Alan McLeary The Local Boy.
“My father started bringing me to Millwall when I was about eight. My grandfather was Irish. Since he came over, my family have always lived in South-East London, and always supported Millwall, never any other team.”
“When I began coming here with my mates, we stood on the half-way line. If Millwall were kicking towards the Cold Blow Lane end in the second half, we would nip round to that end hopefully to see us scare a few goals there. You used to be able to walk round at that time, and slide through the little fence. “I started training at the club when I was 12. My mates became plumbers, chippies, roofers, a bit of everything.”
“As I progressed at the club, nothing changed as far as we were concerned. I was still one of them. There was never any ‘oh, he plays football now, we can’t be seen to go out with him.’ If I’ve played badly, they never lie to me about what they think. They are my mates, and that is that.”
“Friends who play for other clubs find it difficult to understand our way of life. They can’t see that you like to live amongst people you enjoy being with. I don’t know where they get their image of London from. They seem to think there is a mugger next door to you, or that everyone on the terraces is going to wait outside and beat you up. It is just not true. The area is such a friendly area. I would not swap it for anything.”
“Some clubs that come down may not know about our sort of humour. I don’t know. They probably take it the wrong way when people are just trying to have a laugh with them. The humour gets mixed up with what they think is having a go at them.”
“We moved out to Welling when I was twenty. Lots of my friends moved out there, too. It seems like our own little community moving from one place to another, so you are still seeing the same faces you were seeing before. Its not the same sort of relationship between your next-door neighbours. I don’t think you’ll ever get that sort of thing again. You have fifty families in a row in Welling, where as before you had two hundred families together in a tower block.
Millwall history files.