Millwall F.C.

Millwall F.C.
Blue rampant lion above the word Millwall in blue letters.
Full name Millwall Football Club
Nickname(s) The Lions, formerly The Dockers (1885–1910)
Founded 3 October 1885; 126 years ago (1885-10-03), as Millwall Rovers (to 1889),
Millwall Athletic (1890–1910)
Ground The Den
South Bermondsey, London
(Capacity: 20,146)
Owner Millwall Holdings PLC
Chairman John Berylson
Manager Kenny Jackett
League Football League Championship
2010–11 Football League Championship, 9th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Millwall Football Club (English pronunciation: /ˈmɪlwɔːl/) (LSEMWH) is an English professional football club based in South Bermondsey, south east London, that plays in the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football. Founded as Millwall Rovers in 1885, the club has retained its name despite having last played in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in 1910. From then until 1993 the club played at The Den, a now-defunct stadium in New Cross, before moving to its current home stadium in South Bermondsey, also called The Den. The traditional club crest is a lion rampant, a reference to the team's nickname The Lions. Millwall's traditional kit consists of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks. The current strip pays homage to the Scottish roots of the club and the first ever kit worn by Millwall Rovers in 1885, which the team played in until 1936; it is a darker navy blue on the shirts, shorts and socks, similar to the Scotland national team.

In 2004, the team reached the final of the FA Cup and, in doing so, qualified for the UEFA Cup the following season, playing in Europe for the first time in their history. The club has also reached FA Cup semi-finals on another three occasions, in 1900, 1903 and 1937. Millwall have spent the majority of their existence competing in the second or third tier of the Football League. The team spent two seasons in the top flight between 1988–90, in which the club achieved its highest ever finish of tenth place in the First Division. Based on all results during the club's 84 seasons in the Football League from 1920–21 to 2010–11, Millwall are ranked as the fortieth most successful club in English football. Millwall is well-known for a long-standing rivalry with West Ham United. The local derby between the two sides has been contested almost 100 times since 1899. Millwall's supporters have an infamous association with hooliganism and are renowned for their chant, "no one likes us, we don't care".



Beginnings and relocation: 1885–1919

The first Millwall Rovers kit, worn by club secretary Jasper Sexton in 1885.[1]

Millwall Rovers were formed by the workers of J.T. Morton's canning and preserve factory in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in London's East End in 1885.[2] First founded in Aberdeen in 1849 to supply sailing ships with food, the company opened their first English cannery and food processing plant at Millwall docks in 1872 and attracted a workforce from across the country, including the east coast of Scotland, primarily Dundee.[2]

The club secretary was seventeen-year-old Jasper Sexton,[3] the son of the landlord of The Islander pub in Tooke Street where Millwall held their meetings. Millwall Rovers' first fixture was on 3 October 1885 against Fillebrook, a team that played in Leytonstone, however the newly-formed team were beaten 5–0.[2]

Millwall Rovers with the East London Cup, 1887.[4]

In November 1886, the East End Football Association was formed, and with it came a Senior Cup Competition. Millwall made it to the final against London Caledonians, which was played at Leyton Cricket Ground. The match finished 2–2 and the teams shared the cup for six months each.[4] Millwall went on to win the East London Senior Cup at the first attempt. The team also won it for the following two years and the trophy became their property.[2][4]

From 1886-1890, Millwall Rovers played on ground behind the Lord Nelson pub (pictured in 2008) on the Isle of Dogs.

In April 1889, a resolution was passed for Millwall to drop 'Rovers' from their name and they were now playing under the name Millwall Athletic,[4] inspired by their move to their new home The Athletic Grounds.[5] They would become founding members of the Southern Football League which they won for the first two years of its existence and were runners-up in its third.[6] Millwall Athletic were also champions of the Western Football League in 1908 and 1909.[7]

Millwall moved to a new stadium, named The Den, in New Cross in 1910.[8] The club had previously occupied four different grounds in the twenty-five years since their formation; limited expansion space on the Isle Of Dogs meant The Lions had to move to boost support and attendances.[9] The estimated cost of The Den was £10,000.[9] The first match played at the new ground was on 22 October 1910 against reigning Southern League champions Brighton & Hove Albion, who spoiled the celebrations by winning 1–0.[10]

Entering the Football League: 1920–1963

Millwall, who had now also dropped 'Athletic' from its name, were invited to join the Football League in 1920, along with twenty-two other clubs, through the creation of the new Football League Third Division.[11] The Southern League was shorn of its status, with almost all its clubs deciding to leave—Millwall following suit.[11] Millwall's first Football League match was on 28 August 1920 at The Den, and saw them 2–0 winners over Bristol Rovers.[12] The Lions' won their first eleven league home games without conceding a single goal.[12]

Millwall became known as a hard-fighting Cup team and competed in various memorable matches, notably defeating three-time league winners and reigning champions Huddersfield Town 3–1 in the third round of the 1926–27 FA Cup.[13] Matches against Sunderland and Derby County saw packed crowds of 48,000-plus in the 1930s and 1940s.[14] A 1936–37 FA Cup fifth round game against Derby still stands as Millwall's record attendance of 48,762.[13][14] One of the biggest Cup upsets came in the fourth round of the 1956–57 FA Cup on 26 January 1957, when The Lions beat Newcastle United 2–1 in front of a crowd of 45,646—at a time when the New Cross team were fighting for Third Division survival.[15] Millwall were the tenth best supported team in England in the pre-war years, despite languishing in the Third Division for most of the 1930s. Only one other club boasted a superior bank balance in the land, and after signing international players and proposing plans to improve The Den, The Lions were pushing heavily for promotion to the First Division toward the end of the decade.[16] One week into the 1939–40 season, World War II broke out and Millwall were robbed of their aim.[16]

