Fans Forum - August 2013
Minutes of the Fans Forum held at the New Den at 7.00 pm on 1 August 2013
Panel - Steve Lomas, Neil Harris, Bob Asprey (first half):
Bob welcomed everyone and introduced the new and old faces of Steve and Neil.
Q - How old is Steve?
A - 40 in January. Older than Neil.
Q – Welcome to Millwall, really looking forward to the season, interested in type of system you’re thinking of using, what with Morison, McDonald and Keogh. Playing it on the floor? Last season’s football wasn’t great to watch.
A - When at St Johnstone, I changed from 4 4 2 to 4 3 3 to suit the players I had. At Millwall I needed to get competition up front, so needed strikers. Last season we were 2nd lowest scorers in the division. I need to revitalise Keogh, and we also had Dany and Jermaine. Also we needed wide players, so brought in Lee Martin for competition with Feeney and Henry. We also needed attacking options in midfield. So we brought in Chaplow, followed by Nicky Bailey. At the moment, 4411 probably suits us and we will probably start with that. Away from home we may play a more counterattacking game. So there won’t be a set structure, but 4411 to start. We shouldn’t get over concerned with formations, we need to be adaptable, and work with the players to gain familiarity. I reckon the start of season will be high tempo; we’ll need players to keep cool heads.
Q – Is it possible to teach players to keep a cool head?
A - Yes, you can try to teach them how to play under pressure, and how to keep out of trouble.
Q - Last season we were kicking it away and it was coming straight back.
A - It annoys me, that a ‘passing game’ can mean loads of passes, one 40 yard pass is good play if it’s a quality delivery. Neil will say that strikers like an early ball. I see a lot of teams wanting lots of touches. You should want your better players on the ball as much as possible. You don’t necessarily want your centre backs passing it around.
Q - What’s the latest on the new signings?
A - Sadly, Lee Martin tweaked a knee ligament at Crawley so missed a couple of weeks. Bailey was also a little behind in training compared to McDonald, who had been training at Middlesbrough. However, nowadays players look after themselves better in close season, so the first couple of weeks of training is a breaking in period these days. In my time the first two weeks were just running.
Q – I always thought Nicky Bailey would be good for Millwall, mix it up and score a few goals. He can also tackle. Although Liam Trotter could do this.
A - I don’t know why Bailey ended up playing full back at Middleborough, but I think he offers good versatility, and can play on the left. I’m conscious we need to get more players scoring goals around the team.
Q – Might Bailey or McDonald play on Saturday?
A - Possibly, maybe from the bench.
Q - I noticed on Saturday that when we defended a corner everybody came back. Is this wise? We conceded two goals from corners at the near post at the end of last season.
A - To defend a corner, you need to defend. There’s no point worrying about a counterattack if a team scores against you. Even if you take everybody back, the other team will still keep two back, so it’s not a problem. It might change, but it’s about not conceding from set plays. It’s an unopposed opportunity to put the ball in the box. We’re looking to concede less goals from corners and to score more.
Q - Neil, I went to Dulwich on Tuesday, how many of those do you think can make the first team?
A - Only time will tell. Players have come through the academy. The game has changed, 18-19 year olds rarely get the chance to play in the first team these days. Academy football is totally different to first team. We have a group of players that haven’t been tested in men’s football, so the chances of them coming through in the short term is slim. Dulwich played a full first team, so that’s a compliment to our boys. The aim is to improve them individually and as a group and test them at a level above where they’re at.
Q - What more can be done to attract quality youngsters to the club?
A - It is getting difficult because the scouts can come and poach your players, and recently the club has had to take some money as the player wants to leave. This system is unfair and difficult. Until we start getting players through to the first team, others will say that there’s no path through. We’ve signed Fred, which is a good thing, but the path to the fist team is not clear. For example, John Marquis needs to play regular men’s football. When you play better football, you improve. Academy football is not competitive, it’s all about passing, so players don’t get used to a first team style of football. I think the old way, with a proper reserve team, was better. I played reserve football for Man City when I was 16, and for youngsters, that’s how you improve.
