Harris: Millwall to plan for the long-term after relegation

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris is planning for a long-term Millwall team after relegation to League One.

Harris, along with chairman John Berylson, has admitted the Lions have been too short-sighted when planning for a new season.

And with 18 players being released at the end of their contracts, planning for the long haul can commence with the Lions' youngsters at the heart of Harris's plans going forward.

“For too long we’ve been worrying about tomorrow without looking far enough ahead,” Harris said. “We’re spending a lot of money on the academy and on the future players of the club, and they have to be the focus of what we put into place.

“If it’s not an immediate success with results on the pitch next season, that’s because these boys need more experience. We’ve seen with Sid Nelson and Aiden O’Brien that they’re not the finished article. They need time to develop.”

The Grange Hotel in Watford was the venue for Millwall's end of season meeting on Wednesday, and Harris revealed it was a learning curve to be privy to boardroom decisions.

“It was eye-opening,” Harris said. “To see for myself the difficult decisions that have to be taken at boardroom level.

“I don’t think any of us can really imagine what goes on behind-closed-doors and the decisions the board have to make on behalf of the club, especially after relegation.

“But it really was a fantastic couple of days. We’ve got a chairman and a board who are fully committed to supporting the club, and it was a time for us to get together and plan for the next few months and the next few years as well.

“I’m certainly not taking it as a given that I’ll be sitting here in two years as manager – although I certainly hope to be – but for the long-term future of the club, the board are desperate to plan for the future. They don’t want an overnight fix.”

Harris says his optimism for the future is shared by the decision-makers at The Den.

“All of the directors – those who have supported the club for years and those who’ve come on board during John Berylson’s reign – are really positive,” he said.

He added: “What helps them is that we’ve got a really positive fan base at the moment. But we certainly have to be careful not to get carried away because it’s not as if we won every game at the end of the season.

“We had some positive performances, big results and a semi-feel-good factor because we were using our own players we have to be patient with these boys because they are young and naive. We have to be fully aware of that.”

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)

67 thoughts on “Harris: Millwall to plan for the long-term after relegation

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:42
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    It all sounds positive and its great that the young players will be given a chance. With a mix of some experience and the no fear attitude the youth can bring things are looking up and we seem to be going in the right direction. Lets all get behind Bomber because he is showing some passion and has the club at heart and wants whats best for Millwall not himself. Good luck Bomber.

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    • May 10, 2015 at 00:38
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      @LETEMCOME: yes it does all sound positive! Millwall are f*****! Just read your new squad for next year and it sounds absolutely pony! You are dogshit hahahaha

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      • May 10, 2015 at 12:41
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        @Fmac: I wonder what sad set of supporters you belong to. Do you wear an anorak by any chance.

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  • May 8, 2015 at 13:19
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    Bomber, if you can beat Cancer, then running MFC will be a walk in the park!
    You know what Millwall is all about and the 'wall faithful will be behind you 110%, just stay true to your beliefs.
    P.S - A little bit of advise. Whatever Ambler tells you to do, do the complete opposite!

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  • May 8, 2015 at 13:27
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    So can we expect some of these young players to be given long term contracts and not have to worry at the end of every season that bigger clubs are going to come sniffing around if we are successful and take our best players ? If you are thinking long term we should be signing players long term no 1 year contracts,no quick fixes,and limited loan players,_?

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  • May 8, 2015 at 13:31
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    Every time I read one of his articles on here, I think why oh why did the board wait so long to take action that would have moved Coco out and given Neil a fighting chance of keeping us up. But I am sure that as has been said he has the Wall at heart and we will do well with him at the helm next season.

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    • May 8, 2015 at 15:54
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      @Barnlion: it's probably worked out for the best in the long term Barnlion. Shown the team has fight but trying to compete in championship with a young manager and young team would probably be a struggle. These youngsters can compete in div 1 and we can build on that over the next two years. Promotion in two or three seasons.

