Fan on the Board Reports - 2009

28 October 2009
We are slowly creeping up the table currently sitting eighth one point away from a play off position after a massive win and performance over the unbeaten Leeds team, the atmosphere was great and it was nice the chairman was there to see and experience a big home game with the right result.
The only fly in the ointment was the News of the World showing a picture of someone in the Millwall crowd wearing a Galatasary shirt, this could obviously have incited problems on the day, however, there was no mention in the press of the Ferencvaros flag in the Leeds section, the flag was removed along with the owner during the first half, the authorities are looking for the Galatasaray shirt wearer.

The game virtually went off without any incident proving once again we are able to host a high profile game at the Den on a Saturday at 3pm, it's a shame other clubs can't manage to do the same, as a lot of our away games are constantly moved in my opinion for very minor reasons, the club do all they can to keep the games on the originally planned dates but the decision to move is normally taken by the local constabulary.

As you all know the club are fighting the FA charges brought against us for the West Ham game, our defence has gone in and now it is a matter of waiting, John Berylson is determined to clear our name over the events, I think in John we have a chairman who sticks behind us and isn't scared to confront the FA if he thinks they are in the wrong.

We all know how watching football can take us to the extremes, we all need to make sure that our actions are not going to damage the club, especially as we are currently under the scrutiny of the FA, my personal opinion is that a lot of the people who attend the bigger games i.e. Leeds etc are not there for the bread and butter games, but their actions impact the fans who go week in week out, they are the ones who have to deal with the extra vigilant stewarding etc because of the actions of a few during the bigger games.

We have arranged a help for hero's day on November 21st against Wycombe Wanderers, this is our chance to support our armed forces who go above and beyond what most of us do to protect our civil liberties, so let's all show them our support and give them the welcome they deserve, the day has been organised by Millwall fan Karen Bain along with help from Ray James and the staff at Millwall, when I took the idea to the board it was agreed immediately.

Thanks to all the people who are constantly, writing, texting and stopping me and asking me how I am, it is a real boost knowing people are thinking of me, I finish my first batch of Chemo Wednesday prior to the Colchester game and I have 3 operations planned in the following 6 weeks 2 minor and 1 major, after I recover from that which I suspect will be early in the new year I have a further 9 weeks Chemo that will commence after I recover from the final operation. Just got news the tumor has shrunk so I am all set for the op! Brilliant news.

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete.


5 October 2009

We are now 11 games into the season with 14 points on the board. I know this is not the start Kenny and the team wanted or planned for but the amount of injuries has had a major impact.

We really need to average two points a game to be in with a shout, so we have started slowly. In my opinion the West Ham game really took its toll on the team, both physically and mentally coming so close to winning and then getting pipped at the post. We need to put that behind us and look forward to beating the teams in our league.

We haven't played very well early on. The Huddersfield game, I thought, would be the turning point. We played so well and it appeared, with a few players back, we were on our way. Then we played the Orient and struggled.

Scoring five goals against a poor Tranmere side will help boost the team's confidence. Now we really need to go to Swindon and get something to keep the momentum going.

Off the field things are never quiet, the fall out from the West Ham games is still rumbling on. We have now been charged by the FA for failing to control our fans, which considering we have no control on stewarding/policing at an away ground is difficult to understand because we as a club did all we could. Tickets were sold to members or Season Ticket holders and we asked for more tickets as we knew the consequences of fans travelling without tickets. We advised the authorities of our concerns if we didn't get enough tickets but on the whole we were ignored.

The board met and discussed the charges. We were fully aware the majority of our fans behaved well with no pitch incursions in the face of severe provocation. With that in mind we have decided to challenge the FA charges and clear our name that as per normal is once again being tarnished.
The Chairman and board have sought legal representation to fight the charges. To do this we need to make sure we have no further incidents reported. We all know supporting Millwall is a very emotive pastime. What happens on the field can sometimes really get to you, but we all need to make sure that we keep our emotions in check. Missile throwing and other acts that cause the club to be brought into the spotlight have to stop. The board can't fight our corner if our own house isn't in order, so when attending games we need to make sure we behave in an appropriate manner.
We have arranged a Help for Heroes day on November 21st against Wycombe Wanderers. This is our chance to support our armed forces who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect our civil liberties. So let's all show them our support and give them the welcome they deserve. The day has been organised by Millwall fan Karen Bain along with help from Ray James and the staff at Millwall. When I took the idea to the board it was agreed immediately.

I am two thirds of the way through my treatment prior to the operation. It's been up and down, but I'm managing to live as normal a life as I can due to the support around me, so all going to plan!!

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete


1 September 2009

It's been a long month in many ways - so I thought I would start off talking about the highlights.

West Ham away in the Carling Cup, for starters. We outplayed them for 90 per cent of the game and the divide between Premiership and League One was non-existent at times. All I can say is every player put in a performance we should be proud of, I know I was. If we can carry that through to the league we will definitely be up there challenging.

There have been several rumours about Jimmy Abdou leaving for Leeds in a multi-million pound deal. Someone needs to let the chairman and the board know when they will be sending the money across! He was apparently sighted having his medical in Leeds at the same time as he was being treated for his injury. It reminds me of the Jimmy Flloyd Haisselbank rumour a few years back.

Jimmy (Abdou that is) is a great player and we all want to keep him at Millwall. The manager and the board will do all they can to keep him and all the players Kenny wants at the club. So on the football side all is looking bright!

The West Ham game obviously had a dark side to it. It was a great atmosphere and at times the noise of our fans was amazing. I was watching from the halfway and all the pitch encroachment came from the West Ham areas. Luckily the West Ham fans stayed well back when trying to intimidate our fans as if they had got much closer things could have taken a turn for the worst. As we all know, at The Den pitch incursion is treated very seriously by the club and authorities. I hope West Ham and the authorities treat these incursions with the same vigor to ensure consistency.

On a much more serious note a 44 year old Millwall season ticket holding family man was stabbed before the game. All our thoughts are with him and his family. He has asked for privacy around the events of the evening. Although the club has not made a statement, behind the scenes the club has been supporting the family where possible, Neil Harris has spoken to the fan.

Another issue the night raised was problems travelling to the game especially being re-routed to several different underground stations due to problems at Upton Park. The main problem is that when disembarking there were no police to escort them to the ground. This left small groups of our fans having to walk around the ground not knowing how to get in.

As the police supposedly knew the game had potential for unrest, there should have been plans in place to protect people. Subsequently small groups of Millwall fans were attacked by West Ham fans in large numbers.

This along with the inadequate ticket allocation added to the potential for trouble. The club is asking questions of the police but what we do not want is a public slanging match, so there will be nothing public put out until all sides have finished their enquiries into the incidents. The board are treating this very seriously as our fans and players were at risk.

On a personal note I have started my treatment and as of today (Friday) I seem to be coping pretty well, thanks to having a loving family and friends around me.

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete


25 May 2009 - End of Season Report

Well a big day out at Wembley, a top 6 finish and a new away record, it has been the best season for a few years. Every player in the squad have played a part both on the pitch or at the training ground, the players are working as a unit and have a camaraderie that is second to none.

Kenny Jackett, Joe Gallen, Richard Shaw, Bobby Bacic, Adrian Wisson, Scott Fitzgerald and the entire back room staff deserve credit for producing the fight and spirit we have seen in the team throughout the season culminating in the trip to Wembley, the players gave their all and put on a display I know we are all proud of, they stretched and competed for every ball and battled hard to get the result, at the end of the game the disappointment was there on every players face, they gave a solid battling Millwall performance and that is all we can ever ask for. Let's hope we can retain at least a small percentage of the fans who went to Wembley just 5% would make things a lot easier financially which in turn would give Kenny more spending power, I am going to go out on a limb and predict our 1st home game of the season will have an attendance of around 13k, if the team can win we should be able to maintain that level of support throughout that is why it is imperative to get a good solid start to the season.

How proud was I walking up Wembley was seeing the sea of blue and white it was great to see, the noise inside the stadium was incredible, other than the result it was a brilliant day.

Another thing not to be forgotten is the fact that we went a record number of away games undefeated this season, let's hope we can get a good start to the new season and carry that through to the end and get an automatic spot, the trip to Wembley was great but I would rather just go up.
I spoke to Kenny at length after the game, obviously he was devastated but he felt it is pointless wallowing in it, he will be reviewing the video tomorrow and preparations for next season have already began, we have a good leader in Kenny, someone who is honest, committed and loyal.
We have a new addition to the squad in Steve Morrison from Stevenage Borough, let's hope he can carry on his goal scoring, Kenny has been tracking him for a good few months and intense and delicate negotiations were finally completed due to the hard work of Andy Ambler.

We are lucky at Millwall to have a great team behind the scenes who have worked so hard during the run up to Wembley, at times working in the early hours to make sure all orders were fulfilled, we always see the top people at Millwall mentioned in the media and getting the plaudits, but there are many people at Millwall who deserve praise and thanks as it is a team effort that keeps the club running, so on behalf of the fans I would like to thank all the staff at Millwall who go about their work without any fuss or credit week in week out.

We are still waiting for Richard Sadler to come up with the opposition for the benefit game the club have agreed on August 1st, I know Richard is trying his hardest to get good quality opposition, when I spoke with him last there has been no definite opposition found, as the time is getting on and most teams have already arranged their pre seasons I am worried that as time elapses Sads will find it hard to get an opponent, I will keep you all updated on any progress made.

The new ticketing system is now in place and there were minimal complaints with Season Ticket sales and dispatch, hopefully once the system has been tested on a match day there will be improvements and getting a ticket for games will be made a lot easier both on line and on the day, it is hoped that the ease that the new system allows will make more people buy their tickets in advance, this should alleviate the queues 5 minutes before kick off.

The close season for most is a quite time but for a football club it is probably the busiest time behind the scenes, with contract negotiations going on and players either coming in or leaving, I will keep the updates coming if anything of importance comes along.

On behalf of all fans I would like to thank John and Amy Berylson for their continued commitment to the club, their involvement has led to the club having a stability that we haven’t had for a good few years, I spoke with them both on Sunday evening and they are determined to do all they can to make sure we go all out for promotion next season, in their words "we do not want the stress of going through the play offs again next season".

On a personal note I am so proud to have been elected to represent our views in the boardroom, I never take it for granted and make sure our views are heard by the board during any discussions, however, as with discussions among any group of people, not all board decisions will be unanimous. It is however important for the board to stand behind the democratic process, something I am also fully committed to.

I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout the year and I hope I will get the same support next year.

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete


9 April 2009

Sorry for the delay in getting this report out.

Football
At the time of writing we are still in 3rd position and both 2 automatic spots are in reach, two great performances, a gritty 1-0 win at MK Dons where the players really dug deep for a result, I for one though we would be lucky if we got a point after MK Dons scored 6 goals at home 3 days earlier, but the team gave a real Millwall display. Then off to Hartlepool 600 mile round trip and at half time I was thinking why I bother! All the Hartlepool directors were saying, "Don't worry there are still 45 minutes" to go and they were right, enter stage right Harris! What a result keeping us on target for a top 3 finish. Then a great injury time winner from Jason Price at Crewe, watching Millwall is never easy, then we had the Colchester game that would really put us on target for automatic promotion but the team struggled and succumbed to a last minute winner leaving everyone disappointed, luckily the team bounced back with a great display against Walsall with Alexander and Price both getting onto the score sheet, they are looking a very handy partnership. I have had so many new experiences since being a Fan Director and on Saturday I was honoured to be introduced to the man who "found" Alan Shearer he was 88 and spoke about Millwall with great fondness.

John Berylson
John Berylson has invested around £11m into Millwall and taken nothing out, he has continued to put in money, even when due to the current financial situation in the country the regeneration plan has slowed down. I for one feel we owe him a huge debt other than the financial one, a lot of people by now would have cut their losses and walked, I think John has attended over 20 games this season another sign of his commitment.

Richard Sadlier
I have been in constant contact with Sadds over the last couple of months with regards the benefit match that he has been waiting so long for. A date has been agreed with the club and now Sadds and his contacts can start trying to get a good quality opponent. This will enable him to get a good gate and a decent payday, although speaking to Sadds it isn't about the money, it's more about saying a final farewell to us, the fans. Sadds was offered the chance by Mark McGhee to sit on the bench the game prior to his retirement, with the option of coming on for the last 10 minutes, he told me not taking up the offer was one of the biggest regrets in his life. I will make sure that I put in the effort required to make sure the game happens.

New Ticketing System
The new ticketing system is now in place and I am told you can buy your season ticket on line with the process taking only 5 minutes, a whole new network has been put in place in the club to ensure the system works to its optimum and it can interface with other areas of the club, more people signed up for season tickets in the first 2 days than at any other time in the last 10 years, the Sadds benefit game will be a great chance to test the system prior to the new season kicking off, this should give enough time for any bugs to be ironed out.

Kenny Jackett
Kenny Jackett presented his views to the board last week at the latest board meeting, he told us the team's morale both on and off the pitch was very high. The team are fully aware the 2nd place is still available and they will do their best to get it. Kenny felt although we had had a lot of key injuries we had still managed to keep ourselves in with a shout of the play offs as a minimum. We have had a good deal of bad luck with Robbo and Pericard's injuries. Tony Craig has worn the Captains armband with pride, always putting in a Millwall performance leading by example in every game. We discussed the youth set up and its current crop of youngsters. Of last year's crop only one Pat O'Connor was offered a professional contract, Kenny mentioned how hard Scott Fitzgerald had worked to bring through the current crop of which it is thought 60 or 70% will possibly make the required grade.

Coins and swearing
There have been a lot of rumours suggesting that large numbers of fans are being ejected and banned for swearing. I have noticed since I have been carrying out the FOTB role that there are lots of unfounded rumours started, the people starting these rumours are speaking 3rd hand and with no factual information, these rumours really cause problems. The facts so far this season, only two fans have been banned for foul and abusive language, both fans put their hands up and admitted they had gone over the top. One decided to appeal the ban using the appeal process and had his ban lifted, the other did not want to appeal. Both bans were in the West Lower behind the away dug out and both times the 4th official or away team management complained to police during the match. As we get 7-8000 per game and so far this season only 2 have been banned for foul and abusive language this shows that there are not large numbers being banned for swearing. The area where the "offences" occurred is so high profile and under the spotlight I would have thought there would have been a lot more. I think we all just need to be mindful when shouting out as what we deem as acceptable may not be acceptable to those around us especially when there are children around.

Family Club
As you are probably aware, the board has taken the decision to set up a new Family Club that will be situated in the South End of West Lower (WL). Existing Season Ticket holders in the WL were originally asked to move to other parts of the ground to accommodate the new Family Club. ST holders from the WL were invited to the club to discuss the options available to them, the outcome of the meetings that took place and the amount of complaints received, put enough pressure on the club to rethink the decision, making a compromise allowing the existing ST holders to remain in the West Lower if they wanted to. Just to reiterate my position, it is my role to represent the view of the fans at board level, which I have done diligently since I took on this post - This was the case regarding the need for consultation/compromise in relation to the relocation of the family enclosure. However, as with discussions among any group of people, not all board decisions will be unanimous. It is however important for the board to stand behind the democratic process, something I am also fully committed to.

Ian Tomlinson
Ever since I have been following Millwall I have always felt part of the Millwall family. It's such a strong common bond that unites us all, it seems at times the entire world is against us. So seeing the tragic events on the television leading to the death of Ian Tomlinson a Millwall fan wearing our colours with pride as he walked home from work, I truly hope the people responsible are brought to justice. I would like to pass my condolences to Ian's family on behalf of all Millwall fans.

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete


18 March 2009 - Moving the Family Enclosure

Ultimately the decision is an attempt to make a family section that is attractive to younger fans coming to the ground and in time bring in new fans.

Bob Asprey (Chair MSC) Terry Burnett (Chair Junior Lions Chair) and myself all agree the move will only benefit younger fans as there is a lot more that can be offered to them in the West Lower in regards entertainment and interactivity with the players.

When elected representatives have to make judgment calls not everybody will be happy with the judgment call taken, but I believe the decision taken is the best for younger fans and we need to get more young fans to the club.

It was inevitable that some people would be annoyed at the move, but the decision was taken with the sole intention of making a better place for younger fans and their families. Last season I fought so the Family Enclosure was not changed, the reason I fought it as I felt it would not add any value changing it and it was being done for the wrong reasons, this time I am confident the move is happening for the right reasons.

Positives
The West Lower can be sectioned off making it more manageable on the concourses and it can be extended easily should the need arise.
The players warm up at the West Lower this will be great for the kids to get autographs/photo's.
The dressing rooms are directly behind the West Lower, we want to have frequent visits into the new family section by injured and non playing players.
We want more kid friendly activities/kiosks available in the West Lower concourses.

Rumours
The current family enclosure ST holders will be forced to move - This is not the case as people in the East Lower will be able to purchase their own seats at last season’s price.

Negatives
People currently with West Lower seats will be asked to relocate, they have been offered discount prices to move to the West Upper.
People who have sat together for many years could be split up, although the option to move en masse to a different section at discounted prices is available, where possible everyone moving to the same area of the ground should they want to.
The letters being sent out in my opinion should have gone both to the current Family Enclosure ST holder as well as the West Lower ST holders as they are all impacted, this is a main area for complaint, this will be brought to the clubs attention, as the decision has been taken there is not a lot that can be do other than learn by the mistake, obviously if Bob, Terry and myself had known the exact timescale and that the current FE were not being informed first hand we could have perhaps enforced some changes, but due to our own work commitments we do not get to rubberstamp everything coming out from the club.

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete


17 February 2009

Sorry for the delay in getting this out, I had it virtually completed and our business was burgled and I had to sort a few bits out.
We are still in a play off position at the moment 2 games in hand and 9 points away from the second spot, the Scunthorpe result was very disappointing, not only for the points side of things but the fact both Lewis Grabban and Robbo picked up injuries, since then we have lost at Leeds and got a point at Stockport, so we are still in up there, I understand losing against Leeds was the first time this season we have lost 2 games on the trot, we haven’t gone that long for a good few seasons.

The Chairman has asked my opinion considering our league position why have our gates not increased in my opinion I think there are a number of reasons, our poor display and problems behind the scenes in the last 3 seasons have had big impact, a lot of people were left with a bad taste in their mouths of the football that was dished up, I suspect we will need to continue our good run this and next season to get back some of the disbelievers! The current financial plight doesn’t help, taking a family to any football match isn’t cheap, the club with input from myself and the MSC are currently looking at incentives both financial and facilities wise to attract more kids and families to The Den hopefully some changes will be in place ahead of next season and is planning to put whatever is decided into action for next season, another reason could be the way football has moved on regards security, when I first started going, you would get up on a Saturday and then go to the game, there were hardly any stewards, you paid on the gate, you met your mates for a beer that was it. One thing that pops up time and time again from people I speak with is people asking me if they need a membership to go to home games, I think there is a misconception that you need a membership for homes games tickets this is not the case there have only been 2 members only games in the last 2 seasons so there is no excuse there!

Once again Millwall has been headline news for all the wrong reasons in relation to the events at Hull, obviously no one can condone the throwing of missiles, the annoying thing for me is that we hit the headlines and similar events at other grounds are not reported, I was on the halfway line and saw events unfold, I was amazed at the lack of adequate stewarding, considering when I last went to Hull on a Friday night we were corralled in between what seemed like a 100 police, there were a lot more Millwall there for the cup game so surely the police presence should have been relative.
Millwall have a stringent membership to ensure tickets are sold only to members.

Another good result at Hereford, then later in the week a local paper ran an article regards alleged racial abuse of Lewis Grabban, I was close by when Lewis came off the pitch and saw how distressed he was.

Racist abuse is not acceptable, end of story, the entire team were affected by the whole affair, they are a close knit team as close as we are as fans so it is right and proper we stick by them and support them.

I spoke with several people who were at the game both in the seats and terraces, I have monitored all the message boards as well, no one I spoke with at the game heard any racist chanting or abuse, this leads me to believe it was either one or two individuals or it was dialogue between Millwall and Hereford fans that was misconceived, hopefully the latter. As fans we need together and let the team know we are behind anyone who pulls on a Millwall shirt.

The transfer window closed on Monday 2nd Feb, not a lot of movement as I write only Adam Boulder coming in, as I have said before Kenny Jackett plays his cards close to his chest, this has been proven as there haven’t been hardly any rumours coming out lately that have substance, all I can say is John Berylson and the board have given Kenny financial backing to strengthen the team, but Kenny will only do this if he thinks it will improve things, so if he does not bring anyone in its because he is happy with what he has already got. Since I started writing this Kenny has brought in Richard Duffy and James Henry both have had good debuts, let’s hope they are the additions we need.

Against Scunthorpe there was a trial to alleviate the problem of people smoking in the toilets, this is another example of the MSC and myself raising issues with the club and the club acting on them.

In the coming weeks I along with the MSC will be discussing with the club the new ticketing system and pricing structures for the coming season, to ensure prices are kept at a reasonable level and there are offers available to attract new and lapsed fans.

Against Yeovil there a fan was banned for foul and abusive language, I have spoken with the person involved and am in the process of arranging a meeting between him and Andy Ambler, this is not to appeal the decision but to go through the procedure and discuss several anomalies that have been raised, I just want to make sure that any processes in place were followed if not why not. I think it is right and proper that the discussions held are between the person concerned and the club in private.

I would finally like to thank Chrissy Bethel and Yvonne Haynes the club secretary, between them they have co-ordinated Dockers day, to what I know will be a great day for all concerned and will give us the chance to celebrate our clubs history, the work that goes on behind the scenes is immense and they both deserve our thanks.

As always if anyone has any questions for me drop me a line.

Pete


 

Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den, Zampa Road, London SE16 3LN  -  phone: 07895 022 325  -  email: info@millwallsupportersclub.co.uk

 


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