Neil Harris: Millwall must embrace "big summer" ahead

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris says Millwall must embrace the task of rebuilding after they were relegated to League One.

Rotherham moved four points clear of the Lions with one game to play by beating Reading on Tuesday, a result which also condemned Wigan to the drop.

Harris, who took over from Ian Holloway on an interim basis in March, was yesterday confirmed as the club's permanent manager.

Millwall have lost just three of Harris' nine games in charge but the recent upturn in results and performances has not been enough to save them.

Speaking after the Lions' fate was sealed, Harris said: "At a difficult time for the club, we have to be disappointed but we cannot be despondent.

"There's frustration and disappointment but not despondency.

"We have to look immediately at our plans for next year and be as optimistic as we can be about rebuilding the squad and taking it in a different direction.

"There's an opportunity to sign new players and integrate more of our academy lads into the team.

"It's a big summer for the club and one that we must embrace. We have to look at this as a great chance to build a team similar to the promotion sides of 2001 and 2010.

"Where we go from here is very important – we have to recruit the right players of the right age and build on the last nine games.

"The fans have identified with a real Millwall team and that has to be the future for the club."

Chairman John Berylson he hopes Harris will reign at The Den for years to come.

"I want Neil to be our manager for a long time," he said. "He is very certain about what he wants for the future.

"I believe that Neil can recruit the right type of players, both young and old, because he's the sort of person that will appeal to good players.

"He was one himself and knows what it takes.

"He also recognises and respects quality. Neil has done a very good job and the question of when I would hire him has always been in the back of my mind."

Having invested heavily in Holloway, Berylson believes that a Millwall man such as Harris, despite his inexperience, could be a more natural fit for the club.

"You have to find someone special, have a bit of luck and get someone who can grow with you," he added.

"That's what Kenny Jackett did and that's hopefully what Neil will do. I don't think it's as simple as paying a manager £1million and getting guaranteed value for money.

"Prior to Tuesday, I knew that we had to rebuild whether it was in League One or the Championship.

"I'm tired of not winning and the last few years have been really hard for all of us. I recognise that we've struggled for too long so it is time to stand back and fix it."

Alex Aldridge


17 thoughts on “Neil Harris: Millwall must embrace "big summer" ahead

  • April 30, 2015 at 08:51

    well lets see how he is backed up...he knows who he wants and what he does not want..get rid of the "players " who thinks are owed a living and bring in some who want to graft and lets get on the bandwagon to help him but lets get rid of the dross who we have seen

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  • April 30, 2015 at 09:10

    So many of the right things said in this article from both Harris and Berylson it is very promising.

    Harris "It's a big summer for the club and one that we must embrace. We have to look at this as a great chance to build a team similar to the promotion sides of 2001 and 2010.

    Berylson "I'm tired of not winning and the last few years have been really hard for all of us. I recognise that we've struggled for too long so it is time to stand back and fix it."

    Just hope JB doesn’t leave it all on Harris shoulders and brings in an Advisor IF Harris and Livers feel they need one to take charge of other areas of the club while they purely concentrate on the coaching and tactics for the players. Coppell probably fits the bill but whoever it would be, it needs to be a football person.

    This relegation feels like a blessing in disguise and one where collectively so many people feel so very positive about the situation and that is the right winning attitude we going to need if we are to get out of League One at the first attempt. If we had survived in the Championship by the skin of our teeth you feel that the Board would think a restructuring was still needed but not to the extent it really needs in all areas at the club. They now know that the club needs specialist people in all areas to excel instead of leaving everything to one man and his dog to dabble around in when they have time.

    I believe this is the start of one of the most promising chapter’s in Millwall’s history since the George Graham era because it’s going to have a good solid foundation to it that and will last for many years to come.

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    • April 30, 2015 at 09:27

      @Bexley_Lion: I agree with most of what you said here...the one thing that does worry me is lets hope its not a false dawn...I have seen most things like this before having followed Millwall for 60 years ...through thick and thin

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  • April 30, 2015 at 09:30

    I too am looking forward to next year, this season since the first two matches and up to Neil taking over has been one of panic with the number of loan players coming in, never the same team, changing tactics and formations. I think we have seen that Bombers way is a settled core side with adjustments only as the game goes on, it is also up to us not to put the pressure on the team both players and management to keep changing if Neil can get the basics right lets move forward in a more measured way.
    Another point is that next season we are not facing teams who have the advantage of a parachute payment maybe Wigan might have one last 'top up' so we are playing on a much even playing field. Looking at average attendances we will, if we stay as we are, would be in the top three allowing for a reduced number of away fans we will have, especially considering the number of London teams we will not play next year. I can actually see attendances increasing if we start on a roll and the Den becomes the fortress it once was.