On 7 April 1945, Millwall appeared in a Southern FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium against Chelsea, but because it was a wartime cup final it is not acknowledged in the record books.[17] With the war in Europe in its last days, there was a relaxation on the number of spectators allowed to attend games. The attendance was 90,000, the largest crowd Millwall have ever played in front of, which included King George VI, who the team were introduced to before kick-off.[18]

The loss of so many young men during the Second World War made it difficult for clubs to retain their former status. This was especially true for Millwall, who appeared to suffer more than most. From being one of the country's biggest clubs before the war, Millwall were reduced to one of its smallest afterwards.[17] The Den sustained severe bomb damage on 19 April 1943 during the Blitz, and one week later a fire, determined to have been caused by a discarded cigarette, also destroyed an entire stand.[17] The club accepted offers from neighbours Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace and West Ham United to stage games.[17] On 24 February 1944, Millwall returned to The Den, to play in an all-standing stadium. This was achieved, in part, with considerable volunteer labour by Lions fans.[17]

During the late 1950s and early 1960s Millwall's form was poor, and they were relegated into (and became a founding member of) Division Four.[19] This was the first time in their history they had competed in the fourth tier of English football, which they remained in for five seasons until 1962.[20]

Unbeaten records and the class of '71: 1964–1987

Later in the decade, Millwall established a record of 59 home games without defeat (43 wins and 16 draws) from 22 August 1964 to 14 January 1967. During this spell, Millwall played 55 different teams, kept 35 clean sheets, scored 112 goals and conceded 33.[21] This was thanks largely to managers Billy Gray, who laid the foundations, and Benny Fenton, a former player who continued to build on Gray's side. All the players, which included winger Barry Rowan, goalkeeper Alex Stepney and strikers Hugh Curran and Len Julians, were presented with a commemorative gold cigarette lighter by the Football Association.[21] The record was eventually broken by Liverpool, who were unbeaten for 63 games at home between 1978 and 1981.[21]

In the early 1970s, the Millwall team included many notable and memorable players, now remembered by some fans as "The Class of '71". This was a team that included; goalkeeper Bryan King, defender Harry Cripps, goalscoring midfielder Derek Possee, Millwall's most capped international player to date, Eamon Dunphy[22] and the clubs longest serving player, Barry Kitchener.[23] They missed out on promotion to Division One by one point.[24] By remaining unbeaten at home in the 1971–72 Division Two season, Millwall became the only club to go through an entire season without losing a match at home in four different divisions (1927–28 Division Three South, 1964–65 Division Four, 1965–66 Division Three and 1971–72 Division Two).[25] In 1974, Millwall hosted the first game to be played on a Sunday against Fulham.[26]

George Graham managed Millwall from 1983 to 1986, and during that time he guided the club to promotion to the Second Division in the 1984–85 season, going unbeaten at home again in Division Three, winning 18 games and drawing five.[27] Millwall also won the Football League Group Cup, beating Lincoln City 3–2 in the final in the 1982–83 season,[28] and reached the FA Cup quarter-finals in the 1984–85 promotion campaign. They were beaten 1–0 by First Division Luton Town at Kenilworth Road. The match is remembered for all the wrong reasons, though, after hooligans rioted at the game. Eighty-one people (including thirty-one police officers) were injured in the disturbances.[29]

The top flight and new stadium: 1988–1996

In their three seasons together at Millwall, Tony Cascarino and Teddy Sheringham scored 99 goals between them.[30]

Graham's replacement was Glaswegian John Docherty. In his second season as manager, Millwall won the Second Division championship and gained promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in the club's history.[31][32] Starting their 1988–89 First Division campaign strongly, Millwall topped the league on 1 October 1988 having played six games (winning four and drawing two) and rarely slipped out of the top five before Christmas. This was mainly due to Tony Cascarino and Teddy Sheringham who scored ninety-nine goals between them in three seasons playing together.[33] Millwall's first top division season ended with a tenth place finish, which was the lowest place occupied by the club all season. The following season, they briefly led the league for one night in September 1989 after beating Coventry City 4–1, but won only two more games all season and were relegated in bottom place at the end of the 1989–90 campaign.[34]

Just before relegation was confirmed, Docherty was sacked and replaced by ex-Middlesbrough manager Bruce Rioch.[35] Striker Teddy Sheringham, who later played for the England national team and was the highest-scoring player throughout the Football League in 1990–91,[36] was sold to Nottingham Forest for £2 million after Millwall's 6–2 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion in the Second Division play-offs.[37] Rioch left Millwall in 1992 to be succeeded by Irish defender Mick McCarthy. McCarthy guided Millwall to third place in the new Division One at the end of the 1993–94 season.[38] This was their first season at a new ground, at first known as The New Den (to distinguish it from its predecessor) but now called simply The Den,[39] which was opened by the Labour party leader John Smith on 4 August 1993. The new ground was the first all-seater stadium to be built after the Taylor report on the Hillsborough disaster.[40] The Lions knocked Arsenal out of the 1994–95 FA Cup in a third-round replay, beating them 2–0 at Highbury,[41] before losing 5–1 to Derby County in the play-off semi-finals that season.[3] McCarthy resigned to take charge of the Republic of Ireland national team on 5 February 1996, shortly after Millwall had been knocked off the top of the Division One table by Sunderland following a 6–0 defeat.[38]

Relegation and administration: 1997–2000

Jimmy Nicholl of Raith Rovers was appointed as McCarthy's replacement, but could not reverse the slump in form which saw Millwall relegated at the end of the season in 22nd place.[3] Just five months before this they had been top of Division One, but now Millwall found themselves in the third tier for the 1996–97 season. The club also experienced severe financial difficulties that resulted in them being placed in financial administration for a short time.[3] Nicholl was relieved of his duties and John Docherty returned on a short-term basis to stabilise the club at playing level.[3]

