Millwall. Just think of the name. Then split it into two. Mill. Countryside. Wheat being turned into bread. Windy Miller from Camberwick Green. Jonathan Creek. Then Wall. Hard. Takes a lot to knock down. Pink Floyd.
It is an incongruous name for a club that has been held up as the worst that football has to offer. Thuggish, brutish, love their mums. Love and Hat on their knuckles, because they’re missing a finger on their right hand.
No one likes them. They really don’t care.
So, what better place for Owen Coyle and his bunch of mollycoddles to go for the game that may well see the end of the Scottish manager’s reign at Bolton Wanderers.
Don’t get me wrong. Millwall aren’t all that. They’ve won just once at The Den this season, losing the rest. But if you were going to a ground, knowing that to come away without a win would seal the deal on your fate, would you want it to be Millwall?
‘Dear Mr Coyle. Do you have this on blu-ray?‘. The Football Leagues response.
‘The bottom line is that if you`re not winning games, then you leave yourself open for criticism. But with all due respect, it`s from people who come and watch the game. It`s an opinion but because it`s an opinion it doesn`t make it right. If they are not from a footballing background, then that happens. You take it on the chin as you always do.‘ The last cries of a desperate man, the same cries that didn’t exactly work for his predecessor. The only real thing that makes it different are the words ‘with all due respect’. It is my experience that when someone says those words, they mean the absolute opposite. What is “a footballing background” exactly. Is it playing or managing in the game? Or is it standing, then sitting, in a ground for knocking on thirty five years, watching the thing?
Millwall Team News:
Paul Robinson (not that one), who hasn’t completed a game this season, is out for two months after seeing a specialist about his groin. I do hope her name was Helga. Shane Lowry is out after collecting a fifth yellow (already) during midweek. Millwall have signed Mark Beevers from Sheffield Wednesday on one of those month long emergency deals.
Player to watch: Darius Henderson
Wikipedia says that Henderson is known for his strength, heading ability and physicality. So our defence are screwed. He was Millwall’s leading scorer last season and has started off in the same vein. I liked Henderson when he was at Sheffield United and his transfer to Millwall has seen him score a league goal virtually every other game. Luckily, he scored on Tuesday. That’s how it works, isn’t it?
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Just when there was a whiff of Martin Petrov starting, he does his back whilst David N’Gog is ‘touch and go’. Not that that will get Sordell into the starting line up. Alonso is still out and joins the regulars.
Player to watch: Kevin Davies
It’s been a while since SKD was mentioned as the player to watch, but as it’s the fiftieth anniversary of James Bond, I thought I’d use a particularly withering ‘M’ put down to describe him:
‘I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, who’s boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to the young lady I sent out to evaluate you.‘
OK, it’s just a good put down, and SKD, as far as I know, is neither sexist nor a misogynist. However, he is a relic of a bygone age, still plying his trade when he should have been moved along to the home for retired spies some time ago. He splits opinion. Hero to most, naturally, but a divisive figure to others. You can’t argue with what he did on Tuesday, the job he was supposed to do. But, the argument goes, if he wasn’t playing, then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about scoring more than the opposition.
It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other really. Most don’t want him to finish, but some think he is. And if he isn’t, then he should be used sparingly. In my opinion, the latter is true, as we try and forge ahead with playing the ball along the floor, something we can’t do with SKD in the side. However, would I want someone else to lead the line at The Den?
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton and Millwall haven’t met each other in the league since 1995, a SuperJohn McGinlay goal giving Bolton their first, and only, league win in this particular part of Sarf Lahndan. Before that, Bolton had drawn just the once, in 1974, and lost the other twelve. Overall, Millwall hold a 14-11 lead.
Bolton did win again at Millwall, just earlier this year, as Ryo Miyaichi and David N’Gog scored in a 2-0 FA Cup win. That’s right. David N’Gog scored. I know.
Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture, and the second tier, is John Byrom with five, courtesy of a hat trick in a 4-1 win at Burnden in 1969.
And if you’re looking for omens, and any old omen will do at the moment, SuperJohn played for Millwall before Bolton and SuperKev played for Millwall before Bolton. So, he’s bound to score.
Gavin Ward. Didn’t he use to play for us? How can we lose? We must have the ref on our side, especially as Millwall was the one English side he didn’t play for.
Gav hasn’t refereed either Millwall or Bolton this season, but has taken charge of two Championship games, showing nine cards. In total, over nine games this season he has shown twenty eight yellows and two reds.
He has, knock me down with a feather, never officiated a Bolton game before, and his last Millwall game was the 0-0 with Cardiff last December.
Well, I got 2-1 right last weekend, only the wrong way, and we scored two on Tuesday, but let two in. So, as we’re away, let’s go 2-1. I won on the final result of the Ryder Cup, so here’s a fiver. Get yourself something nice.
A fortnight off (to appoint a new boss?) before Bristol City come to T’Reebok.