Holloway and Millwall board making plans for next season

© Keith Gillard
© Keith Gillard

IAN Holloway and the Millwall board are working on plans to revitalise the club next season.

Den directors met on Monday to discuss how to turn the Lions' fortunes around – be that in the Championship or League One.

Charlton's 1-0 win at Leeds on Tuesday left Holloway's side five points adrift of safety, a gap which is really six given Millwall's vastly inferior goal difference.



The Lions have seven games still to play and will probably require five wins to stay in the second tier.

But regardless of the club's fate, the board, in conjunction with Holloway, is set to implement a "change of direction" for the 2014-15 campaign.

Youth development and player recruitment are likely to be two of the key strategic areas under discussion.



The Millwall hierarchy's first task will be to diagnose exactly why the team has taken only 52 points from 60 games since January 2013, claiming just 12 wins.

"Since last year, our form has been relegation form," chief executive Andy Ambler said.

"This slump started in 2013 and has gone across three managers, with a points-per-game average of less than one. That's why we are where we are.

"The board is committed to arresting this slump and getting us back on track."

He added: "We have got two strategies but both involve Ollie. We have a plan for the Championship and a plan for League One because the financial constraints are different.

"The board and the manager will decide in the summer how to change it – but we do need to change it.

"If we go on a great run and save ourselves by the skin of our teeth, I don't think any of us will think all is well again.

"Fundamentally, we've got to look at the entire squad and the blend."

If Millwall do go down, Ambler says that chairman John Berylson will foot the bill – and invest in rebuilding the squad.

"Financially the commitment from the chairman is there," he said.

"So am I worried about a financial meltdown? No, I'm not, because John is as passionate as he ever has been and I know he wants to make the club better."

Millwall have used more players (42) in the Championship than any other club.

And the Lions' playing budget, which includes all staff costs, salaries and transfer fees, has passed the £10million mark as a result.

So Ambler admits that recruitment is an area that needs addressing.

"Last summer, the club took a stance of bringing in free transfers on bigger salaries than before," he said.

"Obviously our league position tells you that that did not work out and I think Ollie will be looking at that very carefully."

Holloway shares the board's enthusiasm for the future but insists he will not give up hope of avoiding relegation until that becomes mathematically impossible.

"We've got to try to stay up because it would be a damn sight easier to rebuild if we're still a Championship side next season," he said.

"If we're not, we'll have to deal with the fallout from that and plan where we go.

"Some clubs have built themselves stronger in a lower division and we have to start somewhere.

"For me, it's about our identity and I'm very proud of having the chance to build my own Millwall. That's what I want to do and I know that the chairman won't change his views."

While Holloway's immediate focus is on the final run in, he is already making decisions on the future direction of the club.

"Every game is telling me whether or not to keep certain parts of the team," he said. "That's what I've been telling everyone because we're all on trial.

"I got this job, I'm going to stick with it and deal with it. Whether other people will still be here, we'll have to wait and see.

"I had an opportunity here and I wanted to take it – however bad it was and regardless of what had happened before, I wanted to make a difference.

"I've committed to at least two and a half years and I think that's a very good commitment.

"Am I pleased with where we are in the table? No. But do I still believe we can do something about it now? Yes, I do. We have to do it now and very quickly.

"In the long term, it's about getting the identity of Millwall, playing in a certain way and producing results.

"Every time I see our kids play, I'm delighted to have them and I want to work with them.

"Together we can forge a way of playing that befits this wonderful club, which is all about commitment.

"We've got to decide where we get our players from in the future.

"I'm excited about deciding those sort of issues, working with Andy and helping the chairman take the club where he wants to take it."

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)

57 thoughts on “Holloway and Millwall board making plans for next season

  • April 3, 2014 at 09:16
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    Get it on!