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  • April 30, 2015 at 09:41

    I remember reading all these comments this time last year.
    It's his first full season in charge, restructure from bottom up, training ground etc, get his own players in, build for future.
    I'm not believing any of it until I see it next season :)

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  • April 30, 2015 at 10:05

    How can anyone with a brain on their head be positive about relegation for f..ks sake. We are now in div 1 and will be playing teams like Crewe, Gillingham, Blackpool etc instead of QPR, Fulham, etc, etc.
    It took Sir K Jackett seasons to get out of div 1 with an average team and youngsters are now the dream to get us promoted - get real. Bomber a legend but seasoned Lower League Manager not sure.
    POSITIVE NO WAY - have watched Wall for years but now after all the board managerial cock ups which have put Wall in debt as well no thanks. Be lucky. Biggest match of the season next year Southend might get 8,000 for that one.

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    • April 30, 2015 at 10:29

      @Mekongriver: many of the things you have said are true.but i would of felt so much negative if coco was still here..also has mentioned it could be a blessing in discuise ..cos it gives the youth another full year at a lower level..has for buying players.yeah right i dont think so

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  • April 30, 2015 at 10:41

    It's the hand we've been dealt, play it or fold, your choice. It is still a business, and needs to be run accordingly, too much money spent on IH, only option this year is a cheap option, promote from within, also as funds are drying up and transfer embargos on the horizon, we will need to promote players from within, who knows the U21 team??? oh yeah Bomber.
    he may not be the perfect answer but everyone has to start somewhere, I'm sure Eddie Howe had his detractors, "he's too young, inexperienced, doesnt know what he is doing" looks like he is doing alright.

    Sometimes a young fresh pair of eyes are better than the old smoke stained ones.

    Great managers aren't going to come here, even good managers aren't coming here, that leaves old managers who don't have jobs (probably for a reason) or young inexperienced ones.
    I'd rather have a young hungry manager who remembers how to play the modern game. and if i had to pick a young hungry manager, he'd have to know Millwall, so e have narrowed it down to 1.


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    • April 30, 2015 at 12:04

      @brooker: i forgot about next jan's transfer this summer will be the only one of the we have to make sure we get it right..
      A balance of experienced and young players will be the way to go..cos as alan hanson once said you cant win nothing with kids

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  • April 30, 2015 at 12:08

    Good Luck to Neil & Livers , its a positive appointment & one they both deserve & so does Millwall , in the content there both one of our own. However lets be a bit real now next season is not going to be a walk in the park , history tells us its hard to get out of any league & we never done it at the first attempt in 2001 & 2010, the latter we had to go via the playoffs, also we had a good hiding from Bradford earlier this season , some may say the clown was in charge then , but Bradford also done Chelsea !! so Div 1 is not going to be a comfort zone, Neil has to start getting rid of the dead wood , keep what is needed & get some in that are going to do a job for Millwall, please please Neil no loanees.

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  • April 30, 2015 at 12:27

    loans maybe the only option in January but make sure they count.
    If contract is up in June I'd ask them once if they want to re-sign, if they say no, say see you later.
    Don't get drawn into anything, if they have to think long and hard then they know in their hearts its really a no. Cut back pronto pronto, if we get rid of Hoyte, woolford, dunne, forde, hoff, GTF, Martinez, marquis, briggs webster, shittu, fuller 12 players out the door, plus loans, harding and hoover, 14 out in total. plus maybe magaye so 15

    leaves gerrar/king so - new half decent GK or try the kids
    cummings, siafa, nelson, goodman, beevers, so a good strong CB and proven LB
    Upson, williams, abdou,bailey,martin, PCH, fred, powel, a good mix of young and old in midfield, don't think we need much to do there (maybe a good strong CM for when bailey is injured)
    Gregory, o'brien, philpott, so again we still need that older decent striker or 2.

    total out 14-15
    total in 5-6
    smaller squad, topped up with youth players when injuries get the better of us.

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  • April 30, 2015 at 13:43

    I agree with much of this but I can't see the value of keeping Bailey as he is nearly always injured. I also think Bailey and Martin's contracts will not be renewed because we can't afford it in Div 1. I would keel Woolford as he is more than good enough for Div 1

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    • April 30, 2015 at 14:17

      @junkmale: woolford will go on a free, probably to Leeds if they keep redfearn.
      When Bailey is fit, he plays and gives it everything. His contract could do with a tweak to a pay as you play deal, but after the last 2 seasons who owes JB for all the rehab

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  • April 30, 2015 at 13:49

    I was concerned this may have come too soon for Harris, but to be honest I can't thank of anyone I would rather run the club at this time. The club now needs to back him by investing and getting players in, we do not want to be in the position Blackpool were in beginning of this season, with 8 signed pros on the books.

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  • April 30, 2015 at 17:04

    i think the recruitment process is already under way as the new recruitment team have been active since Febuary, Neil and Mick Harford were at the Colchester v Swindon match on Tuesday night as Neil already new that the managers job was his. Keeping the right players and letting go of the others is Neil's first big task then brining in the right ones is his next, if he manages to do both of those with a fair percentage of success then we should have a good season to look forward to. Not as easy as I have tried to lay out but Neil Dave and all contracted players have a good summers rest and come back with all good intentions to begin the climb back.

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  • May 2, 2015 at 02:13

    Lovely 2 hear COYL onwards and upwards

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