Let’s all be honest with each other, we’ve all heard different stories about Millwall – both good and bad but mainly bad. They are the club that are very well known both in England and abroad and are often known as one of the rougher clubs in England, especially with films such as Green Street and Football Factory showcasing this. It isn’t just these films in recent history that have gone a long way in maintaining this reputation but high profile events in real life. In 2009 the Football League Cup (Capital One Cup) brought the two sides together in the 2nd Round at Upton Park which was set to be the high-profile tie of the round and it certainly was that. West Ham won 3-1 but it was the trouble involving a number of fans before, during and after the game is what is remembered today. 1 Millwall fan was stabbed as well as 20 further fans injured. Millwall embrace what they are known as with the chant at the Den “We are Millwall, we are Millwall, no-one likes us, we don’t care”. I can promise those people with these opinions, it really isn’t as bad as it seems. Its all media hype as is most of the trouble that happens at football.
This was my 3rd and final game of the day on Easter Monday. What a day it had already been but I must admit I was bloody knackered before this game and was even considering missing it as I knew it was an expensive one & knew I’d be struggling to get to the ground in time with the M25 having its usual problems so I had to rely on driving straight through London which is never a good idea. I managed to reach The Den at about 19:25 and had to find a parking space – thank god it was a Bank Holiday so I just parked on the main road outside the ground. If it was a Saturday I would have really struggled. So this was just enough time to grab a burger and fries to take into the ground and soak up the rest of the pre-match atmosphere. I had to go and get my ticket also which was another worry for me – I knew that my ticket for the game would be £26 – which is £11 more than what I pay for a home game at Stamford Bridge. Ridiculous. The only reason as to why I swallowed my pride and bought a ticket at this price was to get the 3 games in 1 day completed. I wouldn’t have done otherwise, I would have saved The Den until a JPT game next season! Nevertheless I was excited for the game but wasn’t expecting to be up celebrating much against Albion who were top of the league. How wrong I would be!
I took my seat in the Cold Blow Lane Stand and I must say, it was a fantastic view & The Den is actually a beautiful stadium. It is a typical stadium which was built in the late 20th century with the removal of all standing to replace with all-seater stadiums. It has 4 distinct separate stands with no fancy aspects of it – simple yet brilliant. The official
capacity is 20,146 but with the team being one of those Championship-League One Yo-Yo clubs their average attendance hasn’t risen above 12/13,000 since their 2001/02 campaign.
The game kicked off and to my surprise started extremely well. My experience of League One up until now have been very poor but this was to prove the complete opposite. Burton Albion started well and immediately tested the waters with a couple of dangerous chances but it was Millwall who took the lead after 12 minutes. A powerful counter attack led to Aidan O’Brien smashing the ball into the roof of the net in front of those travelling Albion fans. 6 minutes later and it was 2-0, a similar situation with some poor defending allowed Lee Gregory to pick up the long ball played forward, he then poked it under the on-rushing goalkeeper to make it 2-0 to the home side and deservedly so. The remainder of the first half brought about limited chances and it really looked positive for Millwall who were still fighting to make it into the League One Play-Offs this season with the opportunity of making it back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
The second half was a fairly similar story to the end of the first – very few open chances which could have offered Burton an opportunity to get back into the game. Tyler Walker did have a goal ruled out for offside as Burton’s bid to battle their way back into the game was to no avail. The final whistle came to the delight of the fans and players of Millwall who consolidated their place in the top 6 of the Championship table before the final stretch of the season.
A really good 3 points for the home side but a really disappointing Easter period for Burton who have played twice, only taken 1 point and scored 0 goals in the meantime who sit just 1 point ahead of Wigan Athletic in 2nd place now with Athletic in really good form. All in all for me, another enjoyable game and my final of a really busy day. I must admit, walking to my friends flat in Wembley I finally realised just how tired I was – 3 games really hit me hard! I might stick to 2 in the future! Good luck to both Burton & Millwall in their promotion campaigns – I look forward to also making a visit to the Pirelli Stadium next season!
What Were The Statistics?
Millwall 2-0 Burton Albion
Attendance – 8,012
Price of ticket – £26
Programme – £3.00
Car Parking – Free
Miles Travelled – 60 (Starting in Aldershot, The Den, then to Wembley)
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