Q - Who changed the system?
A - The FA. But now, people think they can reinvent the wheel, but society now is very different. Children have access to other sports and leisure activities, and less real incentive to go out and play, so it’s getting harder.
Q – The majority of youngsters that have been poached from Millwall haven’t made it, so is a move to a big club the right thing to do?
A - It was hard enough when I was trying to come through but now it’s virtually impossible. My old club (Man City) was renowned for its youth policy but now they’re just buying in. I wouldn’t let my son go there, but those clubs are offering parents so much, it’s a very tough dilemma. But you’re right, most of these players are not getting an opportunity.
Q - Are you happy with squad or is there room for improvement?
A - There’s always room for improvement. Maybe we need another winger. I’ve been very lucky so far. Andy in the room, he’s just keeled over! I’ve had to work with a very hard budget but the chairman and the board are very good, very down to earth. The chairman said, make recommendations and we’ll see what we can do. He has been true to his word and hasn’t said no yet.
Q - Last season we went on 13 game unbeaten run and then got rid of two strikers. Rest of season was a disaster.
It’s a fair point. You’re only as good as your strikers. They’re the first line of defence, they need to be able to hold it up, and to get into the box and score. That’s why you can’t have too many strikers and wingers. Compare Man U, if they lost Van Persie and Rooney, they’d be a very different team. If there’s a place you want to be overloaded, it’s the strikers.
Bob - We can’t blame Steve for last season!
Q - All I want is a team that plays with heart
A - That’s right. Always. However, in defence of some players, a lack of confidence can look like a lack of effort. The good thing for us is we have the responsibility of knowing that if players try, the crowd will be with them. We will lose this season, but it’s the manner in which you lose that is important. It we’re having a go, giving 100% and creating chances, the fans will forgive a multitude of sins.
Q – What are the roles and responsibilities of the backroom team?
A - Neil, the development squad and first team.
Me, the buck stops here.
Big Mick, assistant manager, ‘bouncer’, who has a wealth of knowledge.
Kevin, goalkeeping coach.
Tim Breaker, first team coach.
We multitask, we all watch other players and teams. We set high standards. We do not accept average quality. Every day we need to prove we’re doing the best job possible.
We have experience and passion amongst the backroom, we want to work hard, do the best job for club, and help the players to do the best they can. Our players are a decent group and want to work hard.
Q - Fitness of players, noticed a lot of rotation. Are they up to 90 minutes football?
A - We’ve had players come in at various stages. Most have now had 450-500 minutes of game play. Stevie has trained all through and played games. Keogh played in the summer so needed less training. Things don’t always go to plan, there have been injuries. By and large we are where we want to be.
Q - I read the Sun. I’m ginger with tattoos, can I come in? We have a reputation, we’re not best liked, are you expecting to be working with FA? You spent a lot of time in the stand last season.
A - I have a responsibility to look at myself. I think my ban was ridiculous. Suarez only got 8 games for racist abuse. I hate cheats, that’s why I wasn’t happy last Saturday with their players throwing themselves around. My first ban was caused by an opposition player cheating. The second ban was also terrible. A player who had been off injured was allowed to return to the pitch but not in a neutral zone. He got the ball and it almost led to a goal by Hooper. I said to the linesman, ‘that can’t be right, it’s not in the laws of the game’. He said ‘who do you think you are?’ and I replied ‘you bald c***’. I apologised afterwards, but got a 6 game ban plus 2 for the first offence.
Q - Watch the refs down here, they are determined not to be intimidated.
A - That’s why Mick’s here. If he tells me to get in the dugout, then I will!
Q – What do you think of the loans system?
A - You had some good loans, including Chris Wood, who you couldn’t tie down, and Harry Kane. When he went to Norwich, there were too many loans. Too many loans can undermine the permanent squad. But I think the loan system, if used right, can be beneficial, especially for covering injuries.