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  • May 8, 2015 at 14:31
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    I love and agree with all I'm hearing about a new direction and change regarding giving our young players a chance to play and improve. But if things don't go to plan will panic set in only time will tell it's brave it's millwall come on you lions

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  • May 8, 2015 at 16:45
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    team for next year.
    Forde
    Cummings. Nelson. Beevers. New LB
    Cowan-hall. Powell. Abdou. Fred
    Obrien. Gregory.

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    • May 8, 2015 at 16:51
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      @block 28:

      Like that except forde time for him to go I think high earner and too prone to mistake from distance good shot stopper but regularly beaten outside the box

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    • May 8, 2015 at 17:03
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      @block 28:

      I personally think Upson will be our main midfielder for next season. Has show glimses that he could be a class act, and in League 1 will probably add 8-10 goals himself

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      • May 9, 2015 at 07:23
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        We can't just let Forde go as he is under contract (unless we can flog him or pay him off but we can't afford to do that).

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  • May 8, 2015 at 16:52
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    I'd like to see someone like Paddy Madden for another option up top. An experienced Centre Half,
    a left back with a bit of pace about him; adds a bit of width, an advanced midfielder who gets a few assists and chips in with a few goals, as well as a back up for Cowan-Hall and Fred on the wings.

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  • May 8, 2015 at 17:15
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    I think Pompey are penniless c**** miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Love Millwall and EDL NO SURRENDER

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  • May 8, 2015 at 19:49
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    @ block 28: UPSON for me in that line up, I see you have no WILLIAMS either, mmmmmmmm

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  • May 8, 2015 at 20:16
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    must build a team around sumbody.cant think of anybody to take that role.any suggestions

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  • May 8, 2015 at 20:18
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    5 or 6 players have to come in yet......experience needed in the squad especially in defence ....we cant be too lightwight ....pace and power needed.....that idiot Holloway is commentating on play off hes talking about Brentford needing to change their shape.....he never learns does he

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    • May 8, 2015 at 20:42
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      @SE17 Lion:

      Saw that I am wanting to sent a tweet in saying what have you got that no good loony cxxx on your show commentating about football mans a disgrace

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  • May 8, 2015 at 20:26
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    The healine to this article speaks volumes as to the clubs aspirations "Planning for the long term"
    Presumably what that means is until the ground is sold / redeveloped.
    A far better headline would be "PLANNING FOR SUCCESS" but I suspect the low wage cost option is the agenda - another season of mediocrity - if not worse.
    Youngsters on low wages will get us relegated again- we wouldn't have beaten eithe Swindon or Sheffield who were on the TV last night with a bunch of kids
    We have let too may decent Championship players go - most of whom will still be playing in the Championship next year - while we are slumming around in Div 1.
    Bailey is still a class act - and so is Chaplow who has gone to Ipswich - who could be in the Premiership next year.
    I have no confidence at all - because we have no money - just see how much Wigan spend to get back up

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    • May 8, 2015 at 20:44
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      @crow191049:

      You speak about bailey and Chaplow who played about 15 games between them last year but cost the club 1 million a year plus I don't see your point ?

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  • May 8, 2015 at 21:13
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    Id love to see Holloway managing a Div 1 team next season.....it would be a sell out at the Den to give him a welcome.....

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  • May 8, 2015 at 21:15
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    See Fred mentioned a lot on here but still really has to prove himself and be able to last the distance think upson will be main attacking central midfielder with either Jimmy or Williams holding also need a lump up front to knock CB s about to give other striker the space needed

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  • May 9, 2015 at 03:00
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    New GK
    New-RB Nelson New-CB New-RB
    PCH Upson Williams Fred
    Marquis Gregory

    New=Experienced Player or young & hungry....

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  • May 9, 2015 at 07:11
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    Once again I read posts which some I agree with and some if feel are to optimistic. The kids will not have the pyhisical or mental strength to compete 46 games over the season. I agree JB should have got rid of IH after the Bradford 4-0 but did not want to pay the £1mil compensation. JB is a business man but does not put money up for quality players to have competed in championship. He is hanging around for some returns not the football maybe redevelopment where he can recoup some money then he can get back to the USA I am sorry to say we will struggle again next season in league one hopefully we can stay up but without money being available on quality and experience players then you cannot rely on all kids. Obrien and nelson yes with one or two being introduced during the season is fine but not six or seven it will not work. League 1 is a crap league and it is the teams who are physical who get results route one football shovel foot player like tony craig punt from back to forwards is the name of the game resulting in a neck ache. Friend of mine watched the Gills play Fleetwood and saud the football wad crap and Marquis was dire not syre whywe bothered with him as KJ never really rated him only got a chance when morrison was sent off. Without player investment div 2 could be calling. I see Mcdonald scored fir motherwell last night bad mistake getting rid as work rate was good.