The club came out of administration, and new chairman Theo Paphitis appointed ex-West Ham United manager Billy Bonds as manager.[42] This was not a successful season (mainly due to a series of player injuries), with the club hovering close to relegation to the Third Division. Bonds was sacked and replaced by Keith "Rhino" Stevens, with Alan "Macca" McLeary as his assistant. McLeary was later promoted to the role of joint-manager alongside Stevens.[3]

Stevens and McLeary led Millwall to their first ever official appearance at Wembley Stadium (their previous visit in the 1945 War Time cup final is not recognised in the history books).[3] The Lions reached the 1999 Football League Trophy Final with a golden goal win against Gillingham in the semi-finals, and a 2–1 aggregate victory over Walsall in the regional final. They faced Wigan Athletic in the final[43] but, while playing in front of 49,000 of their own fans, lost 1–0 by to an injury-time goal. Millwall also lost 1–0 on aggregate to Wigan in the Second Division play-off semi-finals the following year.[43]

Promotion, FA Cup Final and Europe: 2001–2004

Mark McGhee was named as Millwall's new manager in September 2000, and eight months later the club won promotion as Division Two champions, with the team built by Keith Stevens, after five years in the lower tier of the league.[3] Winning the first match of the season 4–0 at home to Norwich City set the team up well for a good season in which Millwall qualified for the Division One play-offs, but lost to eventual winners Birmingham City 2–1 in the semi-finals. This meant that they missed out on a second successive promotion, which would have given them a place in the Premier League. Millwall missed out on a play-off place in 2002–03 and McGhee was sacked soon after the start of the 2003–04 season.[44]

In 2003, Dennis Wise, ex-Chelsea and England player, became caretaker, and subsequently permanent player-manager, of the club. In his first season in charge Wise led the club to the first FA Cup Final in their history (excluding the 1945 War Cup final).[45] When Millwall took to the field at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff they were only the second team from outside the top flight to play in the Cup final since 1982, and were the first team from outside the Premier League to reach the final since the foundation of the top tier in 1992.[46] The club was also missing no less than sixteen players from their squad due to suspension or injury. They played the Cup final on 22 May 2004, losing 3–0 to Manchester United.[47] As United had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League, Millwall were assured of playing in the UEFA Cup. Midfielder Curtis Weston, substituted for Wise with one minute of normal time remaining, became the youngest Cup final player in history at 17 years 119 days, beating the 125-year-old record of James F. M. Prinsep.[48] In the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, Millwall lost 4–2 on aggregate in the first round proper to Hungarian champions Ferencváros, with Wise scoring both Millwall's goals.[49]

Six managers in two years of upheaval: 2005–2006

The Millwall Routemaster bus standing outside The Den.[50]

In 2005, Theo Paphitis announced that he was stepping down as chairman of the club with Jeff Burnige to replace him from May 2005.[51] At the end of the 2004–05 season, manager Dennis Wise announced that he was leaving as he was unable to form a working relationship with the new chairman.[45] Steve Claridge (a Millwall striker from 2001–03) was announced as the new player-manager of Millwall. However, when Burnige then stepped down just two months after taking up the post, it was announced on 27 July that Claridge had been sacked after 36 days, without ever taking charge of the team in a competitive match.[52]

Former Watford, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall manager Colin Lee replaced him but lasted only five months in charge of the club.[52] On 21 December, with the club bottom of the Championship, he became the club's Director of Football and was replaced as manager by 32-year-old player Dave Tuttle, on a short-term contract until the end of the season.[53] Tuttle had no prior experience in football management. In February 2006, Lee left the club altogether. Millwall experienced a very difficult season, possibly as a consequence of having had four managers in 2005. Their relegation to League One was confirmed on 17 April 2006 with a 2–0 loss against Southampton and in the closed season Nigel Spackman was appointed as manager.[54] In September 2006, Theo Paphitis (chairman from 1997 to 2005) ended his nine-year association with the club after a year-long spell as a non-executive director.[55]

On 19 March 2007, Willie Donachie signed a two-year contract following some excellent progress which had seen the club climb to 11th place in the league.[56] Before Donachie took charge, Millwall had taken only six points from their first ten games. However, the start of the 2007–08 season saw Millwall bottom of the table at the beginning of October. Donachie was sacked on 8 October, with Richard Shaw and Colin West becoming caretaker managers.[56]

Stability and play-off success: 2007–present

Millwall players celebrating promotion to the Football League Championship at Wembley Stadium.[57]

In March 2007, Chestnut Hill Ventures, led by American John Berylson, which have interests in business and financial services, retail, property and sport, invested £5 million into the club. The continued investment of Berylson, who has since become the club's major shareholder and chairman,[58] has steered The Lions on a better course on and off the pitch. The appointment of Kenny Jackett as manager on 6 November 2007, proving crucial.[59]

Over the course of the next two seasons Jackett led Millwall to two top six finishes in League One, in fifth and third place respectively. He has won the League One Manager of the Month award three times while in charge of the club.[60] Several of his key signings helped propel Millwall toward the play-offs, and eventual promotion. After a play-off final defeat in the 2008–09 season against Scunthorpe United and losing out on automatic promotion on the last day of the 2009–10 season to Leeds United by one point, Millwall made it back to Wembley, finally breaking the play-off hoodoo run of five successive losses with a 1–0 win in the 2010 League One play-off final against Swindon Town, securing a return to the Football League Championship after a four-year absence.[57]

Millwall's first game back in the Championship was a 3–0 away win at Bristol City. The game had been much hyped due to City's signing of then-England goalkeeper David James. Only days after the defeat, Steve Coppell resigned as City manager.[61] The Lions celebrated the 125th anniversary of the club on 2 October 2010, which was the closest home game date to the first fixture Millwall ever played against Fillebrook on 3 October 1885. Millwall drew 1–1 with Burnley and wore a special one-off kit for the game, made by manufacturers Macron, which bore the names of every footballer who had played for the club.[62]

