Millwall boss reveals he knew reputation was on the line

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris has admitted he knew he was risking his reputation when he took over the Millwall manager’s job.

Harris, appointed as caretaker boss following the sacking of Ian Hollway last season, got the role permanently in April 2015 but couldn’t save the Lions from relegation from the Championship.

Millwall endured a difficult start to this campaign but will end it fighting for promotion from League One against Barnsley at Wembley next Sunday.

Harris ensured he would be enshrined in club legend when he became Millwall’s record goal scorer in 2009 – a record previously held by Teddy Sheringham – and eventually finished his Lions career with 136 goals.

Asked after the draw with Bradford last Friday night that secured a play-off final place if he risked damaging his status in the eyes of supporters if things didn’t go well, Harris said: “Clearly, yeah.

He added: “I asked to be judged as a player and separately as a manager. It’s difficult to do that. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far and Wembley is the best place to play your football.

“For the players that haven’t played there it’s a privilege to play at the home of English football. But it’s only really a good day if you win, and that’s the challenge to them.

“Yes we’ve come a long way in a short space of time but we haven’t won anything yet.”

The chance to do that will come at one of the great football venues, and Harris revealed he made a pledge to his players at the start of the season he would deliver them to a big stage.

“It will be a privilege and honour to represent the club as a manager, of course it will be,” Harris said. “But the biggest privilege is to manage these players.

“I made a promise at the start of the season to my dressing room that I’d make them a good Millwall team and tactically, technically, attitude-wise, they followed my lead.

“I promised them they’d get to play in a Millwall atmosphere like (Friday night) either in a cup game or a promotion-winning game. I’m pleased I could deliver on that promise and it will certainly be a privilege to be their manager next week.”

John Kelly