Q - How do you think John Marquis felt when Harry Kane came in?
A - That was his challenge. John’s main problem has been his injuries. He now needs to play regular football to help his development. Young players get to a certain age and they need to get out of their comfort zone. They need to be relied on to do a job.
Q – Is there a good chance of loan for Marquis?
A -We’ve had a couple of enquiries, but nothing definite. We had a striker Stevie May, who was depressed at St Johnstone, went on loan to Alloa and scored 25, then to Hamilton and scored 30, and now he’s playing in Europe.
Q - Neil, how do you get young players hungry? They’re earning good money.
A -Bring them to a Leeds or Charlton game with that atmosphere. And if they don’t fancy it, they’re not right for the club. I see your point, but our players don’t earn a huge amount of money. If they get in the first team, they’ll be rewarded. Back to the set up here, the youth will play a Millwall style of football and if players aren’t suited, they won’t progress.
Q - How is it for you now you’re ‘on the other side’? Are you looking forward to dishing out punishments?
A - Firstly, it’s a very privileged position for me, the rest of the backroom staff and their achievements are phenomenal. The best thing I did was leave to come back. It helped make the transition easier for me. I know some of the players, but they’ve made it easy for me. This is the next best thing to playing. I’m looking forward to the buzz of Saturday’s game. I will leave punishments to the boss! I treat players with respect and expect respect back. My knee is not great. I wouldn’t be playing this season; even with rehab, it would have been a struggle. Mick’s had a few operations and wouldn’t be playing now either! His aerial threat would have seen him score a few for Millwall. We have a great 5 a side team!
Q - Neil, we’re relieved you’re back (applause). Michael Calvin’s book talked about you as one of the leaders. How can you foster leadership?
A -I think it’s either in you or not. Dunney was a young tearaway, but his character’s changed immensely. I think you’d do the squad an injustice by saying there aren’t enough leaders. With no Robbo, we had Dunney and Fordey. You need to play with your heart and passion. You can play badly but you need to show your heart and passion. I always took it upon myself to take aside new players, and tell them to play with heart and passion, otherwise you’re f***ed.
Q - Steve/Neil. In the last couple of seasons our home form has been worse than away. Thoughts? Crowd? Formations?
A –Maybe you didn’t have enough characters as you needed. We have thought of that with the players we have brought in. Scott McDonald has had to fight against bigger men for all of his career. Sometimes lack of confidence looks like lack of effort. The players here always want to give their best. Maybe confidence was low last season. This can make the crowd edgy, and it makes it harder if you go a goal down. But it’s down to the players. I understand you once gave a standing ovation after a 6-0 defeat. I cannot imagine that.
Q - Players with one year left on their contract?
A - Fordey, Henry, Trotter. These will be dealt with in due course. I know some of you don’t like Liam’s languid style but a 6ft 3 midfielder who scores goals is important and an asset to the club.
Q - Trotter must have been blackmailing the manager
A - I think football is all about opinions, but a fit Liam Trotter is an asset.
Q - Going forward, in your first season will you concentrate on league or cup or both?
A - You try to win every game. You’ve got to react to the situation you are in. When I played I wanted to win every game. As a manager I want to win every game. Same for Neil. We’ll always worry just about the next game.
Q - Please steer clear of players from French league
A - That’s a generalisation. Are you happy with Jimmy Abdou, or Christophe Kinet? As always it’s about character and quality. Sometimes you need somebody that can change a game, and lift a mood. I’ve played with some sullen Frenchmen but also some good Frenchmen.
Q – What are your first impressions of the fans and the club?
A - I think club’s run very well. There are staff who have been here more than 20 years. The fans will support the club through thick and thin. Not like Chelsea who have ‘found’ 20.000 new fans in the last 10 years.
Q - Steve, you had success at St Johnstone. What’s the one thing you’re bringing to Millwall that worked in Scotland?
A - The way I feel football should be played. Nothing should be taken for granted. It’s a fantastic life. We are lucky and privileged to be involved. I need to get that across to players. Make the most of every day, it‘s a short career which is over in the blink of an eye. But I only enjoy it when I win. Hopefully, I’m bringing a winning mentality. Win at all costs. On Saturday, it’s about the 90 minutes, get the win, and go home happy.
Players must realise their responsibility to you. You’d give your right hand to go out and play for Millwall and feel that buzz. Players have to meet the challenge. Having the fans onside is a great feeling.
Q - The players you’ve brought in are more experienced. Do you feel that’s what the club was lacking last season, when we mainly looked at the lower leagues?
A - Yes, but it all boils down to money. We are always looking, we try to look everywhere. Basically, it’s recently been frees and loans. We need to go and watch games, under 21s, released players, lower league players. As we can’t spend millions, we need to be creative. Frees need to be good characters as well as good players.
Q – I went into Ladbrokes today, and for leading Championship goalscorer I was offered Morison 66/1, and McDonald 100/1. In your opinion, which is the best bet?
A -Go for a double. Ideally somebody will get over 20, but I’d be happy if both got 15, then others to weigh in. Both would be great but I don’t care.
Q - I hope you’re not one of those who rest players in so-called less important games, like the League Cup. You should put strongest possible team out at all times.
A -Yes, but we have a good squad where we can put out two strong teams. You need to respect my decision on this, on who I pick from our squad. In last year’s cup run you won games and I’m sure you enjoyed it.
Q - Last season, when we played Barnsley, Wolves, Peterborough we didn’t just lose we were played off the park. Kick and lump football, we were chasing shadows, look at the DVDs.
A -Think I’ll give them a miss! It did seem to coincide with the loss of your strikers. A team is only as good as your strikers, if you’ve got nobody to lead line and score goals. If you go back and analyse the games on your unbeaten run, you’ll see it was Wood that scored the first goal, and then the defence held on. The first goal changes mentality. It gets you an extra yard. Chris Wood did that for you. A dogged defence can hang on. Then other teams had to chase and so left gaps. So with our new strikers, plus a revitalised Keogh and Dany, everybody has a fresh start, we should be ok.
Q - Can you put your hand on your heart and tell us you will not sign any members of One Direction?
A - Yep, no gimmicks
Q - We now have one of biggest squads for long time, do you think you’ll have to get rid of a couple of players?
A - Yes, the board have been very good, but we probably will have to get a couple out. The board have said bring recommendations and we’ll see.
Q – The squad now reminds me of John Docherty’s team, with Cascarino and Hurlock and Briley.
A -Yes, you’re hopefully right. Who knows? Some signings are a gamble, sometimes you’ve got to go with a hunch.
Panel - Andy Ambler, Pete Garston, Bob Asprey
Q – Casting your mind back a few months when Kenny Jackett resigned, what was the first thing that went through your mind, and then what happened?
A – AA - From memory, to keep the chairman from freaking out. Five and a half years with the same manager. It was a superb relationship between Kenny and John. They grew to like each other as people. I first wanted to check that Kenny meant what he was saying, and he did. Pete was in the conversations. It was clear early on that he meant it. There had been the Sky hatchet job, racism, Wembley, etc. I asked him to give it a few weeks to think it through, but he’d made his mind up. The Wolves job was coincidence, I spoke to Kenny at length after he’d gone and he’d had no idea that Wolves were to offer him a job and I believe him. PG - I agree. If it’s not true, he’s had me over. I don’t believe that job was available at that time.
Q - Who else did you speak to, who was turned down?
A - The process was well documented. First, the chairman was panicky and has admitted that. I told him we’ll get good candidates. We’d had longest serving manager in the Championship, which is attractive. We had to decide the type of manager we wanted, and the direction we wanted to go in. Some fans thought we’d go for a cheap option, etc. We made a list of strengths. We wanted somebody with passion, who would understand the club, and who shows the desire more than anybody else. That’s how we’ve got who we got. We had 50-60 applicants, and for final interview there were five. I can’t name names where people came to us confidentially. We had about 20 who were already in employment, many more than when we recruited Kenny. Steve was pretty much first one in as he was interviewed first by the chairman. Steve showed passion, hunger and desire. Alex McLeish and Marcus Babbel threw their hats into the ring.
