It’s funny, but there’s a reason why I delayed posting my latest article by a day – I had a feeling that Millwall would get a win over Blackpool last night to make it look like the point I want to make would seem a little silly!
I’ve kept an eye on my first professional club and their terrible start to the season under Steve Lomas. It had gone somewhat unnoticed until that defeat at the weekend against Derby – it was not what was expected at all. Derby, to me, are far from certainties to run away with the division and to be beaten so heavily at home, at the Den really sent alarm bells ringing.
I’ll be honest, and you can look back over what I’ve said in the past – I had reservations over Steve when he took the job as I knew what a tough job he’d taken on. I received a few smart remarks on Twitter when I suggested before Steve was hired that I would be interested in the situation but I know the history of the club.
Millwall fans are proud of their club and rightly so. They will accept poor results, a poor run of form, as long as they can feel the character of the club is being upheld and be seen to be trying to play the game. Kenny did a great job but didn’t end his time at the Den well, maybe with the knowledge he was leaving – one win in the last seven games, and five defeats. Going back further, twelve defeats in the last nineteen league games (though it could be said they were distracted by the Cup run). But Kenny knew the philosophy of the club and the supporters by and large had faith in him.
Steve has been fighting an uphill battle as soon as he walked through the doors, with his West Ham background. The rivalry goes back a long, long way. You can’t expect every manager to have proud and strong links to the history of the club but when they are from a historical rival then you hope that they at least have the pedigree and experience to weather the storm and justify the faith.
I think jury is still out on Steve, even after last night’s result.. that would be one that I put down to the players – a great result, and two fabulous goals from Nicky Bailey and Steve Morison to give us the points, but their collective pride would have been stung by the result on Saturday. You don’t become a bad team overnight and Millwall showed they have quality by beating Premier League teams last season. Maybe Blackpool came to Millwall complacent, thinking they’d get a result easily.
Millwall fans, and Steve, will know as well as anyone that the difficult start of the season cannot just be forgotten about after one good result – Saturday’s game at Charlton has suddenly become a very big game indeed. It’s an even bigger game than the one against Blackpool, with some local pride at stake – it’s just down the road, and they’ll need all hands on deck. A good result on Saturday lunchtime could go a long way to winning over some fans – here’s the but. Patience is something Millwall supporters will give you, as long as they can see steps in the right direction.