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  • April 3, 2014 at 09:18
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    Growing the kids through the system makes sense to me, having loan players and lots of them seems like a des

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    • April 3, 2014 at 09:25
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      @grassgrower: seems like a desperate way to get along and the kids at least know the millwall way. Glad to see JB commit to the long haul and hope for everyone that they can get some good strategies in place for a revival. Whatever happens for the rest of the season is a good chance to start getting things right.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 09:22
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    Commitment is the key word because that has what has been lacking. We have seen some of the worst aspects of player attitude...and the real issue is that the players concerned don't see anything wrong with their attitude! The decline set in, December 2012 and to date has not been properly addressed. Most of the supporters have been magnificent throughout all of this...in the past the crowd would have turned...but those self same players have taken the supporters as mugs.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 09:23
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    really happy to see you're all committed to the cause especially j.b we could do a lot worse, trust me. but on the other hand can't help thinking a lot of this could of been avoidable ? but whatever will be will be. we'll all be here regardless coz we're millwall not man u LOOOOOOL

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    • April 3, 2014 at 10:37
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      @steveomfc5: I agree, truth is JB is learning how to run a second tier football club and mistakes were made by senior people at the club due to lack of experience in my opinion. To his credit, JB has taken that on the chin both personally and financially and is planning to stick around to put things right. Thats all you can ask after everything that has gone on.

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      • April 3, 2014 at 12:56
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        @glyngo: exactly. he will do what's best for us i have no doubt in that at all! i just hope we keep the right players like lowry,bailey,woolford,abdou,malone and the giant. most of the others need shipping out. and on top of that i hope we can attract decent enough players to bounce back or league 1 could be a reality for a few seasons 🙁

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        • April 3, 2014 at 14:15
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          @steveomfc5: Yep, one year to get rid of the rubiish and start rebuilding, a year to consloidate and then we start competing for promotion again. 3-4 years minimum.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 09:51
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    the last time we had a team that you could call a true millwall team was the cahill,saddler,harris,ifill, reid, era, all from the youth set up. youth is the way forward with the odd experienced pro to guide the youngsters through games. not loanees who don't give a t***. get that right and you will have players who will fight for the cause. I've renewed my season ticket cause no matter what league we're in millwall is in my heart and sole.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 10:38
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      @TONY BLOCK28: also good youth players will stick around if they believe they have a shot a the first team.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 15:53
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      @TONY BLOCK28: That 2001 team was unique because it was largely a young & home-grown - mainly through necessity. I think the 2010 promotion team was more typical Millwall – some real grafters with a good team spirit.

      The review doesn’t sound very comprehensive to me. Who’s going to be looking at the role that Ambler and Holloway have had in causing the mess we’re in? What evidence is there that they’ll be any better at their jobs next season? Personally I think sounds like a load of rubbish.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 09:57
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    no matter what league we are in i would keep Forde, Robbo (as 3rd choice), Beevers (needs a leader alongside him), Malone, Fred, Jimmy (as cover), Woolford, McDonald. Be good if we could sign Fredricks on a season long loan.

    Everyone else i would consider bombing out. if there is a kid in there place. let them compete for their spot. too many injury prone players who think they are big time, too many loan players and too many centre forwards who dont score.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 10:39
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      @isawrobbieryanscore: What you are saying is that all the players that you think we should let go are nearly all be brought to the club by Ollie, so what does that say about the manager ?? oh and I would also say let Forde go as well.

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      • April 3, 2014 at 11:15
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        @Barnlion: I would keep Williams, Malone, Fred, Lowry, Upson, Jack Powell, Woolford and most of the youth players, maybe the Hoff if he is happy at that level.

        Basically get rid of all of Lomas signings and keep Holloway's permanent guys then we will have a good team to go forward with next season and challenge in league one!

        I'm actually excited about the summer even if we are in league one! I think the board and Holloway knows what is needed to bring Millwall back to being Millwall, youth and exciting young players being bought with the occasional old pro in the group.

        Unfortunately Jackett wasn't one for youngsters and I know that for fact as we let go a number of youth internationals when he was around!!

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        • April 3, 2014 at 12:55
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          Williams, Upson, Cambell have all been relatively successful signings. All capable of playing at Championship level.