Q - Babbel got us quite excited.
A - It would have been very different with Babbel. I don’t think he would have got Millwall like Steve Lomas does.
Q - Chris Wood - why didn’t it happen?
A - We offered £1m, which was accepted by West Brom. Leicester bid this also. It all came down to where he wanted to go in the end. It was disappointing, as he had said to other players that he’d sign a good contract. The wages offered were the highest at the club. He thought Leicester had a better chance of reaching the Premier League. Kenny’s big problem was not being able to replace Wood and Henderson. A few people in the game said to me that Wood is a good player in the first phase and then falls away. Which has happened at Leicester. No doubt he’s a good player, we really pushed the financial boundaries, but we got beat.
Q - Millwall merchandise - why is it always late?
A – Firstly, many clubs still haven’t received their kits. Secondly, sponsors. Last year, they were quite quick and the shirts were out early. This year, the sponsorship was not tied up until the end of June, and then took a few weeks to print as normal. I’ll be talking to MSC about the 2014/5 design next month. Next year we’ll get them into the shop as soon as the manufacturer and the sponsorship deal is sorted. Some clubs are early, particularly the premier league ones, but some are not. I don’t think we’re much different to many other clubs.
Q – What was last year’s cup run worth to the club? And what are your thoughts on the TV deal for the Football League, what does the club get out of that?
A – The cup run made us about £1.8-2m. The club lost £4m despite this. Last season was the first year of the Football League’s deal with Sky. It went from £88m to £66m but Sky were the only bidders, but Sky knew that a lower bid would lead to a crisis in football, valued the League and so supported it. Now NPower have come off the sponsorship of the Football League, and it has been hard to find a replacement. The deal was brokered with SkyBet for 6 years for £30m. For the TV, Sky want to negotiate the next three years now, so the money will be £66m, £66m, £90m, £90m, £90m. The League had to decide whether to take this deal now or not. They were advised to take deal because they think BT won’t have any money left for the Football League. So we have certainty for 5 years, and this is valuable. To the club, this means £2m from all central FL deals, but only £500k for League 1 and £300k for League 2. This means we can plan for player contracts, other key outgoings, etc. On top of that we have Financial Fair Play. I think that’s why we’re managing to pick up these good players, as other clubs are having to reduce squads and expenditure now, and maybe more next season. Unless we get bigger crowds, or a cup run, investors will have to put money in as shares/equity, not loans. The chairman is as positive now as ever before, he is enthused and buzzing.
Q - The case of ‘overseas Sky’ is not yet resolved in the courts, could this affect the future?
A - What alternative do we have? It’s a risk. We have to hope that the law will be in the favour of the good of football. There are always risks in football. We could be relegated, or the chairman could disappear.
Q - Cafe across the road serves better, cheaper food than here. The stewards are aggressive.
A - Food will always be more expensive at a football ground. You can’t run it any cheaper. Of course the cafe can undercut us, they have 365 days a year to make their money. I know; I eat there nearly every day. The caterers invested a lot of money upgrading our kiosks last summer. We had tastings for the fans and many people in the room were there. The catering complaints this year have reduced to almost zero. I think we’ve come a long way but you’ll never satisfy everybody. Especially in 15 minutes. Whilst we aren’t allowed to drink in view of the pitch, the mad 15 minutes will continue. At other sports there is a different mindset.
Q – The beer was horrible on Saturday, warm. There was no sugar for coffee. Many staff have an attitude. They couldn’t be slower at half time if they tried.
A - If you have specific issues you need to let us know soon so we can talk to the caterers about them. You also need to notify the club of specific cases of good service, so that can be fed back too. If there is poor service we need to and will deal it. This stadium has one of the highest spends per head in the league, so this is an important contract for the caterers. I need to know the full details so he can report it back.
Q – Do the club do secret shopper visits?
A – Yes we do. Ayse has done them for us too. So do the Football League. We feed the results back to the caterers. The League also do visits to assess us for their family excellence award, which unfortunately we have not obtained for the last two years.
Q - I heard catering staff say ‘say we’ve got none to the customers, but we’ve got some to take home for later’
A - I’ll take that back to the caterers, this is precisely the sort of specific occurrence that should be reported.
Q - At The Oval, thirty people can be served in less than ten minutes. We must be able to do it better.
A - Other side of that is that the law doesn’t help us. At cricket you can drink at your seat, but not at football. We would like to see the rule changed. It’s a different dynamic at cricket. This is not an excuse, we must do things better if we can. I will go back to caterers and ask them about this, but until the rules change I think it’ll be an ongoing problem.
Q - I had a massive ticketing problem with Wembley. Who did you assign to fix my problem?
A - You tell me.
Q - Peter, when you got the job, apparently it was unopposed. No, I stood for that job. I want to let people know you were opposed.
A – PG - weren’t you on a club ban at the time?
Q - No. I had been charged with something. I had to come to a meeting. I had to sign a behavioural letter. I signed it as you were up for election.
A – PG – The job is coming up again, so you can apply.
Q - Why is door up to block 8/9 closed when I enter the ground? In case of a fire it would be dangerous.
A - I’ll have to ask the stadium manager. But it is shut until 2pm because of the outside bar. The outside bar has been very popular and is the result of discussions with the MSC regarding an alternative to Arry’s Bar which is usually rammed. Fans enjoy sitting there and watching the early game on the TVs. The TVs were stolen after two matches but were replaced. If supporters want to take their seats in blocks 8 or 9 before 2pm, they can use the other entrances to the upper tier.
Q - After a few good years reputation-wise, Wembley was a bodyblow. What’s happening regarding the supporters involved.
A - Yes, the last three months were horrible. The Sky Sports News programme, Luton and Wembley. Some positives came out of Wembley in a way too. A few years ago, the media could and probably would have crucified us, but the commentators on the day backed us. They criticised the police and also the Wembley organisation. Also, the police and the FA have privately thanked the club and those who had a hand in some of the arrests. We’re waiting on statistics from the police on the status of fans. We have not been charged by the FA, which would have been an easy thing to do. On the Monday following the semi-final, I drove to Wembley and met the general secretary and chairman of FA. I said ‘I need to talk to you’. In a private meeting I said, you need to look at yourselves, not just us. For example, the stewards did nothing.
Q – We are pleased with the way things have turned out with Steve Lomas’ appointment.
Q - I know a policeman who has worked at Millwall games nationwide and Wembley was the one time Millwall supporters asked them for help.
A -The book is not closed on Wembley, and Ken Chapman and I will be at a meeting with the FA on 4 September when what went wrong will be discussed. So it hasn’t gone away, and we will have to wait for those arrested to go to court, maybe in October. One thing that affected us was the ticketing process. The FA said ‘you must have sold your tickets to anyone’. But I have a letter from the FA, dated the week before the match, saying it was most professional ticket sale ever. That worked in our favour. Last season we had the lowest arrest rate for 10 years at the club, and the lowest number of bans.
That’s because everybody was asleep!
Q - Sponsorship is missing, we could be losing money. Is anything going to come from the regneration, has anyone applied to rename the stadium?
A - Regeneration has nothing happening currently. Until something is visible, we won’t get a lot of approaches. We declined sponsorship from a payday loan company (applause). There has been 125th anniversary publicity, our manager did some publicity in the new family area the Newcastle chose to use their publicity to unveil their now shirt with Wonga. The PCUK sponsorship may work subtly to our benefit, by changing attitudes and bringing corporate contacts. The charity is very happy with this sponsorship, but we can use it to our benefit.
Q - Foodbank, we don’t publicise it enough
A - We’ve done a lot of publicity on Foodbank, and Lewisham Hospital. (PG Press don’t want to know). We have plenty of stories, such as from the Community Scheme. If only there was a platform somewhere for these. After the Sky programme, I met them, MSC met them. So we told them about these positive stories and they’ve committed to covering our positive stories. After Wembley, the coverage could have been a lot more negative than it was.
Q - What arrangements have been made regarding away games. There are rumours of changes to kickoff times at Brighton and others.
A - The only change to kickoff times so far is Charlton, which has been moved for TV. Sheffield Wednesday have said the game is 3pm, as have Brighton. Good news. Again, after Wembley, I thought police would work things to their advantage. Leeds is next April and too far away to consider. West Yorkshire Police are of course a law unto themselves.
Q - Why do we go there? The way we’re treated by police and the club there is dreadful. Why don’t we boycott it? The police should not be able to tell me I can’t go watch my team.
A – Last year most supporters did boycott it.
Q - Will we open North Lower this season?
A - We did that for Charlton and there were problems. At another game we took flares off the away supporters. We’ll open the North Lower if it brings in money, which will depend on the police costs.
Q - Bottles are still a problem?
A - Bottles were brought in to speed up service, which it has done. In some areas of the ground we still have to pour beer and not allow the bottles out. The incidents of throwing were better last season, but those that occurred were high profile. I’ve also seen supporters making more effort to stop others’ unacceptable behaviour.
Q - Betting on the concourse this year?
A – I don’t think so. Companies don’t want to do it as there’s little money in it, as people use their phones. It is done in the Exec Lounge.
Q – With the excellent new signings, how have these reflected on season ticket sales. Can Steve Morison play v Leeds?
A - Steve cannot play against Leeds, but neither can he be recalled in January or any other time. Season tickets are slightly up, memberships are definitely up. There’s definitely a buzz around the ground. Season tickets are still available and finance is still available too. Pre sales for Saturday’s match are encouraging.
Q - Yeovil are bringing how many?
A - 600 plus pay on the day.
Q – Is there an option to buy Morison?
A - Clubs will rarely agree a price, why would they? He is on a three and a half year contract, it’s strange that they’ve loaned him out so soon. We have first refusal, which I think is better as we can match any other price. At the end of the day, it comes down to where the player wants to play. I think Morison will do well here.
Q - Is the board happier to sign permanent rather than loan players? Did that happen with Kenny? We now seem able to secure players more than previously.
A - We’ve done our business early to take advantage of the market. It’s a very different market this year to last. FFP is an issue for many clubs. Players are coming out of contract and players are more realistic. In the past they may have waited, but now they know that clubs are full of players. We have our biggest player budget in history this season. Steve has come in and said ‘this is where we need to improve’ and in a few days, it’s been resolved. Would Kenny have done it the same way, I think not. He always liked to keep something back in case of injuries, etc. As Steve said, sometimes you need to get a little lucky and that includes injuries. Chaplow is a different example, he liked what he saw when he came on loan, and he chose to sign permanently.
Q – How will we fare with FFP?
A - It’s been a gamble to invest in the playing squad but this is a great investment. We are a London club with the chance of getting into the Premier League. The regulations will be that in a five season cycle, you can lose £4m per year. But a club with money behind it from the Premier League, eg QPR and Wigan, will have those funds to spend and have a big advantage. But we’re going into it with our eyes wide open. We know there will be an equity injection but I think it will be better all round. We need to bring more money in, more crowds, more sponsors, more use of the stadium. This is why we’ve brought in a Commercial Director and a new Commercial team.
Q - Would it not be wise to invite some season ticket holders/members to get involved with this new commercial team.
A – My door is open, the Commercial Team’s door is open. I meet with the MSC regularly, as does the Commercial Director. We are happy to put this on the agenda. The people employed by club don’t have all the good ideas.
Bob thanked all the guests and all the supporters who attended, and we all look forward to Saturday.
Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den,
London SE16 3LN -
phone: 07895 022 325 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org