Colours, crest and nickname

Millwall's first home kit from 1885, which the team wore for the 125-year anniversary of the club in the 2010–11 season.[1]

Millwall's traditional kit has predominantly consisted of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks throughout their 125-year history.[1] For the first 50 years, up until 1936, they played in a traditional navy blue, similar to the colours of Scotland national team.[1] This colour was chosen because it paid homage to the Scottish roots of the club,[2] with the nucleus of the first Millwall Rovers squad being from north of the border, primarily Dundee.[63] In 1936, newly appointed Millwall manager Charlie Hewitt opted to change the kit colour from navy blue to a lighter royal blue,[64] and the team have played in this colour for the best part of 74 years, with the exception of 1968–75 and 1999–2001, in which the team played in an all-white strip.[1] Their kit for the 2010–11 season celebrated the 125th anniversary of the club, with Millwall adopting the darker navy blue of their first strip.[65] The club retained this colour for the current season.[1]

1936–39 strip. The first change of colour from navy blue to royal blue. This was the first appearance of the lion rampant crest on the kit.[1]

The club crest has been a rampant lion since 1936, which was also introduced by Charlie Hewitt.[64] There have been many variations of the lion; the first was a single red lion, often mistakenly said to be chosen because of the club's Scottish roots.[66] The lion bore a striking resemblance to signs used by pubs named The Red Lion.[66] From 1956 to 1974 Millwall's crest was two leaping red lions facing each other.[1] Former chairman Theo Paphitis brought back the badge in 1999, where it was used for a further eight years. The current crest is a leaping lion, which first appeared on a Millwall kit in 1979.[1] It remained until 1999 and was re-introduced again in 2007.[1] The club mascot is a giant lion called Zampa, so named after Zampa Road, the postal address of The Den.[67]

The leaping lion has been on the club's crest from 1979 to 1999, and from 2007 to present.[1]

The team nickname is The Lions, previously The Dockers.[68][69] The original Dockers name arose from the job of many of the club's supporters in the early 1900s.[2] The club did not like the moniker and changed the nickname after press headlined Millwall as 'Lions of the South', after knocking Football League leaders Aston Villa out of the FA Cup of 1900. Millwall, then a Southern League side, went on to reach the semi-final.[70] The club adopted the motto: We Fear No Foe Where E'er We Go.[71] In the 2000s the club started to recognise its unique link with London's docks by introducing Dockers' Days, and archiving the club's dock roots in the Millwall FC Museum.[72] Dockers' Days bring together past successful Millwall teams who parade on the pitch at half-time. Supporters who were dockers are allowed to attend the game for free.[73] In 2011, Millwall officially named the east stand of The Den as the 'Dockers Stand' in honour of the club's former nickname.[74]

Kit sponsors and manufacturers

The two red lions first appeared on the Millwall crest in 1956.[1]
Year Kit manufacturer[1] Main shirt sponsor Secondary sponsor
1975–80 Bukta None
1980–83 Osca
1983–85 LDDC
1985–86 Gimer London Docklands
1986–87 Spall
1987–89 Lewisham Council
1989–90 Millwall
1990–91 Lewisham Council
1991–92 Fairview Homes PLC
1992–93 Bukta Fairview
1993–94 Captain Morgan
1994–96 Asics
1996–97 South London Press
1997–99 L!VE TV
1999–01 Strikeforce Giorgio
2001–03 24 Seven
2003–04 Ryman
2004–05 Beko
2005–06 Lonsdale
2006–07 Oppida
2007–08 Bukta
2008–10 CYC Oppida
2010–11 Macron Matchbet
2011– Racing+ Sasco Sauces


Main articles: The Den (1993–present) and The Den (1910–1993).
A Junior Lions day at The Den in 1988.

Millwall began life on the Isle of Dogs and inhabited four different grounds in the club's first 25 years.[9] Their first home was a piece of waste ground called Glengall Road, where they only stayed for one year. From 1886 to 1890 they played behind The Lord Nelson pub on East Ferry Road, before being forced to leave by the landlady, who received a better offer for its use.[9]

They moved to their third home, The Athletic Ground, on 6 September 1890.[9] This was their first purpose-built ground, with a grandstand that seated 600 people and an overall capacity of between 10,000 and 15,000. The club was forced to move on again though, this time by the Millwall Dock Company who wanted to use it as a timber yard. They relocated in 1901 to a location near their second home, which became known as North Greenwich.[9] They remained an east London club for a further nine years, with the last game played on the Isle of Dogs on 8 October 1910 against Portsmouth, which Millwall won 3–1.[10]

On 22 October 1910, Millwall crossed the river to South London, moving to Cold Blow Lane in New Cross. The fifth ground was called The Den, built at a cost of £10,000 by noted football ground architect Archibald Leitch. The first game played there was against Brighton & Hove Albion, which the away team won 1–0.[10] Millwall remained there for 83 years, until moving to their sixth and current ground, at first known as The New Den but now called simply The Den, on 4 August 1993. The ground has an all-seated capacity of 20,146.[14] A Sporting Lisbon team, managed by Bobby Robson helped open the ground by playing a friendly, which The Lions lost 2–1.[3][71]

A panoramic view of The Den from the Dockers Stand.[74]

Traditional songs

A tradition at The Den is the playing of the official club song[75] "Let 'em Come", by Roy Green, as Millwall and the opposing team walk on to the pitch. It was specifically written for the club and the lyrics represent old London culture, such as eating jellied eels[76] and having a glass of beer before going to the game. The song ends with all home fans standing, arms raised singing the last line, "Let 'em all... come down.... to The Den!" A television drama about a Millwall supporter and ex-docker, starring David Jason, featured a lyric from the song in its title, Come Rain Come Shine. The song was played on repeat at Wembley Stadium after Millwall gained promotion to the Championship in 2010.[77] The song "Shoeshine Boy" by the Mills Blue Rhythm Band was played as the entrance song prior to "Let 'em Come".[78]

