Exclusive: Millwall invited to Russia to play Zenit friendly

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MILLWALL could fly to Russia for a pre-season friendly with Zenit St Petersburg this summer.

The Lions have been offered the chance to take on one of Europe's biggest clubs during a three-day, paid-for trip in July.

Ian Holloway has confirmed that he is "seriously considering" accepting Zenit's invitation.



Boss Holloway has revealed that Millwall are struggling to organise pre-season friendlies on home soil because of restrictions imposed by police.

A potential fixture with Dagenham & Redbridge has already been scrapped.

The Lions could be forced to play a number of their friendlies behind-closed-doors but are exploring the possibility of hosting a foreign side at The Den.



A game against Parma FC is one possibility but Millwall would have to stump up a fee to lure the Italian outfit to SE16.

"We might have to fly out to Russia," Holloway told the Southwark News.

"Zenit are going to put us up for three days so that we can play a game.

"They use the same training camp as us in Portugal and I spoke to one or two of them last time we were out there, and now we might be able to get a game against them.

"I'm seriously considering taking them up on their offer."

Zenit, who are managed by former Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, have superstars Hulk (pictured), Andrei Arshavin and Axel Witsel in their ranks.

The Russian campaign begins in the middle of July so the Champions League club will be in need of a competitive warm-up match before the big kick-off.

If the game goes ahead, it's unclear whether it would be held at the 21,000-seater Petrovsky Stadium or at Zenit's training ground.

Holloway has expressed his frustration at the obstacles Millwall have encountered in their attempts to organise summer fixtures.

He said: "We can hardly get any friendlies, to be honest. It's really, really difficult after what happened at Wembley.

"Where do we go to? Dagenham & Redbridge? We can't play them apparently because of the police bill.

"I don't really care if we end up with behind-closed-doors games – our fans will be punished but not the players.

"The fans might not get to see us much this summer because we cannot seem to get that many games.

"We might also have to pay for a Spanish or Italian team to play us at The Den because I have never experienced a situation like this, but I suppose that comes with the territory.

"We will have to make sure our fans will want to come along and watch a game like that because we'll need to make up the fee.

"Parma are one of the sides who might be over, but we're not sure about anyone else."

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)

40 thoughts on “Exclusive: Millwall invited to Russia to play Zenit friendly

  • May 29, 2014 at 08:36
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    From millwall with love. Someone get me a flight

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:07
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    I can't believe we are struggling with friendlies. What has it come to when we can't even get a game with any team in UK incl Scotland where there might be 2000 supporters. Understand the D&G situation as it close to scum land, but we haven't had this problem in the past.

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    • May 29, 2014 at 16:49
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      @beedoscores:
      Are you joking ? We have ALWAYS had this problem in the past, every season the police dictate who we play and don't play, friendliest shouldn't require loads of police there, but when it comes to us it has to be done apparently. What's that song we sing again? No one..........

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:09
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    Also, what connect what happened at Wembley with friendlies? Who in the police is making these decisions. Obviously don't know anything about football.

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    • May 29, 2014 at 09:29
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      Wot a load of crap.. We had 3 away fixtures last summer ..& there's nothing stopping us going to eire for 3 or 4 games..think mite because extra ob mite be needed while the world cup is being screened in pubs across england

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    • May 29, 2014 at 12:59
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      @beedoscores: What was the last decent English league club we played away in a friendly? We haven't been able to do it for years now, so it's got nothing to do with Wembley.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:24
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    Well, there's always Gillingham. On the plus side, maybe Holloway might spot a couple of Russian strikers to bring home...

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:24
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    WE ARE MILLWALL. NO ONE LIKES US.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:26
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    Oh well what do you expect no one likes us, due to a fight at Wembley that's rubbish that was 20 people out of thousands, sounds like a cop out someone's not doing there job in the back room, we get facked all year round now great.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:27
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    What happened to the Irish tours? Usually no bother and a very scant Garda presence. Bewleys Hotels are doing rooms for e57 at the moment. 😉

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    • May 29, 2014 at 19:59
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      @lion.ie: The Irish teams will be already into their season so they should be fully fit and a much better test than Dagenham etc who are just getting up to match fitness. And another reason is I can watch the new team blending together before the new season but I guess that's just being a bit selfish. Russia looks a no no unless Ryanair goes there.

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      • May 29, 2014 at 22:03
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        Agree, As for Zenith, they aint exactly squeaky clean themselves, wasn't it them who had the banner urging their club not to sign black or gay players? Hope we are getting a few quid for going out there as somehow their issues will be projected onto Millwall by the press. Still I guess it a decent game against good quality opposition. Its hard to believe this not getting friendlies due to police objections but, and even that 'rumour' in itself is damaging. @CavanLion:

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:28
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    As we sing " No one likes us" !