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      • April 3, 2014 at 11:41
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        @Barnlion: didnt realise that as i was typing. god what a depressing realisation

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        • April 3, 2014 at 12:46
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          @isawrobbieryanscore: Lock up all the sharp knives and also any pain killers and you should be all right for Division one come August, happy days.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:03
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    Hopefully next season will see us finally stop the rot of bringing in has been loans and wage thieves. It'll be exciting to see some of our young players come through and hopefully some players coming in from the lower leagues. I think we are really lucky to have JB and the fact that he is going to bankroll us to rebuild when we go down is brilliant - Renewed my season ticket and look forward to a young footballing side. We may go down, but it would have happened eventually as our clubs policy has been all wrong for ages, by the sounds of things, that is now going to be addressed - Finally. Hopefully see a settled squad and not loads of changes week in week out. We'll go down, but be back stronger!

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:05
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    The club has made a lot of mistakes but at the end of the day no-one including the fans would have done anything differently (with the possible exception of the appointment of Steve Lomas but even he won us over with his initial signings) The club signed some good players and we thought they were good signings but still the club struggled.

    The club know its time to rebuild and I hope the fans get behind them and support the rebuilding process. Yes I've renewed and after 2 shallow years I'm feeling optimistic for next year (even if it is going to be league 1)

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:32
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    JB seemed a bit brow beaten after the Wembley debacle, but I am personally delighted that he is planning to stick around. For me he is genuinely committed and not for financial gain. I just don't buy into the conspiracy theories as there are far easier ways for men like him to make money than by buying a club that loses money every year for the last 10 years. Rebuild and do it right, learning from the mistakes of the last three years.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:44
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    Get rid of this mick harford for a start he is useless the players he brought to millwall are old has beens get someone in who knows what there doing they can bring in some young fresh players in who want to prove themselves and wear the millwall shirt with 100% pride championship/league1 next season I don't think things will be too believe in your club people
    Come on you lions !!

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    • April 3, 2014 at 22:20
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      @MFC DAN90: Agree about Harford. We could do with someone who knows the non league game and has connections in it. Ian Wright, Stuart Pearce, Vinney Jones, Michael Kightly just a few of the gems unearthed for peanuts if you know what you're looking for.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:48
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    I hope what we have coming through are good enough to make the grade? Would love to see a promising young side coming through & add some lower league bargains Holliway can mould.
    The biggest problem the club will have is to shift leech,wage thieves,can't exactly call them players. Some will be happy to sit tight on their contract,whether playing or not & be a drain the clubs finances.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:51
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    So we are going to implement a change of direction. What does that mean why does nobody actually tell us what they are going to do.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 12:38
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      @block 28: Hopefully a change in direction means we are going to stop heading south and start heading north!

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    • April 3, 2014 at 12:52
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      @block 28: they probably haven't decided yet, no point p****** everyone off by telling us about plans that they decide not to carry out.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 10:55
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    Not so many loan signings, no players who haven't played football for a year (Bessone and the Austrian), bring more youth players through, buy young rather than old who are on big wages and past it or injury prone( McDonald, Chaplow, Bailey etc etc) anyone one else got some ideas ?

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  • April 3, 2014 at 11:12
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    To know JB is willing to back us , whatever league we are in is best news we have in ages. JOHN BERYLSON YOU ARE BECOMING ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PEOPLE !

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    • April 3, 2014 at 15:07
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      @DiggerWall: if he continues to back us people should stop thinking he is trying to make money from the club.

      The only way he could ever do that is if we somehow end up in the Premiership and frankly if that ever happens he can do what he wants.

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      • April 3, 2014 at 16:26
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        @MFC Lion: I totally agree with you on that mate. If he was only in it for profit, he would have turned it in by now.

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        • April 3, 2014 at 16:48
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          @DiggerWall: Best news for me is that JB remains committed (still think IH should be committed but that's for another day). Thank you Mr Berylson.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 11:21
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    I'm actually excited about next season.... a bit more of a buzz than summers gone past as we know the board and manager are looking at young players who can become big hits even if we are in league one!

    Looking forward to Millwall finally being stripped back to get back to being a club which the fans love seeing, whether that's in league 1 or the championship!! Playing decent football, bossing games while having the youth come through and play like a Millwall player!!