Other songs that have been regularly played at The Den over the years in the build-up to a game include "London Calling" by The Clash, "Town Called Malice" by The Jam and "House of Fun" by Madness, which features the lyric "welcome to the lion's den...". Status Quo's cover version of "Rockin' All Over the World" is played after most home wins.[79]

Supporters and hooliganism

Millwall have averaged a gate close to 12,000 per home game over their 84 seasons in the Football League, while the club have spent the majority of that time yo-yoing back and forth between the second and third tiers of English football.[81][82] Originally based in the East End of London, the club moved across the River Thames in 1910 to south east London and support is drawn from the surrounding areas.[83] The club and fans have a historic association with football hooliganism, which came to prevalence in the 1970s and 1980s with a firm known originally as F-Troop, eventually becoming more widely known as the Millwall Bushwackers, who were one of the most notorious hooligan gangs in England.[84] On five occasions The Den was closed by the Football Association and the club has received numerous fines for crowd disorder.[85] The BBC documentary Panorama was invited into the club by Millwall in 1977 to show the hooligan reputation was a myth and being blown out of proportion by reporting. Instead the BBC portrayed hooliganism as being deeply rooted in Millwall, and attempted to link them to the far-right political party National Front. The show was extremely damaging for the club.[29][83]

The stigma of violence attached to Millwall can be traced back over 100 years. Millwall played local rivals West Ham United away at Upton Park on 17 September 1906 in a Western League game. Both sets of supporters were primarily made up of dockers, who lived and worked in the same locality in east London. Many were rivals working for opposing firms and vying for the same business.[86] A local newspaper, East Ham Echo, reported that, "From the very first kick of the ball it was seen likely to be some trouble, but the storm burst when Dean and Jarvis came into collision (Millwall had two players sent off during the match). This aroused considerable excitement among the spectators. The crowds on the bank having caught the fever, free fights were plentiful."[87] In the 1920s Millwall's ground was closed for two weeks after a Newport County goalkeeper, who had been struck by missiles, jumped into the crowd to confront some of the home supporters and was knocked unconscious.[88] The ground was again closed for two weeks in 1934 following crowd disturbances after the visit of Bradford (Park Avenue). Pitch invasions resulted in another closure in 1947 and in 1950 the club was fined after a referee and linesman were ambushed outside the ground.[85]

In the 1960s, hooliganism in England became more widely reported. On 6 November 1965 Millwall beat west London club Brentford 2–1 away at Griffin Park and during the game a hand grenade was thrown on to the pitch from the Millwall end. Brentford's goalkeeper Chic Brodie picked it up, inspected it and threw it into his goal. It was later retrieved by police and determined to be a harmless dummy. There was fighting inside and outside the ground during the game between both sets of supporters, with one Millwall fan sustaining a broken jaw. The Sun newspaper ran the sensationalist grenade-related headline "Soccer Marches to War!"[89][90] Trouble was reported at Loftus Road on 26 March 1966 during a match between Queens Park Rangers and Millwall, at a time when both sides were near the top of the league table pushing for promotion to Division Two, but the south London derby was won 6–1 by QPR. In the second-half, a coin was thrown from the terraces, which struck Millwall player Len Julians on the head, drawing blood. The stadium announcer warned that the game would be abandoned if there were any more disturbances from the crowd, prompting some Millwall fans to invade the pitch in an unsuccessful attempt to get the game abandoned.[29] When Millwall's unbeaten home record of 59 games came to an end against Plymouth Argyle in 1967, the windows of the away team's coach were smashed. In the same year, a referee was attacked and the FA ordered the club to erect fences around The Den's terracing.[85]

On 11 March 1978 a riot broke out at The Den during an FA Cup quarter-final between Millwall and Ipswich Town, with the home team losing 6–1. Fighting began on the terraces and spilled on to the pitch; dozens of fans were injured, with some hooligans turning on their own team's supporters leaving some innocent fans bloodied. Bobby Robson, then manager of Ipswich, said of Millwall fans afterward, "They [the police] should have turned the flamethrowers on them".[29] In 1982 Millwall club chairman Alan Thorne threatened to close the club because of violence sparked by losing in the FA Cup to non-league side Slough Town.[85][88]

The 1985 Kenilworth Road riot, after an FA Cup sixth-round match between Luton Town and Millwall on 13 March 1985, became one of the worst and widely reported incidents of football hooliganism to date. On that night, approximately 20,000 people packed into a ground that usually only held half that number to watch Luton beat Millwall 1–0.[85] Numerous pitch invasions, fighting in the stands and missile-throwing occurred, of which one such object hit Luton's goalkeeper Les Sealey. It led to a ban on away supporters by Luton from their Kenilworth Road ground for four years. Luton were asked by Millwall to make the Wednesday night match all-ticket, but this was ignored.[88] As a result, rival hooligan firms gained access to the stadium. As well as the Millwall hooligans and those belonging to Luton's firm the MIGs, many of the 31 fans arrested after the violence were identified as being from Chelsea's Headhunters firm and West Ham United's Inter City Firm.[88] The FA commissioned an inquiry which concluded that it was "not satisfied that Millwall F.C. took all reasonable precautions in accordance with the requirements of FA Rule 31(A)(II)." A £7,500 fine was levied against Millwall, though this was later withdrawn on appeal.[91] The penalty that Millwall faced was perhaps that the club's name was now "synonymous with everything that was bad in football and society".[92]

