‘We all know your song (“No-one likes us, we don’t care”), but what is the spirit behind it?’
Nick’s response was brilliant. And minus even the vaguest follow-up question, he gave MFW a superb insight into what’s life’s like for a Millwall fan in the 21st century. If you haven’t, you should read it… it’s here.
He followed it up with an equally brilliant piece ahead of the 4-3 earlier this season, so there was no question over where to head prior to tomorrow’s Bermondsey showdown…
Martin: I deliberately waited for the FA Cup quarter-final draw before contacting you. Brighton at home is surely doable and with a possible semi against Watford or Palace and an outside chance of Swansea you must be fancying Wembley. We’re hoping you’ll be in anticipation mode and not too concerned about our visit but maybe that’s hope in vain?
Nick: Trips to Wembley in recent years have become as commonplace for Millwall as FA enquiries into crowd conduct. No sooner do we get shot of one, then another comes along. Which is an odd thing really, as for the first 27 years of my following the Lions, the idea of us visiting the national stadium was a remote concept that would generate feverish enquiries into your mental health.
The truth this season is that we really haven’t ignited at all. Only once have we produced anything like a ‘Millwall’ atmosphere and performance – and that was at home to Everton in the previous round. So yes, the home draw against a well-managed Brighton is winnable, albeit no easy task in my opinion. But only if the Millwall of that electric night a few weeks ago show up. If the insipid eleven that we saw against Preston take the field, well then it might get embarrassing …
Are you still smarting about the way in which we came back from the dead at Carrow Road? We had the same experience against Derby, so know how you feel.
A neutral would say that 3-4 loss was one of the great games of the season, but to lose so sloppily from a late, late winning position in many ways sums up this bland season. Too many errors from decent situations for the campaign to feel anything more than an exercise now in Championship survival. I know we are in the cup quarter-finals, but that is no substitute for the functional necessity of avoiding falling back into the grim League One depths of Hades.
There must be enough about you to stay up – Rotherham, Reading and particularly Bolton and Ipswich are truly dreadful. Thoughts?
Agree about the lack of quality amongst that group of teams. I would have hoped after last season’s heroics that we’d be higher up the table though. For me, this current Millwall side commits the ultimate Zampa Road sin – blandness. We should be able to do better than we are in short. Which awkwardly comes back to the manager – club legend Neil Harris.
Ben Marsall? Not really had the impact of last season from what we can gather at our end. He had one or two issues here hence the loan. Thoughts again?
So far Marshall has been ‘okay’, but he hasn’t set The Den on fire. His form on loan to us last season raised expectations, so when he returned from Norwich, I must admit that I thought his crossing ability would be decisive in keeping us up. Our problem fundamentally isn’t Marshall, it’s a lack of goalscoring threat. Steve Morison is now put in cryogenic storage after each game, whilst Tom Elliot is a willing enough workhorse up front, but won’t be troubling the FIFA Balon D’Or statistics, not in this universe anyway.
Finally, in a light-hearted way, it seems some of your supporters are referring to manager Neil as “Monkey Harris” of Only Fools fame. Is that actually correct or just a couple of guys trying to be witty?
Ah, we are now entering the fraught world of football nicknames … yes indeed, Neil Harris is sometimes known as ‘Monkey’ Harris. This seems to have come from his earliest days at The Den (1997-98 or so) and may well be an OFAH reference of some sort. Like all good myths and legends, it is lost in the mists of time now.
Harris actually carries three nicknames, he is also known as ‘Chopper’ – in honour I guess of the great Chelsea defender Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris of the 60s and 70s. Chopper seems to be the official club nickname for him. So if the match day programme or nowadays the online presence want to go down the matey / jocular route, he becomes ‘Chopper’.
Amongst the fans, being rougher, readier and calloused handed sons of toil, he is referred to as ‘Bomber’ Harris. A clear – and nowadays I dare say politically incorrect – reference to Sir Arthur Harris of WW2 Bomber Command fame, whose bull-headed intention to take the fight to Nazi Germany by any means necessary, generates disdain amongst the kind of polite company that has never faced anything more stressful than a delay on their online Waitrose delivery.
Mind you, when Preston went three goals up inside half an hour last Saturday, I thought I detected a few new nicknames for Bomber. Some were most novel…
SCORE PREDICTION – our best (only) chance this season is to get the ball into the opponents final third and go on the attack. If we switch off, Norwich will punish us. I see this as a potentially high scoring draw – 2-2.
And then there were twelve…
Sir Alex called it right – this is most definitely that time of the season when it twitches like no other and when the results of those around us become just as important as our own. The ‘let’s do our own job and not worry about the rest’ theory goes out of the window, and whether we need a favour or two or not, we go looking for them. But, if there’s one place you don’t want to go when everything is getting a little bit nervy it’s probably the New Den. So…
Penney predicts: In Nick Hart’s top class preview he suggests Neil Harris is known as Bomber, Chopper Monkey. But we don’t care about nomenclature because we are Norwich, super Norwich and it will be 0-2 City.
Andy assumes: A focussed, professional 2-0 win as our boys continue to impress.
Gaz guesses: Hhmm… tricky one. Gut tells me it will either be a Preston-style blow to the wotsits of a Bolton-style emphatic win, so it’ll probably be neither. Therefore, ignoring the gut, I’ll go 2-1 City.
Cookie concludes: ?
Stew suspects: We need another Bolton performance, not a Preston one. But with confidence flowing and a week’s preparation, I reckon we’ll be focussed and should have too much for them. Millwall 1, City 3.
Oppo’s view: I see this as a potentially high scoring draw – 2-2.
Siri says: ?