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  • April 3, 2014 at 13:20
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    I might get berylsons name printed on the back of my shirt, he seems like the only one who cares

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  • April 3, 2014 at 13:32
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    The rot started in January 2013, imo, with our inability to sign Chris Wood. Personally, I think that was also the start of KJ's disillusion with our club. I've no idea why Wood chose Leicester over us, maybe he saw them as a club with more ambition & a higher profile. I've always thought, after nearly 50 years of supporting the Lions, that our best assets are our locally home grown talents as have been mentioned on this thread already. Given that we're virtually down already, I would like to see the likes of Powell, O'Brien, Fred and a few others played as it matters very little in our final 7 games but can give those youngsters some valuable experience for next season.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 13:56
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      @Bolland: wood wasn't wrong was he? the irony of course is he won't play in the premier league and will be farmed out on loan in the Champonship

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    • April 3, 2014 at 15:13
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      @Bolland: holloway will wait until we are mathematically down before playing a lot of youth as it would be seen as giving up to do it any earlier.

      Frankly I think the youth team would do better than the senior squad.

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      • April 3, 2014 at 23:23
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        @MFC Lion:

        They can't do any worse. We're effectively 6 points adrift and all I can see is another possible 7 points from the 21 remaining which wouldn't be good enough. I take your point about giving up too early but we've got between "No hope & Bob Hope."
        I hope we get some to play some good teams pre-season games & not go to Ireland again. A trip to Scandinavia would be good to get our lads fit.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 13:36
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    Ambler i think you should go too, you are the joker who have got us in the mess, first appointing lomas and then ollie, warnock was the way forward.

    how are we supposed to score when the forward line changes evey week, we need a settled front 2, look at ings and stokes, i hope we stay up but feel the damage has already been done.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 13:58
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      @golden lion: Do you know your a*** from your elbow? it's Ings & Vokes, but look at the rest of the Burnley strikers who they have on the bench.... Barnes and Stanislas, both of whom have scored when Vokes or Ings have been injured!! They know the job they have to do when asked, playing a different combo up top.

      Just resign yourself to relegation then you can see the brighter side of next season.... the real Millwall of local youth and we have a manager who wants that, or do you want him gone and we could always get the manager of AFC Wimblewho in!

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  • April 3, 2014 at 13:43
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    Seems strange to be excited about next season, even though it means we will have been relegated. But I am, It will give IH time to clear the decks completly of those who are not Wall players and those expensive loans that really never worked. IMO we do have the nucleus of a really good side, Upson, Williams, Malone Woolford, Easter, plus Bailey, who when fully fit would make a good older experienced pro. Also if Hof stayed I beleive he would be a real asset. Plus of course some really good youngsters, who could really learn their craft in the one season we will have in league 1, before going back to the championship the following season. So, there is light at the end of the tunnel, its just going to be a bit painful getting there.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 13:52
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      @rikkiatwall: i am with you on this rikki - i have listed 15 players posted on the Forde story - if we get 4 quality players for the salary of those 15 , i think we can do well - much slimmer squad - quality not quantity - a couple of match winners and a couple of real solid defenders who can pass the ball

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  • April 3, 2014 at 14:18
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    Just a thought, but is Chaplow right for this club? He really hasn't made any significant impression since signing, although he was injured for a period.

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    • April 3, 2014 at 15:22
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      @glyngo: one of many who are not right for this club.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 14:50
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    We need to sign Andre Gray from Luton, 22 yr old who has scored 1 short of 50 goals in 2 season (and with 5/6 games to go in the conference).

    There are a lot of good youngsters out there who can really make it, I'd like to see us taking a few more of these guys (obviously at a cost, but a lot lower wages per week), at least they will be trying their hardest every game knowing they have a lot to do to get better and better.... I think they will want to play for a manager like Holloway as well.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 16:14
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    'This slump started in 2013 and has gone across three managers' says andy ambler,it has also been overseen by one chief executive...when does he take some responsibility?