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  • May 9, 2015 at 07:11
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    Once again I read posts which some I agree with and some if feel are to optimistic. The kids will not have the pyhisical or mental strength to compete 46 games over the season. I agree JB should have got rid of IH after the Bradford 4-0 but did not want to pay the £1mil compensation. JB is a business man but does not put money up for quality players to have competed in championship. He is hanging around for some returns not the football maybe redevelopment where he can recoup some money then he can get back to the USA I am sorry to say we will struggle again next season in league one hopefully we can stay up but without money being available on quality and experience players then you cannot rely on all kids. Obrien and nelson yes with one or two being introduced during the season is fine but not six or seven it will not work. League 1 is a crap league and it is the teams who are physical who get results route one football shovel foot player like tony craig punt from back to forwards is the name of the game resulting in a neck ache. Friend of mine watched the Gills play Fleetwood and saud the football wad crap and Marquis was dire not syre whywe bothered with him as KJ never really rated him only got a chance when morrison was sent off. Without player investment div 2 could be calling. I see Mcdonald scored for motherwell last night bad mistake getting rid as work rate was good.

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    • May 9, 2015 at 10:08
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      @markas: I am with you completely 100% - but people just dont want to see it.
      If the team is mainly youngsters - they will get eaten alive - a lot of people on here are caught up with all the Harris euphoria. I posted some time earlier about some of the quality we have let go - Bailey / Chaplow / Mcdonald etc - and got lashed.
      Wigan will spend big time to come back up - and as stated from what I saw on TV the other night we would not have beaten either Swindon or Sheffield

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      • May 9, 2015 at 14:18
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        @crow191049: youve got Hollowayitis....Chopper knows whats required.....doom and gloom will spoil your summer

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  • May 9, 2015 at 10:31
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    We will get some experience in but we need these players to be on the pitch for 35 plus games. bailey has not been able to do that. Chaplow was shocking at Blackpool and Bradford away. two massive games. Did not want to be here so goodbye. Keep calm, we have started our rebuild early and are in a much better place with the Board,management and core players we have than the last time we got relegated.

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  • May 9, 2015 at 12:11
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    We need to get the players in that Bomber wants early on not wait until deadline day or 2 weeks before we kick off then we can see what aspirations the board have before the start of next season I can't get to excited until we know what support the youngsters will get only I agree we could stay in Div1 for a long time or go further down Marquis did not set Gillingham alight after his good start their

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  • May 9, 2015 at 12:21
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    With the money saved on wages with the big clear out and players taking wage cuts - does this mean we can now afford a SCOREBOARD ???????????/

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  • May 9, 2015 at 13:38
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    Didn't someone famously say " you can't win nothing with kids" the first dozen games next year will tell us about how far these youngsters can go!! And with a blend of experience at the back, as well as a proven league one goal scorer - I'd like to see JET here, we should be there or there abouts, keep the faith - in bomber and the long term we trust COYL

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    • May 9, 2015 at 15:29
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      @sjk1768: J E Thomas is more of a midfielder and only scored nine goals,not sure he is what we need tbf.

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      • May 10, 2015 at 12:20
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        @LETEMCOME: so a goal scoring midfielder !!!!! Erm I bet some of our strikers this year would settle for 9 goals against there names this season, it would be an option for us that's all I'm saying, it would strengthen the squad don't you think ?

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        • May 10, 2015 at 13:44
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          @sjk1768: Yeah nine from midfield is an improvement for us and would strengthen the team,I was not saying you were wrong just thought you were meaning an out and out striker to come in.

