The A-Z of Millwall – Z is for… Zero to hero

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

To play for Millwall, you've got to have something about you. You've got to have character, a sense of humour, desire, commitment and a thick skin.

If you possess those qualities, usually, talent comes second. Lions fans will recognise your dedication to the cause and get behind you, no matter how good – or bad – you are.

In the last decade, two men have battled through severe adversity, going from zeroes to heroes.

After joining from Brentford in the summer of 2007, Andy Frampton's Millwall career didn't get off to the best of starts. Kenny Jackett gave the left-back his debut on the opening day of the 2007-08 season, but despite Frampton starting the first 17 games of the campaign, scoring one goal, the Den faithful could not take to him, and he became the scapegoat and subject of abuse on a weekly basis.

However, as time went on, the defender dug in his heels and refused to let the hardship get the better of him. The left-back’s passion, desire and loyalty during the 2008-09 season that saw the Lions reach the League One play-off final endeared him to the fans. And after featuring 22 times the following season – when Millwall won promotion – he left The Den a cult hero.

This season has seen another defender rise above the hate to become a loved figure – Byron Webster.

After signing from Yeovil Town before the 2014-15 campaign, Webster seemed to fit the mould of a typical Millwall centre-half – tall, strong and commanding. However, things didn't go to plan as the former Glovers captain experienced catastrophe after catastrophe, costing the team points on numerous occasions.

He wasn't helped by Ian Holloway's mismanagement, but Webster did not help himself either. But, just like Frampton, the centre-half brushed off the viciousness of the abuse being thrown at him and returned to form this season to become a key player in Neil Harris' squad.

With 47 appearances and six goals under his belt, Webster was also made the unofficial vice-captain to Steve Morison in Tony Craig's absence. Webster and fellow northerner Mark Beevers have formed a formidable partnership at the back, one that has conceded just one goal in the last seven home games. The 29-year-old Webster is now one of the first names on the team sheet.

So, a message to any future Lions players – if your career doesn't get off to the best of starts, work hard and you too could become a hero.

Mark Litchfield