The A-Z of Millwall – V is for… Victory

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

Victory. An act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.

When it's over your local rivals, it's all the sweeter.

Whether it's Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace or West Ham United, the history books state that Millwall stand tall over them all.

With just 12 wins over their London rivals since 1921, Charlton are winless in eight games against the Lions. Their last victory came in January 1996, as a 2-0 win completed a season double over the soon-to-be-relegated Millwall.

There have been many chances along the way for them to lay their hoodoo to rest – in 2014-15, with Charlton in form and the Lions battling the drop, all signs pointed to an Addicks win. With the away side leading at The Den through Alou Diarra's opener and with 11 minutes to go, it looked as though they would finally get their much-sought-after victory.

However, Magaye Gueye and Jos Hoovield turned the game on its head in eight minutes, handing Millwall their 34th win over their rivals.

Charlton were even 4-3 up at The Valley deep into injury-time in December 2009, but their party was pooped by Danny Schofield's strike, which sent the 4,000 travelling fans wild. So near, yet so far. Shame.

While the record against Crystal Palace isn't as convincing, the Lions still hold the upper hand over the Eagles.

Millwall have 38 wins to Palace's 29 and just one defeat in their last 11 games – a 1-0 loss at The Den on New Year’s Eve 2011.

Some of the Lions' most famous victories over the Eagles include a 5-1 win in 1968, when a strike from Derek Possee helped the club on their way to the victory, and a 3-2 win in April 2003, where Tim Cahill, returning from a cruciate ligament injury, scored the winner with a trademark bullet header.

But the most memorable clash in recent times came on New Year’s Day 2011.

The year may have ended in defeat, but it began with a bang, as loanee Jason Puncheon, now the property of Crystal Palace, scored a hat-trick to single-handedly destroyed his future employers – and even get George Burley the sack after the game.

The record books state that the all-time head-to-head statistics between Millwall and West Ham United are a lot closer, but again the Lions currently emerge on top against their fiercest rivals.

The club are winless in four against the Hammers but hold the historical upper hand, having won 22 games to West Ham's 19.

While the Hammers' recent cup claim to fame is beating Millwall – who had led through Neil Harris’ goal until the 87th minute – 3-1 after extra time in a Capital One Cup game (complete with three pitch invasions) in August 2009, the Lions can boast something far more special.

On March 21, 2004 Millwall obliterated their east London rivals, as a Tim Cahill double was sandwiched by a strike from Nick Chadwick and an own-goal from Christian Dailly in a 4-1 win. The Lions even had the luxury of missing two penalties in what was quickly named 'The Mother's Day Massacre'.

 All three clubs may currently be above Millwall in the pyramid, but one thing is for sure – when it comes to victories, the Lions sit at the top of the tree.

Mark Litchfield