Date: 16th August 2012 at 10:41am
Written by:

SeasideEssexXile tells you all you need to know when travelling down to Millwall this Saturday.

Millwall – The Den

By SeasideEssexXile

As Dolly Parton once sang – here we go again.

After what seems an eternity since that heartbreak day at Wembley the season returns with a trip to London.

There`s no point thinking it could have been Spuds or Chelski as it is, it`s Millwall and what could have been the scene of our last Championship away game, ironically is the first of 46 which will over the next 9 months show us if we`ll be able to take that extra step back to the riches that come with the Premiership.

How To Get There

M55, M6, M1 South.

Follow City signs from A1/M1, then signs for Shoreditch and Whitechapel.

Follow Ring Road signs for Dover, cross over Tower Bridge and after 1 mile take first exit at the roundabout onto A2. From Elephant & Castle take A2 (New Kent Road) into Old Kent Road and turn left after 4 miles at Gem restaurant into Ilderton Road to Zampa Road.

As an alternative to coming through London, take the M25 onto the M11 and follow signs to Blackwall tunnel then through Greenwich to Evelyn Street turning left into Grinstead Road becoming Surrey Canal Road. (Deptford Park is on your right for street parking).

From South: Take A20 and A21 following signs to London. At New Cross follow signs for Surrey Quays into Kender Street, turn left into Old Kent Road then right into Ilderton Road. Zampa Road is the 7th turning on the right.

From East: Take A2 to New Cross (then as south).

From West: From M4 and M3 follow South Circular (A205) then follow signs for

Clapham, City (A3), then Camberwell to New Cross and then as from the South.

Alternatively take M25 followed by A20 or A2.

For The Sat Navvers – SE16 3LN.

For The Virgin Lovers Amongst us – South Bermondsey Railway Station is only a few minutes walk from the ground. There is a direct walkway specifically built for away fans which takes you directly to the away end and back to the station afterwards. The two underground stations, Surrey Quays & New Cross Gate, which are both on the East London Line. They are about 15-20 minutes walk away from the ground.

The Ground

Millwall moved to the New Den in 1993, and is the 6th ground occupied by Millwall.

Millwall Rovers were formed by the workers of J.T. Morton’s canning and preserve factory in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End in 1885. First founded in Aberdeen in 1849 to supply sailing ships with food, the company opened their first English cannery and food processing plant at Millwall docks in 1872 and attracted a workforce from across the country, including the east coast of Scotland, primarily Dundee.

The club secretary was seventeen-year-old Jasper Sexton, the son of the landlord of The Islander pub in Tooke Street where Millwall held their meetings. Millwall Rovers’ first fixture was on 3 October 1885 against Fillebrook, a team that played in Leytonstone, however the newly-formed team were beaten 5-0.

From 1886-1890, Millwall Rovers played on ground behind the Lord Nelson pub on the Isle of Dogs.

In April 1889, a resolution was passed for Millwall to drop ‘Rovers’ from their name and they were now playing under the name Millwall Athletic, inspired by their move to their new home The Athletic Grounds. They would become founding members of the Southern Football League which they won for the first two years of its existence and were runners-up in its third.

Millwall moved to a new stadium, named The Den, in New Cross in 1910. The club had previously occupied four different grounds in the twenty-five years since their formation; limited expansion space on the Isle Of Dogs meant The Lions had to move to boost support and attendances. The estimated cost of The Den was £10,000. The first match played at the new ground was on 22 October 1910 against reigning Southern League champions Brighton & Hove Albion, who spoiled the celebrations by winning 1-0.

The Den was the first new all seater stadium to be completed after the Taylor Report on the Hillsborough disaster. It was designed with effective crowd management in mind (given Millwall’s crowd problems at the Old Den), with the escape routes being short and direct. After chairman Reg Burr decided that it would not be viable to redevelop The Den as an all-seater stadium, he announced during 1990 that Millwall would be relocating to a new stadium in the Senegal Fields area. Originally, it was planned to have a seating capacity of between 25,000 to 30,000. Millwall however, could not meet the additional cost..

Millwall played their final game on 8 May 1993 at The Den after 83 years, and moved to the new 20,000 all-seater stadium a quarter of a mile away from Cold Blow Lane.

The £16 million Den was opened by John Smith MP (leader of the Labour Party and Opposition at the time) on 4 August 1993 prior to a prestigious friendly against Sporting Lisbon which Sporting won by 2-1. The Den was the first new football stadium constructed for a professional team in London since 1937.

Millwall have experienced mixed fortunes since relocating to The Den. Their first season at the stadium (1993-94) saw them finish third in Division One?their highest finish since relegation from the top flight four years earlier. However, their dreams of Premier League football were ended by a defeat in the playoffs and they were relegated to Division Two in 1996, not winning promotion from that level until 2001.

They came close to reaching the Premier League again in 2002, finishing fourth but once again losing in the playoffs.

Away fans are located behind the goal in the North Stand (usually in the upper tier only). Room for 4,000 if demand requires it.

Where To Drink

Nil choice by the ground. If travelling by train then it is probably best to grab a beer around London Bridge before moving onto the ground. ‘The Shipwright Arms on Tooley Street, near London Bridge. Come out of London Bridge tube station, turn right and its only 200yds down the road on your right hand side. On the Borough High Street by London Bridge is the Barrow Boy & Banker, further down the High Street is the Borough Market, which on nearby Stoney Street is situated the legendary Market Porter pub. ‘Also on Borough High Street is the George Inn.

Ale is available inside the ground.

Plod & Stewards

It`s the Met – enough said, stewards will be tolerant towards us.

Fear Factor Rating – 8. Probably best to get it out of the way early doors.

Our last visit to London cost us a fortune, hardy the same weighting on this game but it`s always nice to start with a win. Most of the squad remain and more of the same is required. Sod the playoffs. For 20yrs it`s been all smiles but towards the end of last season we showed that we can live with the best and often we can be the best.

Here`s hoping come 5pm on Saturday there`s not a cold blow following us back up t`North but a warm feeling that this year we`ll be able to cross the line and provide more gold for the Chairman.

Onwards + Upwards