No One Likes Us- It’s Time To Care
By Sean Graham
Sometimes something just grabs your attention and you know that you have to speak out about it, today is one of those days.
Imagine if you will, you do your best for your home, you look after it and its surrounding area, you take care of your garden and look after your neighbours too, keeping an eye on them, taking their bins out and keep and eye on their general wellbeing, it’s a happy little area and you are really happy there and then the local council say, you need to move, we want your land to build on.
You wouldn’t be happy would you?
Now imagine this happening to a football club who have built up great links with the local community, who don’t want to be forced out of their home and all their local community, not every club is a West Ham who wanted a move to a new stadium. Even some of the hardcore Hammers fans didn’t go with them to the new stadium.
As a football fan, I don’t have any problems going to any ground to watch a game, Junior or Senior, I just love watching the game and sometimes making new friends.
Just recently, I was in London in the Southwark area on a family holiday and I had picked up a copy of the Southwark News to look at the what was going on in the world of football in that area.
I noticed how much work a certain club were doing in the community and also that they were having problems with their local council and a property developer as they tried to muscle in on their land.
I had thought no more about it until I looked at Twitter and then I felt I had to try and help them in some small way by signing the petition and by writing this article.
For many folk, if you mention the name, Millwall, the first thing that people would say is football hooligans and violence, such was the reputation of the fans back in the day.
Millwall are an easy target, there are clubs with a hooligan element all over the world but because the Lions fans have been highlighted over the years and their history of rucks with West Ham, they are seen as some kind of club and fans the football world could do without.
They sing, we are Millwall, super Millwall, no one likes us we don’t care but it is time for the football world to show that they care and care as much as these guys do about their club.
Through the years, Millwall have seen the high’s and the lows, the high’s of Wembley, getting to an FA Cup final and gaining promotion and the lows of relegation.
Make no mistake, this is the biggest fight that Millwall will have to face in recent years.
Chairman John Berylson , had gone to the local council back in 2013 with ambitious plans which would not only safeguard the future of the Den and the surrounding areas and the Millwall Community Trust, a Trust which has done so much to help locals in the area through the years .
They had enough help , advice and experienced people on board to make sure that their proposal, could go through without the need to ask for any external loans or capital but the Lewisham Council and the property development company, Renewal, still refuse to listen to the pleas.
Millwall fan on the board, Peter Garston had started a petition called, Defend Our Den, which had over 25,000 signatures on it, including former player Tim Cahill and Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker.
After a meeting which lasted over three hours, Lewisham Council approved the CPO by six to one.
Two local MP’s, Vicky Foxcroft and Neil Coyle and 22 other Labour MP’s, tried to stop the CPO going through but their attempts were in vain.
This was a crushing blow for everyone connected with Millwall, as they have worked tirelessly to ensure that they had every chance to save their land and defend The Den and even though this is no doubt a massive set-back for Millwall, they will not take this lying down.
Other clubs like Wimbledon have gone through the same heartache that Millwall are facing at present and they lost out on their home and fan base and the Millwall fans and chairman are going to make sure the same doesn’t happen to their club.
I have seen the same thing in Scotland with Clyde when they moved from Shawfield to Cumbernauld and everywhere in between not all the fans went on the journey with them.
It just goes to show you that, no matter how much you think the local council should support the local clubs at senior and junior levels, it should never surprise you that they hardly ever do.
Even when Millwall have stated their ambitions plans and said they will share the profits with Lewisham Council, answer was still no.
It makes you wonder if the local council should adopt that famous old Millwall chant?
We are Lewisham, Lewisham Council, no one likes us we don’t care!
The fight is far from over and I hope as football fans, people on the outside can see just how badly Millwall are being treated and back them to Defend the Den!