EVERYONE loves a trier, and at Millwall this is especially true.
A quick glance at the current squad and you could cite five or six players who arguably lack the requisite talent to succeed at this level, but whose graft and resilience ensure they stay doggedly affixed to the club and – more importantly – remain in the supporters' favour.
A Spurs-supporting friend once said to me that Millwall always suffered, and still do now to some extent, because we blindly favour players who are solely robust, honest and hard working; that we have little or no time for players with flair and flash, who offer a little more subtly to their game.
I argue that we’re more obliging and knowledgeable than that. But do we have an unhealthy obsession with guts and determination over skill and craft?
Our latest attacking addition, Andy Keogh, has not only shown some genuine goal-scoring ability, but also the kind of willing and purpose which could well make him a Lions mainstay. He looks to be a ‘Millwall-type’ player, with talent to boot.
He seems to have the same inexhaustible appetite for the game as recent Den favourites Neil Harris, Gary Alexander, and Andy Frampton, as well as current favourites Jimmy Abdou and Tony Craig.
Like all the above, he’ll miss chances, make bad decisions and lose possession – but he will still, like all of the above, chase and harry and never give up. And this – in a bizarrely satisfying way – makes any success he achieves, any goal he scores, all the more sweeter for the supporters.
I don’t think it’s a crime to invest our hopes and allegiances into players of this ilk. They show character, and for a club like ours that is important.
But when does the loyalty end? We have our tipping point, and we know when bottle and spirit is no longer enough.
But for Andy Keogh the future looks promising. He is the type of player that Millwall fans will grow to love – he’s a trier, and while talent is important, that's what counts.