In May 2002, hundreds of hooligans attaching themselves to Millwall were involved in disorder around the ground, after the team lost a play-off game to Birmingham City. It was described by the BBC as one of the worst cases of civil disorder seen in Britain in recent times. A police spokeswoman said that 47 police officers and 24 police horses were injured, and the Metropolitan Police considered suing the club after the events.[93] The then chairman Theo Paphitis responded that Millwall could not be blamed for the actions of a mindless minority who attach themselves to the club. "The problem of mob violence is not solely a Millwall problem, it is not a football problem, it is a problem which plagues the whole of our society", he said. Paphitis later introduced a membership scheme whereby only fans who would be prepared to join and carry membership cards would be allowed into The Den. Scotland Yard withdrew its threat to sue, stating: "In light of the efforts made and a donation to a charity helping injured police officers, the Metropolitan Police Service has decided not to pursue legal action against Millwall F.C. in relation to the disorder".[94] Some legal experts said it would have been difficult to hold a football club responsible for something that occurred away from its ground and involved people who did not attend the match. The scheme introduced by Paphitis now only applies to perceived high-risk away games. Many fans blame the scheme for diminishing Millwall's away support, such as at Leeds United where fans are issued with vouchers which are then exchanged for tickets at a designated point of West Yorkshire Police's choosing on the day of the game. Also, early kick-off times arranged by the police often result in only a few hundred fans making the trip.[95][96]

In January 2009, hundreds of Millwall fans perceived as "high risk" individuals gained access to an FA Cup fourth-round match away at Hull City. The game, won 2-0 by Hull, was overshadowed when seats, coins and plastic bottles were thrown by some away supporters. There were conflicting reports in the media as to whether missiles were initially thrown by Hull supporters following chanting and jeering by Millwall fans of Jimmy Bullard (an ex-West Ham player) just prior to the fixture.[97] On 25 August 2009, Millwall played away at West Ham United in the Football League Cup, losing 3–1 after extra time. One Millwall supporter was stabbed during clashes between the two sets of fans outside the ground. The game saw hundreds of West Ham fans invade the pitch on three occasions, forcing the game to be temporarily suspended once. The police later said the violence, because of its scale, was organised beforehand.[98][99] In the aftermath of the disorder, Millwall were handed three charges by the FA and later cleared of all of them; West Ham received four charges and were found guilty on two counts: violent, threatening, obscene and provocative behaviour, and entering the field of play. West Ham were fined £115,000, an amount seen as an insult by Millwall, which staunchly defended the actions of its own fans and the club's inability to do any more than it had for a match at a rival's ground.[100]

Former club chairman Reg Burr once commented: "Millwall are a convenient coat peg for football to hang its social ills on",[101] an example being the reporting of convicted murderer Gavin Grant. Although he had played for eight different clubs, playing his fewest number of games (four) for Millwall, and was signed to Bradford City at the time, the BBC used the headline, "Former Millwall striker Gavin Grant guilty of murder".[102]

After a game against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in September 2010, manager Kenny Jackett said Millwall's hooligan problems are to a certain extent exaggerated by media sensationalism. "I see it as unjust. We are an easy club to criticise and in my time [at the club], the way we have been reported is unfair", he said.[103] Other examples of this include archive footage of their hooligan element's past bad behaviour being shown, when disorder has occurred at other grounds, not involving them.[104] During a game between Millwall and Huddersfield Town, The Observer reported that a Huddersfield Town fan had thrown a coin at a linesman, and that some Millwall fans had intervened, and handed the culprit over to police. The News of the World, however, bore the headline: "Millwall Thugs Deck Linesman With Concrete". This has led to a siege mentality among supporters of the club, which gave rise to the Millwall fans' famous terrace chant, No one likes us, we don't care, being sung in defiant defence of themselves and their team.[105][106]


According to a survey conducted by the Football Fans Census, Millwall were listed eighth out of a list of ninety-two Football League clubs with the most rivals, with West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic and Gillingham considering them a major rival.[107]

Major rival

West Ham and Millwall players shake hands before kick-off.

Millwall's fiercest rival is West Ham United. It is one of the most passionately contested local derbies in football.[108] The two clubs have rarely met in recent years; the majority of their meetings happened before the First World War, with some sixty meetings in just fifteen years.[109] The clubs have played almost 100 times since the first contest in 1899. Millwall have won 38, drawn 27 and lost 33.[110] Despite violence between the two sets of supporters and calls for future games between the clubs to be played behind closed doors, they met again at The Den in the Football League Championship in 2011–12 with no outright ban on either set of fans,[111] and no repeat of crowd trouble.[112]

South London derbies

Millwall are closest in proximity to Charlton Athletic, with The Den and The Valley being less than four miles apart. Since their first game in 1921, Millwall have won 37, drawn 30 and lost 25.[113] The two clubs were in League One for the 2009–10 season which saw the first league meeting between them since 1995–96. The Southeast London derby at The Valley on 19 December 2009 finished in a 4–4 draw, which was the highest-scoring game ever between the sides.[114]

After being promoted to the Championship for the 2010–11 season, Millwall reignited their rivalry with South London club Crystal Palace. The teams met for the first time in four years at Selhurst Park on 16 October 2010, with The Lions winning 1–0.[115] They completed the double over Palace with a 3–0 at The Den on 1 January 2011. In almost 130 games between the two clubs since 1906, Millwall have won 50, drawn 34 and lost 44.[116]

Other rivalries

Millwall also share rivalries with Kent-based Gillingham and Leeds United.[107] The rivalry with Leeds came to prominence with the two teams battling for promotion in the 2008–09 Football League One season, with Millwall beating Leeds three times that year and knocking them out of the play-off semi-finals. The following season Leeds pipped Millwall to automatic promotion on the last day by one point, with The Lions eventually being promoted via the play-offs.[117]


