Friday, 2 May 2014

Cherry Chimes asks Following Millwall FC will you stay up?

Match Preview
Millwall v AFCB
Blogger Interview - Following Millwall FC

I have had many a good chat with OZ (Mark Austin) of the  Following Millwall FC blog in the last few months via emails and it is good to know that he is upbeat ahead of the crucial game in his calendar this weekend - Millwall v AFCB. When we looked at the fixtures at the start of the season we both prayed that both teams would be safe by 3 May, but sadly for OZ and Millwall fans they need at least a good result or for other games to go their way to ensure survival. So how well is OZ keeping his cool this week?

CC: Do you think it has taken Ian Holloway a little while to get his style of play across to the players and do you look more of a team now?

FMB: It can be said that Ian Holloway's style is somewhat different along with his personality. There was questions regarding his state of mind after his stint at Crystal Palace and all sorts of reported reasons why he left. Whatever happened there, Crystal Palace that is, I don't care, it's what he does here and how he helps us stay up and push on next season. It has took us a while to "adjust" Playing five strikers was confusing for us so I can imagine what it was like for the players. I think in the early games he was more on tactics than playing his best team. He didn't know what his best team was but he thought he did and when he got them playing against the B-side and they got done 6-0 the B-side became the A-side and we haven't looked back. Ian Holloway basically started from scratch and his first mission was to find who is best players were and who wanted to play for him. There was a problem with doing this and I think the problem was that his best players wasn't his best team and I think this didn't come to light to the training ground game.His best team is not the fancy Dan's who he has now in the side as he has now let them go he has the grafters who will sweat blood for the team and Millwall FC. The team is enjoying their football once again.

Is it the Holloway factor? I think it is because it's not just the players enjoying their football once again, Ian Holloway is as well. There is no doubt he loves it, managing Millwall that is and he thrives in the fact that he has a blank canvas and he can do what he likes.

CC: Which game do you think was your best game in the last few weeks that gave your players most hope of beating the drop?

FMB: We have had good and very good results in the last undefeated seven games such as, a win at Forest, a win at Wigan, a win at Middlesbrough and draws against QPR, Blackburn, Watford and Doncaster. If I would have to vote I would say that the win at Boro was perhaps the best. This win took us out of the bottom three and the whole club was buzzing that perhaps we can get out of this mess. The recent draw with Doncaster was disappointing but on the day most results went our way and the recent draw at QPR was massive, it felt like a win and it's set us nicely for our last game at home against Bournemouth. Championship for another year? who knows at this moment in time but I think we have "found our self" and right now we have the third best form in the division. The team playing at the moment I would like to see next year in the Championship and Holloway and the team I'm sure would like to see what they can do from scratch.

CC: Stefan Maierhofer is making a name for himself up front as a big forward. Why do you think it has been working for him in recent games and is Martyn Woolford combining well with him?

FMB: Big is correct, 6' 8" and he can play a bit. The "Hof" has got skill and although he compared up against Peter Crouch I think he is a better player and has more control of his body parts. He can play the ball on the floor has decent close control ball skills and I would be happy if we signed him on a permanent contract.

CC: Is your team up to full strength or have you a few key players out at this stage of the season?

FMB: The squad is is not quite up to full strength with Danny Shittu our team captain out to next season with a heel injury and Richard Chaplow just back in training Ian Holloway will have a couple more options for next season. Nicky Bailey who was out for a good few games is now back in the side playing well and he has been a major factor in grinding out results that have hyped us achieve our recent good form.

CC: Our fans will want to know if there is any danger of Millwall going down should they stay away or do you think it is safe now for away fans visiting the Den?

FMB: I'll let you into a little secret; It is perfectly safe for Bournemouth supporters to come and see us and support their team at the Den. You will have your own end completely separate to any other part of the ground and we will even let your smokers go outside for a cigarette at half time. I will admit that you will have to listen to us non-stop roaring on the Lions mixed in with "friendly banter" as we welcome you to the Den in our own special way. You will leave the ground with your ears ringing and it will be a away day that you won't forget. Hopefully you will leaving with your tails between your legs and promising yourself that you will never come back here again. It will be rowdy and that's the Millwall way. Please Bournemouth fans, do come and support your team as we support ours.

