Millwall chief executive explains process around search for new manager

MILLWALL chief executive Steve Kavanagh believes Gary Rowett is the perfect "fit" who can take the club to the " next stage. 

Rowett succeeds Neil Harris as the Lions' permanent boss.

"It’s great to secure the signature of Gary," Kavanagh told Millwall's official site.

"It has been a long couple of weeks and we’ve worked extremely hard behind the scenes, but we’re delighted to get Gary here. He’s a proven and experienced Championship manager, and I think that’s important to take us to the next stage that we want to go to.

"We spent a lot of time talking to Gary, getting someone who can build on what we’ve got and where we’ve come to. It became apparent that we wanted what he has. His knowledge and experience of the Championship is there, and he’s also someone who we feel can fit in with the team, backroom staff and everyone here. We feel he can carry on the culture of the club, that Millwall DNA which can carry us forward."

Millwall spoke to a number of potential candidates after the resignation of Harris.

Kavanagh continued: "Neil had been here four-and-a-half years, and was the Championship’s longest-serving manager. After the shock of Neil resigning, it would’ve been easy to panic and make a knee-jerk reaction, but I think it was important to take time, to breathe, and to get around the number of various candidates who were out there to potentially come in.

"We spoke to up-and-coming young managers, coaches, and we’ve spoken to experienced, senior managers in the game. Of course, the chairman was vital in this process, and he had to come back over from America and was here for the Leeds game. So, it took a bit of time, but I would say two weeks isn’t that long in reality.

"We feel we’ve taken the right steps, through a professional process, where we’ve made sure we believe we have the right man for the job – and we really do think in Gary we have that."

Rowett has brought in assistant Callum Davidson and technical coach Joe Carnall. Current caretaker Adam Barrett will remain as a first-team coach alongside the current staff.

"A manager usually comes in and builds new backroom teams with new people, but that wasn’t the issue here," Kavanagh continued.

"We made it clear that we saw our current backroom staff with important parts to play moving forward. Gary understands that and is looking forward to getting to know and work with these people, and also to challenge them, take them on and develop them as well."

"We want to go onto the next level and we strongly believe Gary is the man who can help us do that. We’re sensible in our approach, we’re not setting Gary ridiculous targets, but we see him as the long-term man to guide the club forward to the level we are all ambitious to reach.

"We’ve committed to working with the fans, I try and speak with different fan groups as best I can, but that most important factor is that 90 minutes out on the pitch – getting behind Gary and his guys and the team to really drive results."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly