THE LEAGUE One play-off final may have ended in heartbreak for Millwall, but for one brave lion heart, it was a day to remember.
Harvey Brown, who is well known to Millwall fans and club officials, was specially chosen to be the Lions' mascot for the Wembley final against Barnsley.
And despite the result, his father, Dean, told The News that he was “proud” of his son and that Harvey was 'buzzing' throughout the entire day.
“I was so proud of him” said Dean. “He stood there before the match on the pitch like a little soldier. He was buzzing. The result didn't spoil the day for him.
“The club said around Christmas time that if we made the play-offs and Wembley, Harvey would be the club's mascot.
“We got to The Den at 10am and started the day with photos in the club shop. Then we were invited by John West to travel to Wembley on the blue bus, which was great.
He explained: “On our arrival to Wembley, we met a lady who took us into the mascots room. From there, we went out on to the pitch – some of the fans started to chant Harvey's name, to which he turned round and waved with a smile.
“We then sat in Millwall's dugout, which Harvey loved.
“After that, we went on to the side of the pitch for more photos. We were told not to go too far, but the head groundsman came up to us and said to go where we liked, which was brilliant!”
A trip to the changing rooms was next for Harvey and his dad picked out Sid Nelson as the star of the show.
Nelson was on the bench that day, but despite that, he was still willing to go out of his way to make it a day to remember for Harvey.
And despite the emotional aspect of the day, Dean said that he managed to hold it together.
“Sid was brilliant,” Dean said. “He showed him round and introduced him to everyone. Neil Harris signed his programme and then it was time to go out on to the pitch. It was absolutely fantastic.
“As parents, we were immensely proud of him. I thought I was going to lose it, but I held it together. His Mum who was in the crowd didn't!
“It was an emotional day – the hairs on my arms are standing up talking about it.
“He's an amazing boy, he just gets on with it and puts others to shame.”
The Brown family reserved special praise for Richard White, Community Development & Health Improvement Manager at Millwall, who got the ball rolling with Harvey's campaign.
There was a petition that received over 10,000 signatures to get treatment for Harvey’s condition, which is an inherited illness caused by an enzyme deficiency.
And Harvey’s treatment was given the green light by the government just before Christmas in December of last year.
“Richard caught a whiff of Harvey's story when there was a piece about him in the Southwark News” Dean said.
“He walked into a shop and saw the paper and Harvey with his Millwall shirt on. He thought he could help the family and got in touch.”
“He said Harvey had touched his heart and that he wanted to help him. I really appreciated it and it helped with the petition – he set up a Twitter page for Harvey that he still helps with now, too.”
Along with the club, Lions fans have fully supported Harvey's campaign from its inception and the Brown family wanted to thank everyone that has helped so far.
He added: “Every time you think the club has done enough, there's just more – it keeps going on.
“They've been absolutely fantastic. The fans and the club in general have been amazing.
“We can't thank them enough, from the bottom of our hearts. The fans and the club get bad press, but every one of them have been amazing.
"They call it the Millwall family – that's what it is. Neil Harris and everyone else are genuine. It's from the heart – they're amazing people.”
Image source: ©Millwall FC