step towards a move from Cold Blow Lane to a new home at nearby Senegal Fields.

By Paul McCarthy

A meeting of the Lewisham Council Environmental Services committee sat last night to consider an interim report commissioned after Millwall approached the Council with a view to a move from the Den.

In the light of the Taylor report after the Hillsborough disaster. Millwall Chairman Reg Burr claimed that a move from the Lions spiritual home was 'imperative'.

And the signs from the Council are more than encouraging. Councillor Dave Sullivan, chairman of the Environmental Services and a Millwall director, said, "We want to help Millwall get the right location, preferably the in the borough."

But he warned that Millwall would have to take strict steps to ensure that the move gets the full support of the local community.


Said Sullivan, "We want to make sure that local people are fully consulted and their comments are taken into account when we took at the planning application.

"We will continue to help the club investigate the feasibility of the move but reserve judgement on the Final outcome until we have had full public consultation and looked closely at the planning application when we receive it."

The report fully backed Millwall's claim that Senegal Fields, less than 5 minutes walk from the Den, is the only site in Deptford that could house a new Stadium.

The meeting last night looked likely to back all the recommendations in the report and called on Millwall to launch an investigation into the noise and traffic levels.

And if everything went according to schedule with no hold ups, the Lions could be playing at Senegal Fields as early as 1992


 Millwall Move Hits Public Access Snag   (Aug 1990)
Millwall could be on the move, if they can sort out a slight transport hitch.

By Peter Cresswell

According to a report published this week concerns over access are the only thing standing between the club and a brand new all-seater stadium by 1992.

Lewisham Council's Interim study on the football club's proposed move from The Den to a modern ground at Senegal Fields, half a mile away, outlines the serious limitations of the nearest railway station, South Bermondsey.

The proposed stadium would hold 25,000 spectators all seated in line with the conclusions of the Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster.

The ground would feature five a side pitches, indoor sports facilities, and up to 21,000 square feet of offices and workshops.

The report considers that converting The Den would be 'impractical and too costly'. The old ground and car park could be used for new housing.

South Bermondsey station would be 300 metres from the new site. At present only four trains per hour pass through, two in each direction.

According to the report: "The view of British Rail operations and Metropolitan Police is that the station is totally inadequate and unsafe as a facility for servicing a new stadium and coping with thousands of fans and there is no holding area."

Senegal Fields is surrounded by railway embankments and factories. The report stresses that Millwall would have to buy land from British Rail to provide suitable access on match days. The club intends to negotiate with individual warehouse owners to increase the proposed 160 on site parking spaces. 

A recent Sports Council's estimation is approximately £15 million for building a stadium of similar size. The report does not rule out ground sharing.

Barry O'Keefe, head of the Independent Millwall supporters' Association said: "We have to be realistic. The supporters should be consulted at all stages. Personally, I've never sat down to watch football before. A lot of people won't believe it until it happens."

 Millwall unveil new stadium (Dec 1990)
by Rob Bowden 

This is the multi-million pound, purpose built stadium which will become the Lions' new Den in time for the start of the 1992-93 season.

Millwall's controversial plans to quit their current home in Cold Blow Lane, New Cross and move a few hundred yards down the road to Senegal Fields will be discussed at a series of public meetings next week.

But the Lions board of directors are convinced that if the club is going to survive and prosper, they will have to say a sad farewell to their beloved Den.

"Its absolutely imperative," stressed Lions chairman Reg Burr. "It just isn't possible to convert our present ground into an all sealer stadium with the sort of facilities we want and need if we are going to be able to complete with the country's top clubs."

Representatives of the club, its consultants The Miller partnership and Lewisham Council will be at next week's public meetings.

"We know its a very emotive issue," admitted Millwall's chief executive Graham Hortop, "and that's why we hope as many people as possible will come along."

The first meeting will be at Scotney Hall, Sharratt Street, S.E.15, on Monday, January 7, followed by Deptford Town Hall, New Cross, SE.14, on Tuesday, January 8, and the Silwood Estate Community Centre, Alpine Road, S-E.16, on Thursday, January 24. All three meetings start at 7.30 p.m.


• The proposed new development at Senegal Fields will include a 25.000 all seater stadium with restaurant and banqueting facilities, plus a sports complex for use by the club and the local community.

• The sports complex will include indoor and outdoor football pitches, plus squash, badminton and a gymnasium, and it will be attached to the main stadium by a walkway.


Next Page: More on planning the move and financing the deal and more pictures of the construction of the New Den or 'The New London Stadium' as the project was called. Next Page the Architects Journal Review of the Project and Stadium.

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