Current squad

The Millwall team perform a huddle before their 125 year anniversary game.[118]
As of 21 November 2011.[119]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Republic of Ireland GK Forde, DavidDavid Forde
2 Republic of Ireland DF Dunne, AlanAlan Dunne (vice-captain)
3 England DF Craig, TonyTony Craig
4 England DF Darren Purse
5 England DF Robinson, PaulPaul Robinson (captain)
6 England MF Trotter, LiamLiam Trotter
7 England FW Henderson, DariusDarius Henderson
8 Algeria MF Bouazza, HamerHamer Bouazza
9 England FW Marquis, JohnJohn Marquis
10 Northern Ireland FW McQuoid, JoshJosh McQuoid
11 England FW Batt, ShaunShaun Batt
12 England MF Hackett, ChrisChris Hackett
13 England GK Ryan Allsop
14 England MF Henry, JamesJames Henry
15 England MF Feeney, LiamLiam Feeney
16 England DF Barron, ScottScott Barron
17 England MF Mkandawire, TamikaTamika Mkandawire
No. Position Player
18 England DF Ward, DarrenDarren Ward
19 Guadeloupe MF Racon, TherryTherry Racon
20 England FW Jay Simpson (on loan from Hull City)
21 England DF Smith, JackJack Smith
22 France MF N'Guessan, DanyDany N'Guessan
23 England GK Mildenhall, SteveSteve Mildenhall
24 England MF Brian Howard (on loan from Reading)
25 England MF Jake Gallagher
26 Comoros MF Abdou, NadjimNadjim Abdou
28 England DF Connor McLaren
29 England DF Stewart, JordanJordan Stewart
30 Republic of Ireland FW Aiden O'Brien
33 England FW Tobi Alabi
35 England MF Wright, JoshJosh Wright
England DF Nathan Baker (on loan from Aston Villa)

Reserve squad and youth academy

As of 16 August 2011.[120]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Luke Barlett
England GK Tom Wellham
England DF Danny Newman
England DF Mitchell Hunter
England DF Dammi Shitta
England DF Fred Onyedinma
England DF Jack Sammoutis
England MF Liam Kingsmill
No. Position Player
England MF Jake Goodman
Wales MF Rhys Paul
Republic of Ireland MF Niall McManus
England MF Will De Haviland
England MF Callum Thompson
England FW Charlie Penny
England FW Troy Copeland
England FW Max Fitzgerlad

Player of the year

As voted by Millwall Supporters Club members and season ticket holders.[121]
Year Winner
1971 England Barry Bridges
1972 England Bryan King
1973 England Alf Wood
1974 England Alf Wood
1975 England Phil Summerill
1976 England Barry Kitchener
1977 England Terry Brisley
1978 England Phil Walker
1979 England Barry Kitchener
1980 England John Lyons
1981 England Paul Roberts
1982 England Dean Horrix
Year Winner
1983 England Dean Neal
1984 England Anton Otulakowski
1985 England Paul Sansome
1986 England Alan McLeary
1987 England Brian Horne
1988 England Danis Salman
1989 England Terry Hurlock
1990 England Ian Dawes
1991 England Teddy Sheringham
1992 Northern Ireland Aidan Davison
1993 United States Kasey Keller
1994 England Keith Stevens
Year Winner
1995 England Andy Roberts
1996 Wales Ben Thatcher
1997 Australia Lucas Neill
1998 England Paul Shaw
1999 England Neil Harris
2000 England Stuart Nethercott
2001 England Matt Lawrence
2002 England Steve Claridge
2003 Trinidad and Tobago Tony Warner
2004 England Darren Ward
2005 England Darren Ward
2006 England David Livermore
Year Winner
2007 England Richard Shaw
2008 England Paul Robinson
2009 England Andrew Frampton
2010 Republic of Ireland Alan Dunne
2011 England Tamika Mkandawire

Notable former players

The following is a list of notable footballers who have played for Millwall, including players who have been honoured in Millwall's Hall of Fame and have significantly contributed to the club's history[3][122] be it through being founder member players, having been given a testimonial for 10 years of service at the club, making over 100 appearances, scoring over 50 goals or having received recognition by their country in the form of international caps while playing for the club.[123][124][125]

Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad & Tobago
United States of America

Personnel honours

English Football Hall of Fame

Millwall players inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame:[126]

See Millwall Lionesses for two female inductees.

PFA Fans' Player of the Year

Players included in the PFA Fans' Player of the Year whilst playing for Millwall:

PFA Team of the Year

Players included in the PFA Team of the Year whilst playing for Millwall:


There have been thirty permanent and ten caretaker managers since the appointment of the club's first professional manager, Bert Lipsham on 4 May 1911.[128] From 1890 to 1910, Millwall directors Kidd, Stopher and Saunders were honourary managers, also working under the title of club secretary.[129] Bob Hunter is Millwall's longest serving manager, having stayed at the helm for fifteen years. Prior to becoming manager, he was the club's trainer for twenty-one years. He died in office in 1933, having served at the club for a total of thirty-six years.[130] Steve Claridge holds the shortest tenure at the club, having been in charge for a period of thirty-six days without ever taking charge of a first-team game.[52] Every Millwall manager has come from within the British Isles.[128] Current manager Kenny Jackett is the longest serving manager in the Football League Championship and eleventh longest serving manager in English League football.[131]

