Despite Ian Holloway’s record in the Championship, Millwall struggled throughout the 2014-15 campaign, two wins and two clean sheets from their opening two games about the best it got. Club legend Neil Harris couldn’t stem the misery and Millwall were relegated back to League One. But Harris will have the respect of his players and all the passion in the world when it comes to trying to get Millwall back up this season.
Last Season: Championship (22nd)
Manager: Neil Harris
GKs: David Forde, Jordan Archer
DFs: Shaun Cummings, Mark Beevers, Byron Webster, Sid Nelson, Keaton Wood, Tony Craig, Joe Martin, Mahlon Romeo
MFs: Shaun Williams, Lee Martin, Paris Cowan-Hall, Ed Upson, Fred Onyedinma, Jack Powell, Nadjim Abdou, Ben Thompson
FWs: Lee Gregory, Aiden O’Brien, John Marquis, Alfie Pavey
In: Jordan Archer (Tottenham Hotspur), Joe Martin (Gillingham), Mahlon Romeo (Gillingham), Tony Craig (Brentford)
Out: Nicky Bailey (Released), Matthew Briggs (Colchester United), Richard Chaplow (Doncaster Rovers), Alan Dunne (Leyton Orient), Carlos Edwards (Released), Sofiane El-Bekri (Released), Ricardo Fuller (Released), Denzel Gerrar (Histon), Jake Goodman (Released), Magaye Gueye (Released), Justin Hoyte (Released), Stefan Maierhofer (Released), Angel Martinez (Released), Danny Shittu (Released), Josh Siafa (Released), Martyn Woolford (Sheffield United), Tom King (Welling United – Loan)
First Six: Shrewsbury Town (A), Coventry (H), Barnsley (H), Scunthorpe United (A), Chesterfield (H), Port Vale (A)
Likely Lineup: (4-5-1) Forde – Cummings, Beevers, Craig, Martin – Martin, Abdou, Williams, Upson, Cowan-Hall – Gregory
A word from…Alan Dunne
On his time at Millwall It does feel quite odd to be honest. In total, I’d been at Millwall for 23 years so it’s bound to feel strange not driving to the training ground and seeing the boys there. It’s a new experience for me at Orient and a new routine to get used to but it was always going to feel strange not being at Millwall
Loads of memories, more good than bad if I’m honest. I’ve actually written a book to fit them all in called “Dunne It The Hard Way” which will be out shortly. But great memories like winning the play-off final against Swindon at Wembley, that was a high point. The FA Cup final experience and the run to get there, playing at the Millennium stadium and places like Old Trafford was special.
Making my début as a 19 year old, being made club captain and being the club’s player of the year all meant a lot. I think, though, that having my testimonial, at The Den, and coming out onto the pitch with my kids was very special. That was wonderful. As you say, not many players are at a club long enough to have a testimonial these days so it was a proud occasion. Yes, there were lows. Being relegated from The Championship was a low point definitely but I left with many more good than bad memories.
On Neil Harris Obviously, I know Neil very well and he’s a friend of mine so I really hope he does well. Whether he does remains to be seen. He’s not been a manager for that long so he’s got a full season to show what he can do with the players. I think Millwall should be aiming for the top six and Neil has the personal qualities to help get them there. But League 1 is a tough league and it’s possible it may take longer.
On whether the club can bounce back Yes they can. I also know Tony [Craig] and he’s a really good signing. I think we’ve also added a new left back and one or two others. Looking at the squad, I still think they need another striker; someone to partner Lee Gregory.
They’ve got a lot of young players coming through and, hopefully, they can show what they can do. Home form will be key. They need to make the Den a fortress again, especially with so many long trips north (something I won’t miss!). But players are looked after so well, the travelling shouldn’t be an issue or affect their form too much.
On needing to gel in pre-season I’ve seen it all. Relatively quiet pre-seasons with just a handful of comings and goings, right through to 10-12 new faces and loads of trialists. As an established player you do find yourself thinking has that bloke come in to try and take my place! It can have an effect on stability and working on a style of play, when you’re trying to prepare for a new season, especially with a big turnover of players.
On his new club Yeah, it’s going really good. Ian [Hendon] and Andy [Hessenthaler] are proper old school, which I really like. They don’t give anyone any B.S and their good to work with. Everyone at Orient has made me very welcome and I’m looking forward to the challenge. The facilities are really good, the sort that are more like a Championship club. But, for now, with pre-season done I’m focused on getting off to a good start against Barnet.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Millwall have got a lot of players off the wage bill without bringing many in. But the spine of the squad is still there from last season and with one or two more additions before September 1st, Millwall could easily be challenging at the top come May.
Key Player: Nadjim Abdou – Throughout the good and the bad, there has always been one constant in Millwall’s eleven, Nadjim Abdou. The midfielder is still at the club despite relegation and will once again be a presence in the middle of the park and will go well past 250 club appearances this season.
One to Watch: Paris Cowan-Hall – The 24-year-old was brought in during January but didn’t get a real chance to make an impact. A pacey winger, the former Wycombe man may get more of a chance to show what he can do this season.