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  • April 3, 2014 at 16:32
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    Heard all this talk before, they are just buttering up the fact that they have flopped, fed up with their excuses and am not being taken in by their hype about the future. The board and Ambler have failed to establish Millwall in the championship, that's a fact. They couldn't run a bath.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 16:39
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    Where is Justin Hoyte, does anyone know?

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    • April 3, 2014 at 21:27
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      @">ken4tune. Kidnapped him. Will let him go when the season has finished

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  • April 3, 2014 at 16:56
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    There is no way we are going to make up the points on Charlton with their two games in hand even if we do win five, so we are going down (despite my earlier confidence - I was wrong, get over it). This season has been a disaster which began with the decision to employ an undercooked manager who signed a load of unfit, over the hill crocks. It was always going to be a struggle - even for Holloway. A massive clear out of playing staff is necessary - there's only about 8 of the current squad worht keeping- and probably a few changes in the coaching staff too (WTF has Pressman been coaching Forde to do, for example).

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  • April 3, 2014 at 17:23
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    Next season start the clear out with forde,bywater,hoyte,dunne,jack smith, Robinson, bessone ,feeney ,josh wright,bailey,chaplow,McDonald,woolford all loan players will be gone and then we can rebuild MFC

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  • April 3, 2014 at 18:28
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    We are really lucky to have JB, every Millwall fan knows that. I hope we can repay him, and one day step into the Premiership. To do that, we are now stepping in the right direction. Adding to the change of players/recruitment plan- I would also like to see the following:

    1) Confidence/ NLP lessons given to every player pre-season. Contact Richard Bandler
    2) New Fitness regimes. Get them doing high intensity circuits like World Fitness Challenge.
    3) New price plan at the Den. Kids under 10 and over 60+ in free.
    4) Look at caffeine/aspertame consumage levels of players before training or games, get their minds right not jittery but sharp.
    5) Get an announcer on the microphone- when we score (Terry Hurlock will do) and a new approach to music/ambience before and during the game. Sounds create moods, moods create positivity and change. (that Let em come song is old, and its time to get rid of it. We want goosebumps, not thinking of old times, its pathetic, we need something uplifting.)
    6) Paint the roof
    7) New ' meet and greeters' for Ref and Assistants to look after them- before and after game. 25 year old blonde busty sorts, you think I'm joking. Make officials enjoy coming to Den
    8) New rule, if players get sent off, they are not getting paid for a month.
    9) More integration with other clubs in training. i.e playing real matches all the time against different players. I watch training all the time from my car, and we need more matches. Perhaps play u21 from different sides. We look great at keep ball on the training ground, but on match day, that tuns to panic mode jitters, time and time again.
    10) Keep Williams,Upson,Lowry,Fred,Woolford (as mentioned before- good post 😉 make the others disappear like that plane
    11) and finally... A big glass of whisky and cigar for JB, he deserves it. One day, we'll get to the Prem-but in my opinion we got to do the 10 things above first and it's possible sooner than you think.

    P.S I'll paint the roof

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    • April 3, 2014 at 20:45
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      @Alexdangelo: 25 year old busty blondes will make me enjoy coming to the den again!

      Couldn't care less if the officials have a good day

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    • April 3, 2014 at 22:19
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      @Alexdangelo: what about some busty blonde cheer leaders at half time, just to keep us on our toes.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 18:43
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    We should start the clear out by dumping Ambler, Although he has done some good at Millwall he has also overseen the appointment of an inexperienced manager and he has sanctioned the signings of some poor and over the hill players with no sell on value. He deals with the contracts that are dished out and should take some of the flak for the mess we are in.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 19:26
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    I like Holloway because he speaks his mind. But I am massively disappointed that he thinks we will stay up because that means giving games to players who don't give a s*** and will sod off when we are in the 3rd tier. I have lost respect for Holloway; I'd respect a man more for admitting defeat...we are down. Hate to say it, but hope we lose the next 3 or 4 so every loan and wanting-out player is axed.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 19:36
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    I would keep woolford, he has been our best player from a bad season! even if use him off the bench, he is easily good enough for league 1 suprised someone won't try have him off us

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