Wembley in context

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For some, Saturday 13th April was a very dark day in Millwall's history. For others it was nothing more than a few handbags and should be forgotten about. No-one likes us anyway, fuck 'em.

It's all well and good saying it was nothing, press over reacting (which they obviously did), blaming the FA, police etc (which is reasonable) but I think you have to look at it in the [B]context[/B] of how it happened.

This wasn't a Tuesday night away to Burnley when this sort of thing would have passed off without a mention. It was a major showpiece event, broadcast to millions around the world. If one bottle had been thrown on the pitch the press would have been hysterical, let alone half hour video footage of blokes fighting amongst themselves and then with police. It was manna from Heaven for our weasle faced tabloid friends.

From the clubs point of view, this was a day for Millwall FC to be seen in a positive light. After all the allegations made earlier in the season (most of which were fabricated and undeserved) it was a chance for the club to show that all the stereo types weren't right. That we aren't the racist thugs of lore. Instead the club once again found itself doing live interviews on Sky and the BBC trying to defend itself the next day. There must be a tipping point where Berylson and the other investors think "Fuck it, I've had enough of defending the club, let them get on with it" and walk away. It's not the events themselves that are the issue (in isolation this wasn't much) it's the pressure they create for everyone involved in the management of Millwall FC.

There was much hand wringing on Saturday evening and Sunday, with some stupid comments made from both sides of the debating fence. I myself had a rather over emotive rant straight after the game which I now regret. However, the opinions of those who were frustrated, upset and angry, who were fed up with the fighting, those who don't buy in to the NOLU attitude should not be just dissmissed as whining. Their opinions are probably a lot closer to those held by those who control the purse strings of the club, to those who work on a day to day basis at the club and those who play for the club.

We all want Millwall to be successful and yet many also want to retain that edge that makes us different. Unfortunately I don't think the two go hand in hand in the modern game. If we want to cement our place in the top 40 clubs in this country (as I think that is where football is heading, the rest will be semi-pro) we are going to have to play the game at some point. I'm not saying we become a club where everyone sits there in face paint and fake lions claws, doing choreographed dancing to the music from the Lion King when we score, but we do have to shed the 'we can do want we want, fuck anyone who says different' attitude. If we are not willing to do that then I think you have to accept our place with the Brentfords and Leyton Orients of this world, a small London club knocking around in the third division. Money dictates success in the modern game. And for that you need investors. And investors won't touch a club that is forever attracting bad press (even if it is undeserved).

We all support Millwall for different reasons. Some are born into it, some because it is their local club, some because they got 'the bug' after coming with friends, and some because of our reputation. Biggest small club in the world. It's something to be proud of isn't it? But if we want to be anymore than that then I think you have to recognised that events like Saturday [B]are[/B] holding the club back. It may be nothing to us, but to the wider footballing world, and more importantly those who run the club, it was a big thing. It's all about the [B]context[/B] of the event. Punch someone in the pub on Friday night and no-one bats an eyelid. Punch your boss in work on Monday morning and it is different matter altogether. "But it was only one punch" you may argue, but the ramifications are vastly different. Let's hope we haven't collectively just punched John Berylson in the face.
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