I have been dwelling on tomorrow's first meeting with Millwall for almost 14 years since last Saturday when the final whistle went at Edgeley Park (I had been trying not to think about it before). We spent almost my entire youth living next door to Millwall season ticket holders and I had many other school mates (and later drinking buddies) who were staunch followers of the Lions, one of whom is the editor of The Lion Roars
To me and my family you can keep your Palarse, this is the real south London derby and Dave at Drinking During the Game
recapitulated my memories entirely in his post
earlier in the week. I wasn't at the snowbound Kim Grant game on December 5th, 1995 even though I had a ticket because my flight was delayed by bad weather in landing at Heathrow that day but I got home to listen to the majority of the game on the radio.
I suppose my spirits were exorcised by the Lee Bowyer led victory at home later that season but to me the name of Millwall still provokes nasty memories of Terry Hurlock, Alex Rae, Barry Kitchener, Kevin Muscat and Pat Van den Hauwe, of always suffering the ignominy of defeat whether it be in the school playground, in the back garden or at Catford Bridge station on a Monday morning. Recollections of standing behind a floodlight pylon or after the 2-2 draw trying to find my parked car with my brother whilst being hunted down by neanderthals and being thoroughly depressed.
Nonetheless tomorrow's game has began in good spirits and credit has to be given to both them and us in dropping the shirt sponsors from tomorrow's shirts and dedicating the game to the memories of fan's Rob Knox and Jimmy Mizen. Both clubs will wear shirts with Street Violence Ruins Lives
on the front.
Dave is right and the world and the game has moved on, although I am not sure our friends from SE16 have, at least their supporters have always liked their attachment to the club's reputation. I don't expect to sleep well tonight, a life-threatening bout of man flu and a 7-week old baby will add to my overcrowded head full of Millwall memories. I hope to sleep a lot better Saturday night.