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          • May 10, 2015 at 17:57
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            @LETEMCOME: no I didn't mean him as an out & out striker, just an idea that he can play wide as cover or just behind the front 2 maybe, also he's still only 24 and a free agent so wouldn't cost anything, it's just his wage demands and wether he's holding out for a championship club

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          • May 10, 2015 at 17:57
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            @LETEMCOME: no I didn't mean him as an out & out striker, just an idea that he can play wide as cover or just behind the front 2 maybe, also he's still only 24 and a free agent so wouldn't cost anything, it's just his wage demands and wether he's holding out for a championship club.

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    • May 11, 2015 at 22:59
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      @sjk1768: "Didn't someone famously say " you can't win nothing with kids"

      Yep - Hanson said it about Man Utd the first season they were Champions

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  • May 9, 2015 at 14:23
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    Just read the news that we have a promising young left back in our academy that we should hold on to and play as soon as he is old enough, 14 year old Junio Tiensa, Chelsea, liverpool and man city all want him as he is a supposedly modern day fullback comfortable in both boxes and can play at CB.

    Its kids like this at this age that need to know the door to the first team is open and they can get on here and play regular first team football, in 4 years time he can be a regular left back.
    Get an england call and go for millions and be a household name.
    or
    He will get snapped up by Chelsea who will have to pay compensation of a can of tizer and a pack of hubba-bubba, sit in their youth team, get no games and end up on the scrap heap disillusioned with the game.

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    • May 9, 2015 at 14:29
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      @brooker: our USP needs to be "You will get games if your good enough regardless of age"
      The big teams will need to sign more and more young home grown players and this is the smaller clubs golden age to reap rewards.

      If we can get the message across that they WILL get first team football here and go on to bigger and better in their 20's and WILL get picked over pointless foreigners, they have a future, then we can persuade them (and more importantly their parents) that this is a great club to start at.

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  • May 9, 2015 at 21:41
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    watching fred tonight for Wycombe not done much on the ball as a sub - sam saunders on the other hand on loan from Brentford is just who we need (NEIL - Listening ?? ) - different class

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  • May 9, 2015 at 22:35
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    SE17 Lion I will come back in December I have no problem with Neil Harris great player for the wall. Still feel Neil needed a number 2 position and someone like Sean Dyche played for us and as experience as manager. What I am saying is you cannot expect promotion with all kids in the team you need experience more. I feel 6 new recruits 3 at back 2 in midfield one up front proven goal scorer 20+ goals a season. If Forde is sold then also a GK.

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    • May 10, 2015 at 00:00
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      @markas: see who Neil brings in.....then say if hes good enough hes got all the fans behind him football is simple Div 1 players are there for a reason

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  • May 10, 2015 at 02:42
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    I'll lay my cards on the table, Bomber is my Millwall hero. Took over from Teddy, Hurlock and Sir Les years ago. Watched him, sat in the CBL on his 2nd stint and listened to idiots slate him. People that didn't understand his movement, his footballing brain. I stood and watched the same process years before with Ted. Unless these players weren't banging in 20+ goals a season! they got stick. The Millwall way. Those who rise above this, and perform, 100% commitment to the shirt! the club! the family, were excepted, and loved. Bomber in his short reign has implemented just that. He knows what it takes to succeed at our, very different and special club. The massive balls he's shown to clear out the deadwood and old furniture has sent a message of intent. He cares about Millwall, first and foremost. We haven't had such refreshing changes at SE16 for a long time. Was his hands already dealt because so many were out of contract? Yes. Would another manager done the same? Probably. But in those last few months, after JB finally saw the light, everybody had hope, why? Because we finally had a man in charge that got it, understood what it means to play for Millwall. We were relegated at Christmas, going down has probably down us a favour. He'll bring in the seasoned pros he wants to balance the youth. I haven't looked forward to a season so much in years. It might take us one, two or five years to get back to the championship, but we'll be a much better club when we do. Shrewsbury away.... Can't wait.

