Friday, 7 November 2014

The Den – Millwall FC

4th November 2014

Millwall 2-2 Blackburn Rovers

In the dying embers of this occasionally fiery encounter, the Millwall fans set up, to the tune of Go West, the taunting chant of:

Two-nil…and You fucked-it up; Two-nil…and You fucked-it up.

Which probably sums up this match far more eloquently than I ever could.

For the Blackburn fans must be wondering yet, how they failed to return back north without a comfortable three points.  But not the visiting players – for I think each and every one of them knows exactly how it was they "fucked-it up".  It was because to a man they made the elemental error of assuming this game was done and dusted after they went ahead 2-0, minutes after their hosts had been reduced to ten men.

Blackburn had probably shaded a pretty much featureless first period; scoring the only goal of the half after poor marking at a free-kick allowed Rovers’ Irish central defender Shane DUFFY two opportunities to score – him burying the second.

Millwall had been fairly toothless prior to this, with only Shaun Williams looking as if he had the guile to pick the locks on the visiting defence – but too often his forwards either failed to correctly read his intentions, or else they carelessly wandered offside.

Just on the hour Millwall found themselves down to ten men when referee Darren Deadman (how the Millwall fans must have wished!) presented a straight red-card to homester Andy Wilkins following a challenge with Ben Marshall.  I was admittedly some way away from the incident, but it looked to me like your run-of-the-mill 50:50 ball, with both players sliding in to the tackle: the difference being Marshal afterwards curled up into a little ball and squealed for his mum.  Not surprisingly, he was scampering around like a randy rabbit soon after he re-joined play a few minutes later.

Whilst Millwall were still reorganising, Rovers’ Rudy GESTEDE headed in (another free-kick), and the Blackburn players promptly took out their pipes and slippers thinking their work for the evening was over.

Even the loss of a goal to Millwall’s programme cover-star Lee MARTIN failed to rouse the Rovers lads from their lethargy, and I for one was absolutely delighted when my man WILLIAMS belted in a sublime equaliser from what looked all of 25-yards plus.

The home fans around me went predictably bonkers at this point – a far cry from a merciless first-half when they progressively berated their players as “Shit”, “Cunts” and finally, most damming of all apparently, “Tarts”.

But I have to say, once the Millwall players finally rolled their sleeves up to set about their opponents, the crowd got behind their side to a man, and I am sure almost willed in that late equaliser. 

The Den - Millwall FC

The Den - Millwall FC

I really rather liked this bus.

Panorama of The Den

Millwall v Blackburn - November 2014

The hardy souls who travelled down from Blackburn.

Panorama of The Den

I was surprised to discover Scott McDonald was still only 31,
for it seems an age ago I remember him first turning out for Motherwell.

Millwall v Blackburn - November 2014

Blackburn's Ben Marshall at more risk of drowning than from Wilkinson's challenge.

Millwall v Blackburn - November 2014

The Barry Kitchener Stand at The Den.

The North Stand at The Den
Shane Williams' 88th minute equaliser 

Shane Williams' 88th minute equaliser 

Shane Williams' 88th minute equaliser 

Prior to me making my way south of the river to The New Den, Wife and I had done some of the tourist-thing and had decided to visit St Pauls Cathedral – not having been inside since our first visit to London some 35 years ago.

But we both gave out involuntary ungodly squawks when we noted the price for entry was a whopping £16.50 each. Heaven Can Wait, we decided, and instead chose to meander the few hundred yards to one of London’s hidden treasures: The Postman’s Garden just off Aldersgate Street.  The tragic tales of self-sacrifice commemorated on the Watts Monument, I would suggest being far more spiritually uplifting than anything to be found beneath St Pauls' dome.

And it was free.

The Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice is housed in Postmans' Park in London,
and consists of three dozen or so ceramic tiles each
relating the story of an individual who died helping others.

This tile I found particularly intriguing

The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman's Park, London.

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