Millwall player profile – David Livermore (1999-2006)

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

Neil Harris may rightly get the praise for Millwall's upturn in fortunes this season, but in the background there is a former Lions stalwart who deserves just as much gratitude.

David Livermore is Millwall's assistant manager. As well as being Harris' right-hand man, 'Livers' also clocked up over 300 appearances in a Lions shirt, dating from his debut in August 1999 to his final start in August 2006.

In that time, Livermore usually operated in the middle of the park, but he also filled in in a number of positions including left-back, left midfield and centre-half. A reliable and dependable body, the midfielder oozed consistency and played a vital role in some of the club's most prosperous periods.

Initially a loan signing from Arsenal, Livers made his Millwall debut on the opening day of the 1999-00 season at Cardiff City in a 1-1 draw. He obviously made an impression on then bosses Keith Stevens and Alan McLeary, as on September 6 his move across London was made permanent in a £30,000 deal.

His inaugural year saw him make 34 league appearances, scoring two goals – his first one making history, as an injury-time winner against Brentford on December 28, 1999 proved to be the final football league goal of the millennium.

The campaign unfortunately ended in play-off semi-final defeat to Wigan Athletic, but the following year the club bypassed the end-of-season lottery under Mark McGhee, winning the Division Two championship title with a record 93 points. Livermore made 39 appearances in a season that saw him form a formidable partnership in the middle of the park with the talented Tim Cahill.

As the Lions made the step up to Division One, so did Livermore; he missed just three league games – all through suspension – in a season that saw more play-off heartbreak when McGhee's men lost out in the final moments of the semi-final with Birmingham City.

Suspension and the midfielder more often than not went hand in hand – his passion, commitment and tough-tackling nature meant that the former Arsenal trainee picked up a huge 86 yellow cards and 3 reds in his Lions career. I'll let him tell you about the famous scissor tackle…

The following season, Livers clocked up 41 appearances, scoring two goals. One of them as a remarkable feat: in a 3-1 home victory over Stoke, the midfielder converted from distance with his right foot. As a staunch user of his left, to see him rifle one in with the other foot was a surprise – to him just as much as the fans!

The now assistant manager's solitary goal in the 2003-04 campaign came in a 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest, but the highlight of the season came at the end when Livermore lined up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane in the FA Cup Final against Manchester United.

The Red Devils eased to a 3-0 win, but the more biased among us will tell you that the second goal – which came from a penalty – never should have been awarded. Replays showed that Livermore, who had tackled Ryan Giggs, got a slight touch on the ball. I don't think it would have changed the destination of the trophy, however!

Livermore's penultimate season in SE16 saw him make more history when he lined up to become a part of the first-ever Lions side to participate in a UEFA Cup game. Millwall lost 4-2 on aggregate to Hungarian giants Ferencvaros, but both nights will live long in the memory of all Lions fans, as well as those on the pitch.

The 2005-06 campaign proved to be the final one at Millwall for the midfielder. A tumultuous year would unfortunately end in relegation to League One, but Livers once more proved to be a beacon of consistency, making 41 appearances, scoring three goals. One of those came in the last minute of a League Cup tie at Mansfield Town, but the final two goals of his Lions career were in the league – both in 1-1 draws, at home to Hull City and away to Ipswich Town. His loyalty was rewarded at the end of the season when he received the Player of the Year trophy.

His final game in a Millwall shirt came on April 17 when the Lions' relegation was confirmed with a 2-0 defeat at Southampton.

Livermore joined Leeds United (for whom he never made an appearance) in a £250,000 deal in July 2006, before going on to play for Hull City, Brighton and Hove Albion, Barnet and Histon (where he later became manager), with loan spells at Oldham Athletic and Luton Town thrown in for good measure.

He returned to the club in 2012 as a youth team coach, before rising up the ranks to become Harris' assistant in the summer of 2015.

Mark Litchfield