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  • May 10, 2015 at 09:01
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    Players Released Just A Thought Experience Required Defender/ Midfield David Dunne Blackburn Forwards Craig Makel Smith Brighton. / Nick Maynard / Danny Gabbdion Cardiff And Last Steve Morrison Bleeds I Know I Will Get Slated But Three Of Them In That Div With The Kids Would Terrorise Some Of Those Sides

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    • May 10, 2015 at 10:03
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      @S.A.S: experience is required but All of the players listed are over 30+ with injury problems and have not played many games in the past few years lets build slow but surely with the right players making the right noise.
      The upson and Williams are out there .

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    • May 10, 2015 at 12:16
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      @S.A.S: what you don't know with any of these players is what is in their head and heart - that is the job Neil has to do , get pros who are fully committed

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  • May 10, 2015 at 10:29
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    @ TIMCHIMES: yeah, sam Saunders is a good little player, he's been kicking around the south london /essex area for a fair few years but as usual we didn't pick him up. He's 31 now so maybe a bit late now unfortunately , some brentford guys I know say he does well when coming on as a sub but when he starts games he don't seem to do it.

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    • May 10, 2015 at 12:11
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      @bordersarebest0170:
      yes I know it was L2 yesterday - but he would be great as a sub or for 20 games - wouldn't cost the earth at his age - the difference in experience and quality between him and Fred was very clear for any one to see - the thing is, he would look second rate to the current Brentford squad but so would most of our team that is left

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  • May 10, 2015 at 14:50
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    I think there's lots to be positive about next year.

    Firstly Upson and Williams are top midfielders at this level and with abdou our cm is not too bad. People slate fordey but 15 clean sheets in an awful season is testament to his ability.

    We also have a bunch of youngsters that have learned under Harris what it means to play for our club and with the right balance of youth and experience we will be ok.

    League one also isn't as tough as the last time we were there Southampton Norwich Leeds etc aren't there to blow budgets.

    I think Gregory will find his feet next season and with the right partner/supply from pacey wingers we could be a real threat.

    I think we need a CB LB wingers and a striker.

    next season will be tough but i think relegation will do us good.

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    • May 10, 2015 at 16:14
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      @grant_bazza88: good post mate I think we need a 2 good centre halfs one that has a good in game management like robbo was, when it's time to shut up shop it's time to see it out scream shout get people in for the battle "games like Brentford 2-2 we end up winning" and the other centre half could be a Zak whitbread pure class or a wardy big unit neat and tidy but we need to have Sid nelson in and around but his by far not ready for a full season. Left back I would like a good old fashion clipper were the centre half thinks oh F''' it's coming back in the box.

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    • May 10, 2015 at 18:02
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      @grant_bazza88:

      totally right - this is the weakest L1 on paper for a long time - teams with fewest resources - if we cant finish top 6 against that lot - put it this way, who are the 6 teams that should beat us

      teams coming down Wigan ?? where has their money gone - blackpool - shambles

      teams coming up - burton shrewsbury bury and southend/Wycombe - surely we must beat those

      the rest - sheff utd , Bradford, Preston or Swindon whoever doesn't go up - even chesterfield made the playoffs this year

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  • May 10, 2015 at 17:19
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    Would be interesting to know of all those gone if any were offered contracts but turned it down because of playing in L1

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  • May 10, 2015 at 21:22
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    Before the next story breaks-which will hopefully be some signings- I want to say that having read a multitude of opinions on here as to who we should sign- and it's all a matter of opinion -but the point that's being lost on here is that Bomber obviously knows a sack of s**** when he sees it. Hence the departure of Shittu, Dunne. Hoyte, Hoff etc. and I've personally been calling for the axe to fall on that sack cack for months despite a lot of negatives about my comments and the fact that Dunne especially is ' Millwall through and through' etc. Well, so am I, and I can see a crock of crap when I see one and those 18 that will now find their playing days in League one, the conference or lower deserve it. Woolford went because he and his agent tried to get him to Leeds when he saw we were doomed and Bomber has seen Goodman at the Academy level and obviously doesn't see him being good enough.
    Forward we go. After three seasons of feigning we're good enough with two very, very poor managers we're in the hands of someone who knows what he's doing and thank f*** for that. Finally.
    Can't wait until August.

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