Harris: Changing era at Millwall after 18 players released

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

NEIL Harris has said it is a “changing era at the football club” this summer.

Millwall announced their retained list last week and revealed 18 players would not be offered new deals.

Harris believes this will allow the younger players to break through quicker, and have better examples set to them, going forward.

And the Lions manager revealed some  of the players released were not being the best of role models for the academy graduates last season.

“We've let some players move on to different challenges, we're looking at a different Millwall style, different recruitment policy and we're looking at giving younger players a chance to come through.

"That’s the typical Millwall way; you do your apprenticeship and you get your opportunity to play in the first team.

“Yes, I’ll have an opportunity to bring some players in to boost the squad, of course, and I’ll be judged on that and I’ll also be judged on the Millwall way and giving young players the chance by being patient with them and also letting them flourish in the first team.”

Millwall fans have already been given a glimpse of the future with academy products Sid Nelson, Aiden O’Brien, Jack Powell and more recently Jamie Philpot and Alfie Pavey getting a run in the team.

But Harris has said there were some of the players he let go that were not setting the best of examples for the youngsters making their way into the first team.

“Some of the players that have left definitely haven't set a good example for the young lads to follow,” Harris explained.

“That's a big thing for us next season, the young players need to have examples and standards set to them by other players, and if players can't reach those standards they aren't going to be in my squad.”

Being role models to the young crop of talent coming through is something that Harris is keen to get over to any potential signings, and added there were a variety of other reasons most of the 18 were released by the club.

“There's loads of different reasons,” Harris added. “Some don't hit the standard that this club demands – there were certainly some players in the squad we had that didn't hit the standards of professionalism, and in training abilities.

"Sometimes you only see what's on the pitch for 90 minutes, you don't see the whole ins-and-outs.

“I think there's all different reasons for retaining players and letting players leave. I won't necessary talk about individuals at this stage. As a group there we're players, where locality wise, wanted to move away and be nearer home.

“Financially we can't compete with Championship clubs, we couldn't compete with them this year, we certainly can't compete next year with Championship offers for players.

“Some of the players have had offers already at a higher level and we're not prepared to pay ridiculous wages for the level we are at.”

Jay Taylor

(@jay_taylor18)

25 thoughts on “Harris: Changing era at Millwall after 18 players released

  • May 14, 2015 at 09:13
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    Shame to see gueye go, but apart him i'm happy to let them go. Shaun Williams will probably want to play in the Championship, wouldn't be surprised if he went back to Mk Dons

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    • May 14, 2015 at 09:37
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      @SuperNeil: If I can't play any better than he did in the second half of the season we wouldn't miss Williams

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      • May 14, 2015 at 09:46
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        @junkmale: agreed but you can tell he probably was one of the few players who could get into another championship club

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        • May 14, 2015 at 10:16
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          @SuperNeil: the way he played he'll be lucky to get in a pub team..on the bright side hes got the whole summer to work on his game

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  • May 14, 2015 at 09:49
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    We All Know Who They Are So The Guv Should Name And Shame Them All

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  • May 14, 2015 at 09:59
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    They are history, so move on, no point naming and shaming people, as many have said, we know who he is referring to so let them go and poison another club. We will move on and improve the day they walk out of the door.

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  • May 14, 2015 at 10:44
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    It feels almost perverse but I can't say I've ever felt so positive about being relegated.

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  • May 14, 2015 at 11:47
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    I like everything that Harris is saying and doing. The one worrying factor is when he says we couldn't compete financially with the Championship clubs.

    I know we're not a big club, but we're still a Championship level team, even if our income means we're in the lower half of that division. I think we've gone backwards under Berylson and Ambler in terms of ambition, mentality and investment. Hope fully Harris can get us back up, but I'd like to see a more positive change of ownership during that time to if we want to restore some pride in the future.

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    • May 14, 2015 at 13:02
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      @Micky Lions: I don't think we've gone backwards so much, more that the financial side of the game is starting to spread down from the Premier League through a combination of so many ex-Prem teams having parachute money, sleeping giant clubs who can finance big signings and wages through 25,000+ home attendances and so-called minnow clubs that used to be cannon fodder in the Championship and our passport to staying up (such as Brentford and Bournemouth) having big money backers and doing things differently (such as recruitment). Bournemouth also had the advantage of this ridiculous pool of talent sown on the south coast that has provided so many good players for Southampton's academy which they've also benefited from.
      The irony about Bournemouth is, despite their billionaire Russian backer, they've built a team using a young ex-player as manager with some shrewd signings that would've been within our own budget - their record £2.5m signing Tokelo Rantie has been a flop by comparison to their other bargain buys.
      I think we've not been able to keep pace with either the financial side of things at Championship level or the new methods of recruitment.
      If Preston join MK Dons and Bristol City in next season's Championship that's 3 teams we wouldn't have been able to compete with financially. I know it's hard to hear it but it's true, they'll all get higher average gates than we did last season and all be able to attract decent Championship quality players. And the teams coming down from the Prem will obviously have plenty to spend too, it's hard to see who the strugglers are going to be next season - beyond Rotherham of course.
      Let's hope we've got our long term plan sorted now because I can see the money madness continuing to spread down to League One before long...

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      • May 14, 2015 at 13:45
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        @mervpayne: good post merv ,lots of fans don't realise our financial situation,we really do need an arab or russian backer,but i cannot see it happenig.

