STEVE Claridge has confirmed that he wants to be the next Millwall manager.
Claridge, who scored 29 goals during two spells with the club as a player, was appointed as Lions boss in June 2005 but infamously sacked after 36 days.
The ex-striker now works as a pundit for the BBC but believes the time is right to make the return to management as Steve Lomas' successor.
"I think it is right now for me to do something like this," Claridge said. "I do what I do in the media, it's sustained by it doesn't satisfy.
"I've got all of my coaching badges, I'm on the elite coaching course and it just feels right.
"I've got an inside knowledge of the club which is really important. Each club I played for during my career was different but Millwall is different in a different way.
"When I played for the club I'd like to think the fans saw a bit of themselves in me. I was suited to the club so I understand what it takes and what is required from the players and the manager."
While Claridge is well-known for his work in the media, he is also quick to stress that he runs two successful coaching academies and helps to educate the next generation of coaches.
And he believes his knowledge of the game makes him qualified to take The Den hotseat.
"Whenever I have spare time I get out and watch games even when I'm not working. I know the team inside out and I've been staying on top of things.
"I spent most of my career playing in the Championship – it's a division that I watch more than any other, so I have massive interest and knowledge about each of the teams.
"I didn't play 1,200 games not knowing what I was doing. People focus on the light-hearted side of me and, yes, I had fun and enjoyed myself, but I was a good professional as well.
"I've kept abreast of everything that's happened at the club so this wouldn't be a fact-finding mission for me. I know what I'd have to work with and that the budget is pretty much taken up.
"People might mention lack of experience but that in itself is not an indicator of success or failure.
"When I was given time to do a job properly, I took Weymouth from 17th to 2nd in the Conference. That wasn't a level that I'd played at and the Championship would be far more familiar to me."
Claridge was an interested spectator as Millwall were hammered 4-0 by Watford on Boxing Day, a result that proved fatal for Lomas.
"Obviously the early sending off doesn't do you any favours," he said. "I'm not sure playing Jermaine Easter out wide was for me.
"If you're going to play with three up front, you need to go with two wingers and a striker.
"Very few players lack passion but plenty lack belief. That's what it looked like to me.
"I can count on one hand the number of players I've met who don't want to win or care.
"But sometimes they can lack a bit of belief and that might come across as a lack of passion, but it's not. That's possibly what we're seeing now.
"That is something that can be rectified. There is work to be done and lots of things need correcting, but there is enough to go on.
"People say this is the best squad Millwall have had in a long time, but I'm not sure about that. It might have been if you'd taken some of those players back in time three years.
"It might be the biggest budget in the club's history and the most experienced squad, but are these players playing to the best of their ability? If they are, why are Millwall in this situation?"
At the very least Claridge would like the opportunity to pitch himself to the Den board.
"Perception in football is nine tenths of the law, and for me the perception is very different from the reality," he said.
"It would be vitally important to me that I get the chance to have a face-to-face interview and put across exactly who I am and how I can help the club.
"What you want and what you get are two totally different things, but it would be nice if I could get that chance."
Claridge already has one thing going for him in that he is popular with the supporters.
But he added: "I don't want to get the job because the fans like me, although that helps, I want the job because I feel I am capable of doing it.
"I wouldn't want it for sentimental reasons, I want it because people believe I can do it."
Eight years ago, Claridge was sacked barely a month after taking charge at Millwall.
His departure swiftly followed the resignation of chairman Jeff Burnige, who had appointed him, and was instigated by director Theo Paphitis.
"It is not unfinished business because I did not even get started last time," Claridge said. "What happened last time was nothing short of a disgrace, but I'm a big boy and moved on.
"What disappointed me wasn't Theo's decision, that was his prerogative, it was the manner in which he did it. It felt almost personal at times.
"There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and that wasn't the right way."
It is understood Claridge would want Steve Guppy and Steve Walford, who are both working as part of the Republic of Ireland set up, to join his staff if he got the job.
Claridge would also want Neil Harris to be an important part of his team.