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:30
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    If there was ever potential for aggro at a footie game it would be MFC playing in Russia!!!

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    • May 29, 2014 at 09:48
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      @dpendet.: my mate went to the moscow derby once & the army policed the game..and there was still trouble...bet the players are a bit p***** of they were looking forward to portugal

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:40
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    It's about time the police do what they are already paid to do

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:45
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    So Bournemouth get a pre season friendly with Real Madrid last season, and we can only manage Dagenham & Redbridge behind closed doors.
    Surely a team like a West Brom or Sunderland should be possible at the Den. No real ill feeling towards them.
    This just sums up the old bill, fu#king useless lazy b@rst@rds!

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    • May 29, 2014 at 17:51
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      @Syd the Lion: Well said Syd.
      Real Madrid...!! Wouldn't it be great to get a fixture like that...!? A prem club would be great as well. Bloody stupid really, because the den is now probably one of the easiest and safest grounds to get away supporters to and from games safely....!! Station goes straight into the ground... job done.
      Plus, how can they compare a pre season friendly to a FA cup semi final with a late K.O ??? What a load of cobblers.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:49
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    Holloway stop making excuses first its coz who we are, then its Wembley, then its the ob, its coz u want to go to Russia, so just say it instead of goin round the houses..

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    • May 29, 2014 at 10:48
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      @block 28: What are you talking about excuses.... why would someone lie about why we are struggling to get friendlies to be played in front of fans??

      He can get friendlies but they would be behind closed doors!!

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      • May 30, 2014 at 00:45
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        @Bradders: I don't remember calling holloway a liar all I said was don't go round the houses. Didn't u read his article he's been invited to go to Russia.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:53
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    This explains why Lions have gone to Ireland in past few years.

    I don't think it's such a new issue - Old Bill just refer to the latest 'incident'.

    Comes with the territory ...

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    • May 31, 2014 at 16:57
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      Great that we are so welcome in Ireland, yet are told we cant get a game in England for security reasons@kitch:

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  • May 29, 2014 at 09:55
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    Give us the dates, we the BWs will come over to RUSSIA to watch Millwall play.

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    • May 29, 2014 at 10:33
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      @BUSHWACKER.: i been going millwall for 46 years & the trouble at wembley was a mere tiff compared to wot normally happens when mfc fans lose their rag...i.e birmingham..luton derby vermin etc Never has it stop us having friendlies

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  • May 29, 2014 at 10:29
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    I knew that Wembley trouble would come back to bite us.

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    • May 29, 2014 at 11:01
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      @Longfield Lion: it's not just Wembley mate, sure it all adds up, but this type of treatment was going on for decades, long before the FA Cup Semi Final.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 10:30
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    The Police must be struggling to find things for their staff to do, so they send them all to our preseason games. Bloody joke! Go to Russia, it will be a good experience and I wouldn't complain if they had players they wanted to loan to us.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 11:35
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    Outside of English football ultras cause a huge problem at most games so I dont understand how a minor scuffle at wembley compares to them at all.
    The police just get on with it, this is ridiculous

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  • May 29, 2014 at 11:44
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    Outrage 😐

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  • May 29, 2014 at 11:47
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    They can play the Lionesses over 2 legs : ) Have played against them myself back in the day and they gave us a good game. Theres always Dulwich Hamlet and Bromley or get a few league one teams back at the den. Sorry but Russia not an option for me as Vlad Puti* will have em all kidnapped and make them political hostages?! ha ha IN OLLIE WE TRUST

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    • May 29, 2014 at 18:19
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      @WestKentLion: I played the Lionesses as well! We weren't allowed to tackle them as they had a 'big UEFA Cup match' midweek. They were shocking, bunch of girls the lot of 'em:-)

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  • May 29, 2014 at 12:38
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    Nice on Boris.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 13:43
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    Zenit away in July would be a great fixture for Millwall fans to have another couple of days on foreign soil out East.
    Can't see why the club can't organise a couple of friendlies in Portugal, whilst they are out there at the training camp ?

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    • May 29, 2014 at 18:56
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      @24seven: Yes, Portugal would be great to visit again.( us fans could make up a team to play a Millwall fans V Players.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 20:40
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    Leave it Ollie it's a trap probably have us put up at the Ukrainian embassy

    Country practically at war with next door and millwall go out there lol

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  • May 30, 2014 at 09:23
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    didn't palace have a similar spat at Wembley or am I mistaken?

    If so, I am sure they will have similar challenges in arranging friendlies..................... not

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  • May 30, 2014 at 14:41
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    I know for a fact that Zenit were not at the Cascade Resort in Portugal when Millwall were there this January. Spartak Moscow were there, however.

    Zenit have used Cascade previously so perhaps the resort passed on their contact details to Millwall, but they certainly weren't sharing the resort with them.

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