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      • May 14, 2015 at 14:05
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        @mervpayne: Since when can't we compete with the likes of Preston, Bristol City and MK Dons. We get similar attendances and probably have a greater income. I know the Premiership has skewered things, but with a decent owner and CEO, much smaller clubs like Bournemouth and Brentford have shown what's possible. Even others without sugar daddies such as Huddersfield, Burnley and Sheff Wed don't seem to stagger from one disater to another the way we have.

        The truth is that our club has been badly run for several years now and nothing has changed at board level to fill me with any confidence. Thankfully we have a manager now who understands Millwall and he's someone we can all believe in. But at the end of the day he's having to strip the squad down to the bare basics and start again on a shoestring budget. Part of that pleases me, but it also tells me how we've gone full circle under Berylson.

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        • May 14, 2015 at 14:53
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          @Micky Lions: You are completely right,nothing can really change with the mindset we have at the top of the club.The board's greatest achievment has been convincing a lot of supporters that their lack of aspiration should be meekly accepted.

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        • May 14, 2015 at 22:14
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          @Micky Lions: in your post do you actuall think Bournemouth and brentford are smaller clubs than us??? Not sure how you think that. We are also not a championship team hence why we are in league 1 next season which in fact is about our level. It's nice having the ambition to get into the too of the championship and pl but that is a distant dream until we are properly backed with serious money! We are not going to do anything special next year and I firmly believe it's going to be a struggle yet again. It will prob take 3-5 years to get bk in the championship.

          The club needs to do more to get the stadium filled up either by lowering ticket prices or letting kids in for a quid!

          2 top strikers needed and defo a goalkeeper! It can be done but not in a million years is it going to happen over night!

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          • May 14, 2015 at 22:36
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            @millwalltel: true.... Filling the stadium is key to our success.... We have a massive sleeping fancies and it needs to be targeted for our future...

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          • May 15, 2015 at 11:14
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            @millwalltel: My comments aren't based on just this season gone. I don't how long you've been going, but let me tell you Bournemouth and Brentford are both micky-mouse clubs that yo-yo between the third and fourth divisions of English football. By rights we are a lower second division (championship) side. Just check the stats.

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        • May 14, 2015 at 23:31
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          @Micky Lions: Big reasons why we wouldn't compete with these three had we stayed up: They WOULD have had bigger average home crowds than us which is the bread and butter of it all, bums on seats = pounds in the bank.
          Secondly, and crucial to our demise from the Championship over the last 3 years, it doesn't matter how much we want to sign players or how much we offer to sign them, if they don't want to play for Millwall, they won't sign!!! Don't blame Kenny Jackett, Andy Ambler or John Berylson for us not signing Chris Wood or Charlie Austin. Blame Wood and Austin for saying "No" ! and stop kidding yourself.

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      • May 14, 2015 at 18:52
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        @mervpayne:

        Good post. Although I don't agree that Southampton or Bournemouth have been lucky due to strength of the local players. Southampton's recruitment is far and wide. I grew up over 200 miles from Southampton, yet there were Southampton reps in all the local schools. If you invest the money and make the effort, you will develop youth into a reasonable team.

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        • May 14, 2015 at 23:35
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          @Pittsey: fair dos mate I wasn't aware of that but it only goes to show how behind the times we are with recruitment and with so much talent even on our own doorstep at places like Bromley and Dulwich it's unforgiveable.

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  • May 14, 2015 at 14:29
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    i know its not a good idea to cry over spilt milk but the day the board failed to secure the signing of chris wood we started to sink from playoff hopefuls to where we are now, lets hope we can turn things around with neil at the helm.

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    • May 14, 2015 at 23:51
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      @butty: it's not the board's fault we didn't sign Wood! He came to us on loan for the same reason he went to Birmingham and Cardiff on loan: to get a big permanent move to a Premier league team OR a Championship team with genuine Premier league ambitions and the cash to match it.

      Have you ever used Ebay? Did you bid for something you REALLY wanted but some flash c**t just kept outbidding you no matter what you offered? Well that was us with Wood. And Huckerby back in 1996. And with any other player that the majority of Championship competed with us with last season so stop kidding yourself!

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      • May 15, 2015 at 14:20
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        i am not alone in my regret that we never signed wood at the time of his leaving we had a great chance to make the playoffs kenny was getting assurances from him that he would sign for us as it turned out i think he made the wrong choice in going to liecester were he lost his star status and became a small cog in a big wheel,he now has a confidence problem, which he may have had prior at w b a as you know millwall can change players for the better as in his case we did.

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  • May 14, 2015 at 14:57
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    Personally I think our team last season could more than compete on the pitch, 5 more games with Harris in charge and we would have stayed up, 15 clean sheets, imagine that with the same settled back 4 playing basic 4-4-2 football.
    I honestly think with the squad of players we had then 10-15th was a realistic finish.
    Shame the manager kept f****** about with formation, style and personnel.

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    • May 15, 2015 at 00:03
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      @brooker: I agree BUT: let's say for argument's sake we held on at Rotherham and stayed up or we beat Brighton, Cardiff and Blackburn and stayed up. Harris would've had the same big clear out he's had now but, when trying to bid for players who can do a job in the Championship next season just to help us cling on again he'd have found himself way back in the queue. Also, our young talent would've found it much harder to establish themselves at suchva competitive level and we'd be back in the same cycle of loaning old players in to keep us afloat who have no affinity with the club. We need this new start.

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  • May 15, 2015 at 00:37
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    ..oh and while we're all getting all frustrated about Chris Wood not signing for us, did you watch his (non) appearances for Leicester this season or even notice him at Ipswich lately? Could've been another Kim Grant...

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