If at the very worse the result from this game meant that we are going down the Den this would only be known near the end of the game and gloom would follow but no worries for the Bournemouth fans as we trudged off home feeling miserable and didn't even give you lot a thought. If we go down honestly and are beaten fairly we will take it on the chin, what we don't like is incompetent referee's and cheats.

CC: What do you think the atmosphere will be like for this game?

FMB: I think that my reply regarding Bournemouth supporters and their safety gives a overview of what I know the Den atmosphere can be. Hopefully the Den atmosphere will be rockin and the hairs on your neck will be standing to attention. I can imagine the home section of 16000 will be sold out or thereabouts. There is room for three thousand fans and if you fetch a thousand or more it will add to the atmosphere. We need to be sure of safety and the three points and stake we will be up for this one. Health and Safety would advise ear defenders for those of a delicate nature.

CC: Which three teams do you think will go down with Yeovil and Barnsley?

FMB: Three teams to go down, easy! Barnsley and Yeovil plus Blackpool or Birmingham. It would be nice to add Charlton to that!

CC: Hang on you can't have them all going down and sorry but since I asked the question Charlton are now safe, but Doncaster could still go down to keep Millwall up.

CC: If the unthinkable happened and Millwall did go down is the club in a good enough position to do a Wolves and come straight back up?

FMB: Millwall going down? We are not going down "but if we do" it all depends on the players we retain. Ian Holloway will carry on in League 1 and set abut a mission of getting us out and back in the Championship. We will do alright in League 1 because the back bone of the team have played in league 1 and won promotion from it. These players have been at Millwall for a long time and it will be these that Ian Holloway will need to build around as they as they will be the last the leave if we drop a division and most importantly they know the Millwall way.

CC: Millwall have let in the highest number of goals in the Championship this season so are new defenders a priority over the summer and do you feel that some of your back four are not good enough?

FMB: We have conceded a lot but that all seems a long time ago, We are a lot tighter at the back with a stronger midfield and we can be flexible and fluid in what we do. We don't give up and we will work to the final whistle. One of our big discoveries this year is long serving Alan Dunne moved from a full back position to a centre back and given the captains armband is doing that job really well and for a player who's been with Millwall since he was eight and is now one of senior pro's he has had a new lease of life and is working is "*uts off" He is enjoying the football like a teenager again but with a wise old head. He is Mr Millwall.

CC: The Millwall visit to Dean Court was one of the most memorable games of our season coming back from two down, but do you expect a much tighter game at the Den?

FMB: I don't expect us or you to get hammered so in that respect yes it will be a tighter game, maybe a odd goal. Carry on with our unbeaten run is paramount and I know we can do that, end of.

All the best for next season and I wish you all well down on the south coast and especially those that follow Bournemouth FC. Please enjoy your holidays and please start them now!

My best wishes starting Sunday!!

CC: Well it will be good to hear the Lions roar on Saturday and I am sure the game is going to be a great occasion. It is of course a lot easier for AFCB fans to enjoy with just pride at stake for the Cherries, but I hope that both sets of supporters can have a party at the end of the game. We are all football fans and come in expectation of being entertained. Whatever the result let's hope for plenty of goal mouth action.

Make sure you visit OZ's blog at Following Millwall FC.

1 comment:

  1. I would not be surprised if AFCB managed a big win tomorrow. That is how Eddie Howe signed off in two of the three seasons here, 4-0 against a team which needed the points. The third time we ourselves needed them and it was that 0-0.
    It all comes down to Bolton/Brummingham and Leicester/Doncaster and I can't predict which of those home teams are going to roll over and let their opposition stay up, a point would be enough for Doncaster if we win by at least two.

    I'd miss Millwall most if they went down.