In MFW’s latest encounter with Nick Hart – creator of the brilliant Achtung! Millwall podcast – we have sensibly put the ball entirely in his court and asked him to give us the lowdown on how things are going down at the New Den.
What follows is enlightening enough for us to allow Nick’s opening remarks about the inverted ageism present on our beloved site to stand, even if only for the reason that he’s spot on in his observations
Older readers of this website [and I am going to guess that they are mostly older readers, apologies Martin, it’s just a feeling that I get…] may remember a regular cartoon series of their 1970s youth called Dick Dastardly – Stop That Pigeon. [Oh gawd, Nick’s right. I remember Wacky Races too – Martin]
The basic premise of the show was that the moustache-twirling Millwall-style panto villain Dastardly – accompanied by his endlessly sniggering canine sidekick Muttley and their accompanying ‘Vulture Squadron’ – would engage in First World War style aerial combat with the Premier League’s promotion messenger, the clean-cut Yankee Doodle Pigeon.
Always just on the brink of success, Dick Dastardly would find the promotion pigeon prize elusive. Various aircraft parts would fall off, machine guns would fire the wrong way or biplanes crash into each other at critical moments of aerial fisticuffs.
In the same manner, Millwall’s season has been a slow burn of developing potential toward the top six of the Championship, while various first-choice squad members have fallen by the wayside with injury.
Club captain and defensive lynchpin Shaun Hutchinson has recovered from injury but it remains the treatment room for midfield dynamo Billy Mitchell, attacking left-sided threat Mason Bennett and on-loan utility man Calum Styles.
With a small squad which is such as the Lions’ limited resources can afford, these would [you’d think] be heavy body blows to the club’s promotion hopes. But as is the way of the Lion from Cold Blow Lane to now Zampa Road, we’ve proved to be never more dangerous than when backed into a corner.
Last week saw us take four points from a possible six with a titanic home win over Sheffield United; and then a deeply satisfying late draw against Vincent Kompany’s Burnley, the best [and most dislikeable] side in the league.
On Saturday the lads enjoyed the trip to the romantically named Bet 365 stadium in Stoke where an early goal from Zian Flemming was enough to take all three points. The midweek game against Luton Town saw us pegged back after taking a 2-0 lead, which makes eight points in our last four games.
So buckle up for one of those huge Den atmospheres on Saturday – the visit of Norwich looks like being a big Den occasion!
And it would be the most Millwall-thing-in-the-world to serve up the dampest of damp squibs after the heroics of the last fortnight!***
Truly we are the world’s best underdogs and worst favourites…
I’m pleased to say that after three years of relationship therapy-style ‘finding out about each other’, Gary Rowett and the Millwall support seem to have reached a state of mutual respect.
The scenes in which Rowett took the applause of the travelling support at Loftus Road after our recent win at QPR were heartening to see.
Maybe we’re finally ‘getting’ his cagey and defence-first style of football. Maybe.
Maybe he’s finally ‘getting’ the unique weapon that the Millwall support represents. Maybe.
Players that you should watch out for?
Well, there’s no secret that Zian Flemming has been a creative talisman for us since signing from Fortuna Sittard at the start of the season. Also combining well up front [lately anyway] have been our German forward Andreas Voglsammer and top scorer Tom Bradshaw.
Truth is though that if we’re still in the hunt by 5pm on Saturday March 4, then it will have been a team effort – because we don’t bring the financial wedge to the table for it to be any other way than via hard graft, collective commitment and the raw power of The Den when it’s in full cry.
Can Dick Dastardly’s Millwall Vulture Squadron truly catch the Premier League pigeon?
Can the EFL/PL/Sky military-industrial complex keep their product from the huge bird-dropping splat that Millwall landing in the Premier League would represent?
Can we keep our wings, engine, and sufficient fuel in the tank to avoid the traditional mid-air collision that the Lions traditionally cause?
Tune in tomorrow and find out…
*** We have those too Nick. We call them Along Come Norwich moments or ACN for short. This trait even has an NCFC fansite named after them!
Thanks for your help as always mate.
This is the Millwall choir in full voice during a game against local South East London rivals Charlton Athletic. Yes, they were the away team that day!
And for the benefit of any younger Norwich supporters who have stumbled across MFW by accident, this is Dastardly and Muttley in full effect: