Sunday, 19 October 2008
Millwall away Oct 18th 2008
On a fresh bright sunny morning The Happy Chocker and I board the packed London bound train at Selby for the trip to South Bermondsey the home of Millwall. Trains bound for London from the north on a Saturday always have an eclectic mix of the human race usually split into Football fans, Theatre goers, Shoppers and Hen parties and today was no exception.
The conversation on the way down centred on whether last week's central defence pairing of Rui and Lubo would hold the fort again with the continued absence of the steadying hand of Paul Telfer. Buoyed by our positive discussions and the first couple of cans of the day I rashly placed a bet on a Beckford first goal and a 3.1 Leeds success, The Happy Chocker enthusiastically placed the bet using his new toy, a blackberry, and we settled down for the rest of the journey into Kings X. Once there we had time for some more dutch courage at O Niells on Euston Road. This particular watering hole always has a healthy contingent of visiting Northern fans quenching their thirsts after the journey down the East Coast line and today shirts from Sunderland, Forest with an odd Arsenal fan mingled with as ever a good number of mighty whites fans.
We swiftly crossed London to London Bridge station for the final change to South Bermondsey.........this is where it started to get a bit interesting? The one thing that Millwall fans seem to resent is any other fan coming onto "their manor" so with 2500 whites fans in town they were never going to be happy.......... as we tried to find our platform in the warren that is London Bridge I jokingly suggested to The Happy Chocker he asked the way of the archetypal thick necked tattooed Wall fan stomping his way across the station in a determined fashion....I was amazed when he actually did and I think we probably got away lightly with a warm South London welcome of "Fack orff mate we're supposed to be at facking home".
When we boarded the train things didn't get any better as the whole train was packed with cousins of Mr Thick Neck. I thought I spotted another Leeds fan and gave him a discreet Leeds salute "Keep yer facking head down on here mate" he replied in the broadest Sarf London accent I've ever heard from a whites fan!
Anyhow safely ensconced in the away end where more confusion rained as the lack of stewards dictated that you sat where you wanted. As I was waiting for the game to start I spotted Denis Wise, who seems to have found gainful employment that suits his skillset!
For reasons we were not aware of Robbo was neither in the team or on the bench..........not for the last time our confidence started to reduce.
The match started and after a scrappy opening Millwall started to take control as they harried Leeds out of their normal passing game and were quick to move the ball wide to the wing to attack young Aidy White at full back. Bizarrely I was standing next to Aidy White , albeit a more plumpy version!
Then against the run of play the hard working Becchio turned his man and from 30 yard out sent a screamer giving the goalie no chance.
Much celebrating in the away end borne more out of relief than expectation. Our joy was short lived though as Millwall scored a well worked goal before HT.
The second half had an air of inevitability about it as Millwall continued to boss the game and was no real surprise when they scored a second from another header,ffs, and when the visibly tiring White made a schoolboy error to gift them a soft third goal near the end our fate was sealed.
The atmosphere inside the Den was white hot all afternoon with the Millwall fans spitting as much vile and hatred as their restricted vocabularies would allow towards the massed Leeds fans. The cauldron threatened to explode all afternoon and when a section of Blues fans started flaunting a Turkish flag and singing Istanbul songs it proved too much provocation for some Leeds fans. seats were smashed, ala Paris 75, and hurled towards the Turkish flag, until the riot police intervened and removed the flag bearing fan. To his credit I did notice one Millwall fan trying to stop his fellow idiot from inciting such hatred but to no avail.
After the match the police operation to whisk the dirty Leeds fans away from the metropolis was staggering...........we were herded onto a train to take us the one stop to London bridge and then frog marched under escort onto a tube train to go direct to Kings X, closing down the normal tube trains in the process. When we arrived at KX we were met with a guard of honour of London's finest boys in blue with the express intention of corralling everybody, regardless of whether they were actually travelling to Leeds, onto a special train direct to Leeds. Now this presented a problem to HC and me we were booked on a later train to Selby and had planned further refreshment on Euston Road. So quick thinking was needed if we weren't to join the Lemmings piling onto the Leeds bound train...........cue a plea to an office of a similar age to me on the lines that we lived in Bishop's Stortford and needed to get to Liverpool Street station and we were free....Hallelujah.
And so to O'Neills for our final refreshment in London not surprisingly we weren't the only Leeds fans who had extricated themselves from the Lemmings line. The Hampshire Whites were brooding in a post match depression but they were soon in good voice as Man U scored on the big screen and that gave ample opportunity to taunt the Southern Manure fans who had celebrated Rooney's first goal.
Eventually we caught the Selby train for the long trip back which was largely uneventful other than meeting a group of tree hugging volunteers from Hull women's service returning from a weeks tree planting on the banks of Loch Ness. Rough? ........................ they made Jade Goody look like royalty!
It was revealed in the week that Morrissey, ala The Smiths, is a closet Millwall fan and would be attending the match. It seems appropriate that today's match track is from him and sums up my post match feelings!
So onto the next match, Orient at home on Tuesday, hopefully back to winning ways. One thing for sure we need to seal the leaking defence if we are to secure automatic promotion this year.