ALEX Rae is hoping Neil Harris retains the core of his Millwall squad this summer – and praised chairman John Berylson for the support he has given his manager.
Legendary former Lions midfielder Rae believes the club can “take a lot of heart” from last season, pointing to the “Millwall feel” that Harris has restored on the pitch.
Rae feels if Harris keeps his main players they are only a couple of additions away from improving on the last campaign.
“If he manages to keep the same squad, that gives you a lot to build on. You can add one or two and rise to the challenge,” Rae said. “If they get cherry-picked then it becomes a really difficult job because you have to start rebuilding. Rae told NewsAtDen at The Wonderful Cup at The Den last Sunday.
“I hope he can manage to retain most of them. They can then go into next season with lots of confidence. They know they can compete.
“No one likes to come to The Den. I watched a game here, a Friday night game [against Fulham], and the place was absolutely bouncing. They had a couple of chances in the first half to score before Fulham stepped up the pace.
“But the atmosphere was brilliant, it took me back to when I played here in front of 17,000, it was such an intimidating place. A lot of grounds don’t have that atmosphere, so a lot of players aren’t used to it. It’s intimidating. And the chant of ‘Milll…' I put on social media, ‘a full house at The Den, this could be interesting’.
“I know what it likes to play here in that environment. I wish I was still playing.
“They did brilliantly last year. I know how it works when you look at the budget. The chairman, John Berylson, has been very supportive. A lot of foreign owners get a lot of flak and don’t actually run their clubs in the right manner.
“John has been very good, he’s invested with managers and he runs a really good club here.
“To just miss out on the play-offs by just a couple of points would have been extremely disappointing for Chopper. But at the same time they can take a lot of heart from it and try to build again next year.
“What he has done is he has managed to bring a Millwall feel back to the playing field. They are very aggressive, they’re really good to watch and the fans have really bought into it.
“It’s a good time to be a Millwall fan.”
*Rae spoke exclusively to Southwark News this week. Read a longer interview in today's print edition, including a colourful first encounter with Millwall fans at the old Den.
Image: Millwall FC