Its 1194 BC. The strong and indomitable Greek army arrived on the Trojan shore. There were many reasons for this battle. The widely acknowledged reason was to retrieve Helen of Troy after she ran away from the Greeks and married into Trojan royalty. Another acknowledged reason for the attack was the Greeks wanting to invade and conquer Troy. To beat these underdogs to submission, leave the locals with the feeling of no hope for survival and to reign dominant over all of those around them. This mythical battle would not be replicated until a warm September afternoon in Bermondsey when the mighty and seemingly invincible Leeds United arrived at the brave and courageous home of Millwall Football Club. Millwall’s Helen of Troy were three valuable points, the most beautiful thing in the land to all those in Navy and White. Would history repeat itself? Would Leeds United leave The Den in carnage after arriving in their Trojan Horse? We would find out in 90 minutes time…
At 3pm, our brave soldiers from Troy came on to the field in their uniform, protected by the Lion badge that was their shields over their chest. The flags of war were flying and the proud citizens of this mythical town were cheering and supporting our army from the stands all around. The Greeks had arrived too via Yorkshire, in their white kits with black trim. The support from the locals who had sailed on their ships with their platoon was slightly different to the enthusiastic and over zealous roars from the Dockers, Barry Kitchener and Cold Blow Lane stands. This was a cheer of expectation. They had conquered all around them and were thirsty for more land and rewards. There were seemingly 11 Achilles’ on the field and although we had our own Hector and Paris, our South London equivalent were not given much chance. Invincible, awe-inspiring, God-like with their current status in the league and The Lions were seemingly a few rough waves at sea that these Greeks would just sail through and laugh as they tried to lash at the bottom of these great vessels.
Millwall attacked first, trying to catch this great militia off guard. Attack early must have been what Neil Harris had told the players and in the 6th minute Steve Morison seemingly put The Lions 1-0 up, when a Conor McLaughlin shot was parried into his path and Morison struck the ball into the back of the net. The first strike in this great war had been launched, although the celebrations would be premature and quickly silenced as the goal was ruled out for offside. Would this just anger Agamemnon on the side line and his troops? The answer was no and within the first 10 minutes Steve Morison had come close again. Leeds United were playing like they had just landed on the beach and were caught off guard by spears and cannon balls that were being thrown into their direction.
The Greek army with their LUFC shields did manage to unleash a shot for themselves in the 22nd minute, however a resident of Troy who was sat in Row Z of the mythical Cold Blow Lane stand was more affected than Jordan Archer.
The tempo of this battle did slowly decrease after the 35th minutes until Steve Morison should have connected from a Jed Wallace cross, but our brave Trojans were never in any trouble and the powerful Leeds United just were not threatening Troy and we were easily keeping them at bay.
The screams from the Leeds fans reminded me of Achilles screaming to Hector to face him. Trying to intimidate the Millwall faithful, it was ringing around the stadium and we were wondering whether the performance from the first half was a Trojan Horse, trying to persuade Millwall that the mighty northern army had left and we could lower our weapons and attacks. Unlike the classic tale, the Lions did not fall for this wooden thoroughbred and we continued mercilessly to attack our invaders. These armed forces had arrived on our shores and were trying to intimidate and conquer our army, but Millwall would not let this happen. Our troops continued to not allow Leeds any breathing space, with Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith in particular who were our stand out recruits. Tough tackling and no surrender were in every single challenge from our two full backs and along with this attitude of leaving no enemy alive, was some wonderful link up play with the equally exceptional Jed Wallace, Fred Onyedinma and Aiden O’Brien. By the 58th minute, Millwall had a deflected effort from Jed Wallace pushed away for a corner, a Shaun Hutchinson effort that was saved and a great attack from Wallace that hit the foot of the Leeds post. The Trojan Horse had been pushed back on to the pitch, as Leeds seemed to be playing worse, but we just could not find the blows that would send this great army into retreat. When Fred Onyedinma missed the target from six yards out and when the leader of our military, Steve Morison, missed an easy chance, we all thought the real Greek army would leap out of the horse and steal Helen with a smash and grab effort.
The excellent Aiden O’Brien stepped up in the 73rd minute. Pulled out his sword and with some assistance from the outstanding Onyedinma, plunged it deep into the Leeds United goal. The citizens of Troy went absolutely crazy and we had found the Greek’ s Achilles’ heel. This long war was now finally swinging in Millwall’s favour, we had violated the Leeds defence and we wanted to finish this team and send them back on their ships, knowing if they ever came back, we would be waiting. A George Saville miss in the 86th minute would have left the Greek army totally decimated, but we were happy enough with our performance and at the 90th minute the final whistle went and Leeds retreated to fight another day. A great battle where the underdogs were victorious. Unlike the brave Trojan warriors, we had won and the Millwall fans were delirious.
Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships, although this time we had successfully defended her honour and she stayed on the Trojan land of The New Den.
🏆 Man of the Match 🏆
An exceptional performance from this brave warrior. Although O'Brien and Onyedinma will receive the plaudits, this was a magnificent effort from our Trojan
💬 Fans after thought 💬
After each game, I will speak with a fan and gather their thoughts on the team and the season so far. This week’s guest is Paul "Oiiiiiiii!!! Yellow Card Ref!!!" Hook, father of James Hook, last week's guest who unfortunately missed Millwall’s first goal of the season against Bolton as he was in the toilet.
Favourite player this season:
Favourite all time Millwall player:
Greatest Millwall Moment:
Every time we win. If I had to pick a game then FA Cup Semi Final v Sunderland, 2004 at Old Trafford.
What did you think of today’s game:
Most dominant display I have seen for quite some time, especially with Leeds being the form team. A lot of plus points with excellent performances from Fred & Jed.
What do you think of the season so far:
Much better than I expected despite not getting the points some of our displays have merited. Harris has signed players that can play the Millwall way.