"Cuppa tea please, builder's strength if you'd be so kind?" was my order while I again waited for 'Arry to turn up at the café. The warm air was a welcoming feel on my cold cheeks and hearing Wham's Last Christmas for the hundredth time that week was starting to irritate me. My gambling mate was back and stood in front of his version of festive lights, eagerly waiting for the fruit machine to dispense his chocolate coins.
"For the last time Dave," the woman behind the till said angrily, "if the machine swallows your £20 note, you got to call the number on the machine, not take it out my till!"
"Sod it, last time on the phone it cost me more than the money the poxy thing swallowed!" he shouted back. "I've lost the Christmas Turkey money, may as well do the Brussel Sprouts."
My mate, who I now know is called Dave, made his way back to the machine while I sat in my seat and fired up my iPad. I scrolled through the club website which didn't have too much this week, probably because of the new CPO rumours, but I remembered we had a recent update from John Berylson on this week's Lions Live. I know JB loved our club and had been there for a long time, but I completely forgot he had been investing and help run our club as far back as the dark days of Willie Donachie's reign.
"Here mate," yelled Dave as he reached into his back pocket for some more change, "Did you know that Berylson wanted Phil Babb on the staff when he first took over? He was gonna call the regime Donachie-Babb! Haha, get it?! Doner Kebab?! 'Ere; that reminds me!" screamed Dave before leaning towards the till, "you ever gonna serve kebabs in here?!"
"You've got more chance of winning your money back and taking me to The Venue!" A voice screamed back from behind the till.
"Don't let her indoors hear you say that Sandra! Did you hear Lions Live the other day? Berylson missed a Millwall game recently cos of a funeral and if the Mrs finds out you want me to take you to The Venue, there'll be another Millwall fan who'll be missing games for the foreseeable!"
I took my attention away from Bermondsey's version of Romeo and Juliet, to keep scrolling through the news. Reading through News at Den, I saw Livermore recently said that players like Morison are hard to find. I find that hard to believe, as we've had loads of strikers who've struggled to hit the back of the net in recent years. I think what Livers means is a player who brings so much to the side even when the goals dry up and he would be right, Moro has had a good season so far.
I continue browsing and see that Neil Harris believes he has assembled a side of misfits who struggled in other teams, but have flourished in Millwall's team this season. Saville, Wallace, Cooper, Hutchinson get mentions as well as our recent acquisitions from League One and Chopper is spot on. He has built a really good side who with a bit more investment could really do well in a few years, a belief that is backed up by an article further up the page which says Millwall are a few transfer windows away from where they want to be.
"Tell you what mate," Dave says, "after a bit more investment, I could do well on this machine. She won't mind if I throw the parsnip money in." With that, he put his last £2 in and the loud reels started spinning.
I keep reading about Shaun Williams being back in contention after injury when 'Arry walks in looking worse for wear.
"What on Earth happened to you?" I ask 'Arry, trying to hide my laughter as his pale face rests on the table.
"You don't want to know Mike," he groaned, "me and the lads had too many down the 'Spoons and I woke up with a sore arm. Next thing you know, I've got a 'Lee Burch's Barmy Army' tattoo on my bicep."
The café now stops in silence to look at 'Arry. 'Stop The Cavalry' is blaring and I need something to take the attention away from 'Arry's new piece of body art. "Come on mate," I ask, "what's been happening with The Lionesses?"
I had just walked into the cafe when I saw a snigger from Mike. "What you laughing at?" I asked, knowing what the response would be.
"What’s that on your right bicep?!" said Mike through stifled laughter. I swaggered in with confidence and proudly said to him "it’s my Lee Burch’s Barmy Army tattoo!"
Mike continuously laughed at my arm before the waitress came over and asked what we would like to eat. Mike went first, "err can I have the full English please with a tea?" Before I even got a word in the waitress turned to me and said... "I know Lee Burch," the waitress was obviously looking at how big my biceps were and must have noticed it! "He is doing a great job with the Lionesses and with the right financial backing could compete easily at any level."
The waiter left and I turned to Mike and said, "did you hear about the restructuring fee and the league this week? The Lionesses have applied to stay in the same league."
"That’s got to be good for them surely?!" Mike asked.
"I would say so, the top tier isn’t financially stable for a club the size of ours and we are definitely not 3rd tier worthy either."
"It’s going to be a very competitive season next year" Mike said after I showed him the teams in tier 2 for 2018/19 season. "I want Charlton in our league, we can beat them like we always do, TRAIN SPOTTERS TRAIN SPOTTERS!"
"Mike keep it down!" I yelled.
I immediately changed the subject! "So any plans for the new year Mike?"
"Well I’m going to wait for the new season to come about and play the TRAIN...." it was then we got kicked out the café for being too loud.
"Hang on Mike," I remembered, "this is the second time I've bought you breakfast now you tight fisted...."
"JACKPOT!!!!" screamed Dave, "Sandra, get your coat! We're off to New Cross tonight!!"