Years Manager
1890–1899 England Fred Kidd(s)
1899–1900 England Edward Stopher(s)
1900–1910 England George Saunders(s)
1911–1918 England Bert Lipsham
1918–1933 Scotland Bob Hunter
1933–1936 Northern Ireland Bill McCracken
1936–1940 England Charlie Hewitt
1940–1944 England William Voisey
1944–1948 England Jack Cock
1948–1956 England Charlie Hewitt
1956–1958 England Ron Gray
1958–1959 England Jimmy Seed
1959–1961 England Reg 'J.R.' Smith
1961–1963 England Ron Gray
1963–1966 England Billy Gray
Years Manager
1966–1974 England Benny Fenton
1974–1977 England Gordon Jago
1977 Republic of Ireland Theo Foley(c)
1978–1980 England George Petchey
1980 England Terry Long(c)
1980–1982 England Peter Anderson
1982 England Barry Kitchener(c)
1982–1986 Scotland George Graham
1986–1990 Scotland John Docherty
1990 England Bob Pearson(c)
1990–1992 Scotland Bruce Rioch
1992–1996 Republic of Ireland Mick McCarthy
1996–1997 Northern Ireland Jimmy Nicholl
1997 Scotland John Docherty
1997–1998 England Billy Bonds
Years Manager
1998–1999 England Keith Stevens
1999–2000 England Keith Stevens & Alan McLeary
2000 England Steve Gritt(c)
2000 England Ray Harford(c)
2000–2003 Scotland Mark McGhee
2003–2005 England Dennis Wise
2005 England Steve Claridge
2005–2006 England Colin Lee
2006 England Dave Tuttle
2006 England Tony Burns & Alan McLeary(c)
2006 England Nigel Spackman
2006–2007 Scotland Willie Donachie
2007 England Richard Shaw & Colin West(c)
2007– Wales Kenny Jackett

(s) = secretary (c) = caretaker

Club officials

Millwall's American chairman John Berylson.[58][132]
As of 1 March 2011.[133][134]


  • Chairman: John Berylson
  • Chief executive: Andy Ambler
  • Director: James T. Berylson, Constantine Gonticas, Trevor Keyse, Demos Kowaris, Richard S. Press and Peter Garson
  • General manager: Rick Bradbrook

Coaching staff

  • Assistant manager: Joe Gallen

Records and statistics

Barry Kitchener holds the record for Millwall league appearances, having played 523 matches between 1966 and 1982.[23] If all senior competitions are included, Kitchener has 602.[3][23] The goalscoring record is held by Neil Harris, with 125 league goals (138 in all competitions).[135][136] He broke the previous record of 111 goals, held by Teddy Sheringham on 13 January 2009, during a 3–2 away win at Crewe Alexandra.[137]

The club's widest victory margin in the league is 9–1,[138] a scoreline which they achieved twice in their Football League Third Division South championship-winning year of 1927.[139] They beat both Torquay United and Coventry City by this score at The Den. Millwall's heaviest league defeat was 8–1 away to Plymouth Argyle in 1932.[138] The club's heaviest loss in all competitions was a 9–1 defeat at Aston Villa in an FA Cup fourth-round second-leg in 1946.[138] Millwall's largest Cup win was 7–0 over Gateshead in 1936.[138] Their highest scoring aggregate game was a 12-goal thriller at home to Preston North End in 1930 when Millwall lost 7–5.[138]


Based on all results during the club's 84 seasons in the Football League from 1920–21 to 2010–11, Millwall are ranked as the fortieth most successful club in English football.[140] The following table details the club's major achievements:[141]

Competition Achievement Year Trivia
Football League One Play-off winners 2010 First ever promotion via the play-offs in sixth attempt.[142]
Football League One Play-off finalists 2009
FA Cup Finalists 2004 Qualified for the UEFA Cup.[49]
Football League Second Division Champions 2001 Finished with 93 points, a club record.[143]
Football League Trophy Finalists 1999 First official appearance at Wembley in a recognised competition.[3]
Football League Second Division Champions 1988 Promoted to the top flight for the first time in the club's history.[32]
Football League Group Cup Champions 1983
FA Youth Cup Champions 1979, 1991
Football League Division Three Promoted 1976 Automatically promoted after finishing third.[144]
Football League Division Three Runners-up 1966, 1985 Unbeaten at home for the second successive season in 1965–66.[21]
Football League Fourth Division Runners-up 1965 Finished one point behind the champions.[145]
Football League Fourth Division Champions 1962
Football League War Cup Finalists 1945 South final runners-up.[146]
Football League Third Division South Champions 1928, 1938
Western Football League Champions 1908, 1909
London League Champions 1904 Unbeaten with 11 wins and 1 draw.[147]
Southern Football League Champions 1895, 1896
United League Champions 1897, 1899
East London Senior Cup Winners 1887, 1888, 1889
East London FA Cup Joint-winners 1886

In popular culture

Millwall have been depicted in films several times, specifically highlighting the club's hooliganism firm the Bushwackers and the rivalry with West Ham United.[84] Often glorifying football violence in the beginning, each film typically ends in loss of life, showing the futility of hooliganism.[148]

  • The Firm (1989) – Real life Millwall supporter Gary Oldman plays Bex, leader of football firm the Inter City Crew, a fictional representation of West Ham's Inter City Firm and their violent exploits. Millwall's Bushwackers firm are called The Buccaneers in the film.[149]
  • Arrivederci Millwall (1990) – A group of Millwall supporters travel to the 1982 World Cup in Spain, just after the Falklands War breaks out, intent on avenging a personal loss.[150]
  • Green Street (2005) – Elijah Wood plays an American student who gets involved with West Ham's firm. The film builds up to a big clash with Millwall's firm at the climax, after the two teams are drawn against each other in the Cup, echoing similarities to the 2009 Upton Park riot.[152]
  • Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) – The rise of a football hooligan is chronicled from his beginnings on the terraces to becoming a member of a notorious gang of criminals. The rivalry between West Ham and Millwall is portrayed during the opening scenes of the film.[153]
  • Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground (2009) – Sequel to Green Street where several members of the West Ham firm and Millwall fans end up in jail.[154]
  • The Firm (2009) – A remake by Football Factory director and Millwall fan Nick Love of the original 1989 film.[155]

The club's ground The Den doubled as The Dragons Lair, home ground of fictional team Harchester United in the television series Dream Team. It also appeared in episodes of the shows The Bill and Primeval.[156]

Notable supporters

Famous fans of Millwall include:

See also


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