FOTB Report June 2011
Not long now till football returns, personally I canít wait, I love seeing the first friendly results shown in the sport section of the papers, then you know there is not long to go. After a brilliant first season that definitely exceeded my expectations, I wonder where Kenny and his team will take us this year.
Fans perception is that nothing is happening during the closed season and that we will miss out unless we make signings soon especially strikers, Kenny has been working tirelessly to sign the right players, he has nearly got there on a couple of players, in football the deal is never completely done until the player actually pulls on the shirt, no matter what verbal guarantees him or his agent may give you, Kenny wants a certain type of player, he obviously knows what he wants in regards footballing skill but he also want players that commit wholeheartedly to Millwall, if they wonít they are not the right players for us.
What we need to remember is a lot of clubs wonít make the decision as to who is staying and who is going until after all their players return to pre- season, they will then select their squads, at that time a lot more players will become available, so Kenny needs to keep his nerve, if none of his current targets are landed he will need to wait for the right player, at the right price and at the right time.
We also have had a few departures the main 2 being Steve Morison and Neil Harris, Neil has been a loyal servant to the club for many years, no one would begrudge him a move, he has got a 3 year contract and that obviously was a key factor in his decision, I know we all wish Neil all the best at Southend, I know he is the kind of bloke who likes to play football and doesnít like being stuck on the bench, another reason why I think the move was the best thing for Neil.
Steve Morison made the step up from non league with ease, the board had discussed the Steve Morison situation at the end of the season and it was agreed that we would only let him go at the receipt of an offer over a certain amount, we received 2 offers under our valuation which were duly rejected, this stance by the board was very refreshing, in the past players have been sold for well below their market value with Millwall Football Club being the loser. As Steve Morison had signed an improved contract only 3 months earlier we thought the commitment the club had shown would pay dividends and Steve would stay, but alas he decided to move to Norwich, I was personally amazed that Norwich never made a decent offer in the first place considering the payment they received for being promoted, obviously they never rated him enough at the time to pay a decent price. The question everyone will be asking themselves is can Steve Morison make an impact in the premier league, if he plays like he did when he had settled in I think he may, if he plays like he did for us in the last 4-5 months I think he will struggle, only time will tell.
Kenny Jackett and Andy Ambler were very frustrated when trying to sign Ryan Taylor from Rotherham, the club did everything right and once again the club got a verbal agreement, the contract had been drawn up a medical arranged, only for the rug to be pulled out from under our feet even though we had acted in good faith.
It will be a big season for us as a club and there are many games that can be deemed as contentious West Ham being the main one, I am pretty sure that the game will be moved, probably to the Sunday on the instruction of the police, there will be a big police operation to ensure there is no repeat of the scenes at Upton Park in the cup game, we can all do our bit on the day by ensuring we give our support to the club in an passionate way, once again turning the Den into a cauldron of noise and passion the same way as we did against Huddersfield in the semi, the noise and passion made the Huddersfield players melt and urged our players on to a great win.
The media and authorities will be looking for the slightest indiscretion to get on our case, letís not give them the ammunition they need, letís get behind the team the way we all know how.
One thing that goes on behind the scenes every season, year in year out is the re-turfing of the pitch, when I started the FOTB role 5 years ago there was not even a budget set aside for this, the money had to be found when a problem to do with the pitch or training ground was deemed as an emergency, Trevor Keyes has taken a keen interest in the Den pitch and the training ground, now there is a lot of forward planning done and nothing is left to chance, the pitch and in particular the training ground are where the players go to work as such and therefore they need to be in tip top condition at all times, the improvements made are amazing and the man leading the whole project each year is Trevor Keyse, Trevor doesnít like the limelight but I thought it only fair he gets the credit he deserves (obviously along with all the ground staff involved) here is a brief overview of what went on this closed season:
During the close season the pitch has been renovated and re seeded to give a new pitch in time for Alan Dunne's Testimonial game on 30th July.
The close season also gives the opportunity of carrying out general maintenance, repairs, and ongoing improvements to all areas.
There are 4 pitches at the training ground, plus various training grids. All have been renovated and re seeded. Training Grids have been extended together with a new training sandpit in the goalkeeper training area.
Also purchased for the training ground - complete new irrigation system - above surface "Javelin" Water Jet system - 5No.
purchased - which has totally revolutionised the irrigation system including saving time and manpower.
Further improvements at the Training Ground during the close season is an extension to the existing gym area, incorporating a new dining room area.
New equipment has been purchased for the gym.
Extensive painting and decorating and general maintenance has taken place, together with replacement of office furniture and furnishings.
Our Head Groundsman will be taking delivery of new replacement heavy machinery which is vital for the general upkeep/maintenance and improvements to all pitches and surrounding areas both at the Den and Training Ground during the coming season and seasons to follow.
The cost of the works above is in the region of £250k, the works are essential especially if we want to be able to compete with the bigger clubs, new players also need to know that the working environment at Millwall is second to none, this can have an impact when they make their decision if they are signing or not, so the work carried out at the training ground although very rarely mentioned is a key part of our success.
Finally we have Alan Dunnes testimonial coming up on July 30th at the Den against Charlton, this is the last event in Dunneyís testimonial season and it will give us all a chance to thank Dunney for what he has done for the club over the years.
As always any questions drop me a line email@example.com or write to me via the club.