Millwall boss: I loved playing with Jimmy Abdou

MILLWALL manager Neil Harris has paid tribute to Jimmy Abdou – calling him a great servant to the club over the past ten-years.

Abdou was released by the Lions at the end of the season and leaves The Den a fans favourite after establishing a unique bond with the Millwall faithful.

The 33-year-old made 342 appearances during his spell in south London, netting nine times.

Harris and Abdou were teammates for three seasons between 2008-2011 and the Millwall boss described him as the 'ultimate team player' and a great character to have in the dressing room.

"Jimmy epitomises what a good Millwall player can be, based on not being the most technically gifted football, and that's no disrespect to Jim, he knows that." Harris said. "But, by having the longevity of a career here, based on pride, passion, a work ethic, making the best of your ability and being the ultimate team player.

He continued: "He won two Player of the Year awards and under me, Ken [Kenny Jackett] and under other managers, his name would have been the first name on the team sheet quite a lot of times, especially through difficult spells, when you need reliability, performances and results.

"Jimmy was a great teammate. to share a dressing room with him was great.

"I loved playing with him. If I was picking an all-time Millwall XI, Jimmy wouldn't necessarily be in the team, but he would certainly be in the dressing room.

"You look at players who have had long careers here and have had testimonials in recent years – Rhino (Keith Stevens), myself, Paul Robinson, Alan Dunne and now Jimmy – we have all had spells where we have not been first choice or not necessarily been first choice in the Millwall fans eyes and have all had difficult spells at the club, but have all been characters.

"When you cross that white line, it's full pelt. You make the best of your ability. When you're not playing well, you do what's expected of you, and Jimmy certainly falls into that category. It's a fitting end to his Millwall career."

Abdou joined AFC Wimbledon on a season-long loan deal last summer and Harris explained why the 33-year-old was sent out to League One side.

He made 34 appearances for Neil Ardley's side, scoring twice and played a crucial part in ensuring the Dons remained in the third-tier for a third consecutive season.

Since his release by Millwall, Abdou has signed for French fourth-tier side FC Martigues, his home town club, and will complete his move when his contract expires at the end of June.

Harris continues: "Obviously, last year he signed up with us and then went to Wimbledon because he realised his time in England was coming to an end and he wanted to try and play 40 games.

"I think that was our conversation last summer, Jimmy knew he was going to be in the starting XI and would struggle to get into the 18.

"The man wanted to play football, so he went to Wimbledon and this summer we feel like we have gone to another level again, so Jimmy is going back to play in France. I am delighted for him.

"He has got a beautiful young family and he has had a great career in England. When Jimmy came over 11-years ago he maybe didn't envisage he would be here quite so long, but he has done great.

"We look forward to seeing him in a few weeks at The Den.

"He could have stayed at us and been part of our group, but he didn't want to be in Ben's [Thompson] way and he knew it was going to be tough to break in front of George [Saville], Ryan [Tunnicliffe] and Shaun [Williams], so it was agreed he would go out on loan for the season, but with a view to coming back for a testimonial at the end of it.

"I think it shows the quality of our club and our chairman, to say, right, we appreciate what you have done.

"It's an opportunity for the fans to appreciate Jimmy and for Jimmy to show his appreciation to the fan base. I am really looking forward to 28 July."

Image: Millwall FC