The slightly rusted brass door hinge squeaks as I open the door to the Millwall Café. There is a small steam cloud gently rising behind Sandra, who greets me with a warm smile. Her red, worn roller neck jumper has its sleeves rolled up, showing off folded, frail arms and knobbly elbows. In the seats directly in front, 'Arry is sitting with Dave. Dave is holding up small rectangular pieces of card with a white back, which I soon discover is photos that 'Arry has printed off for him at the Boots at Surrey Quays. 'Arry's wooden seat is slightly at an angle just behind Dave, to make sure that 'Arry's stifled chuckle cannot be seen or heard by the man who is buried into the shop processed portraits.
"Oh the memories Mike," says Dave, who is showing his emotional side with each photo that he lifts and passes to the back of the queue. "What a lovely Pontins holiday that was, remember this beach? Beautiful wasn't it?"
"Usual lads?" shouts Sandra, over the radio that is playing Atomic Kitten's 'Eternal Flame'.
"Not for me today Sandra," says 'Arry walking to the till, before arriving and leaning on the cold counter top. "I'm getting a bit sick of these extravagant coffees. Just something a bit more simple if you don't mind? Builder's Strength for Mike and a steamed skinny almond milk latte with chocolate flakes, a touch of vanilla syrup and a couple of those little coffee biscuits?"
"Thought you said simpler?" I shouted over to 'Arry, whilst firing up my iPad and loading the pages of Millwall news from this week. 'Arry then whispers something to Sandra, and his feet leave the floor due to the overstretching he has to meet Sandra's ear. Her faded gold earrings jingle as she puts her head towards 'Arry's lips, and she starts biting her bottom lip as 'Arry chuckles with every muted word.
"'Ere do you mind?!" Dave says angrily, "I'm trying to look at these pictures and remember our time on the beach a few weeks back."
'Arry and Sandra howl with laughter at this point, Sandra uses her tea stained apron to wipe the tears from her face.
"You pillock Dave," I say joining in laughing, "this isn't Pontins. It's the Rochdale pitch from the other night!"
"Oh flipping hell 'Arry!" Dave says, his stare instantly going towards the young man who is doubled over with laughter by the steamed window with the fried cod inside. "I've been looking at these for over an hour!"
"Least we can see the funny side of it though," I sigh, "only good thing we can take from the other night. Shocking result wasn't it? Would've been nice to have Spurs down here next week, but at least we have the Cardiff game and the league to focus on."
"Another thing we can take is that Tim looks like he's getting fitter," 'Arry says, grinning at his new hero in the Millwall navy through the fingerprint covered glass. "He scored for the under-23's the other day, turns out that's his first goal for a Millwall side for 14 years."
"That's probably the last time I won anything big out of this poxy machine as well," said Dave, as he found himself being drawn to the lights on the fruit machine like a moth to a flame. "Tell you what, fortunes changed the other day when we won away again at Reading, maybe my fortunes will change now?"
I flick through the news pages and see the Southwark News site has Nick Hart from Achtung! Millwall on it's front page. 'Arry joins me and we both read how Nick is doing a charity walk for Isla Caton's campaign and will be joined by a number of West Ham fans to try and raise funds.
"Fair play to him," says 'Arry, "it's for a great cause and it's brilliant to see how Millwall and West Ham can all put our difference aside."
"I wonder how his training is getting on?" I ask myself out loud.
"Training?!" Sandra said in a high pitched voice as she brings over our drinks. "Well the other day he came in here, asked for a Bovril, which we didn't have, so he said 'in that case I'll have a full fry up with all the trimmings' and sat down in the corner. He sat there asking everyone around him about some fan club or something, then literally as soon as he put his knife and fork down, he stood up, went to the door, shouted 'Arrivederci Millwall!' then walked out. It was all very surreal."
"He seemed like a nice fella," said Dave, still trying to work out why Greater Manchester reminded him of Norfolk, "plus, he put a fiver in the machine which someone went on to win after he left...."
"Well fry up or not, good luck to him," I said, "like we said it's a good cause and it's a great effort."
'Arry and I continue to read how Neil Harris believes that Millwall will bounce back against Cardiff, and that Shaun Hutchinson has told Neil Warnock's side to bring it on. We open the article that says how Harris doesn't think this is one for the football purists neither, with both sides being low in the passing statistics.
"I'm a bit worried 'Arry," I said concerned "it says here that Cardiff are the biggest team in the division, all it'll take is a nudge from one of theirs in the box and it could be all over!"
"Not just them who needs a nudge," says Dave at the fruit machine, sighing at the last red 7 that refuses to drop to guarantee him a big win. "Anyone got a quid? I'm on for a winner I can feel it!"
"Hang on Dave," I say, "I'll lend you a couple of quid once 'Arry tells me about the Lionesses..."
Sluuuuuuurpppppp.... and in one go my caramel macchiato went down the back of my throat. Yes it was great, but I really wanted to let Mike now what was going down this week with the Lionesses. As I cut into my slightly crispy slice of bacon I said to Mike "great game on Sunday wasn’t it?"
"Yeah mate it was!" Mike agreed, "what a debut from Sandra and Dave! They loved it and they said they will definitely be coming back to the Lionesses' Den."
"It wasn’t the prettiest of games," trying to stop my nose going into the cream of the second macchiato Sandra brought over to me, "but then again Rianna did slam home a hat trick! Dave compared the level of excitement to when he got a flush in poker."
"It was an important win to say the least," Mike said, passing me a spoon to gather up some of the whipped cream that was dribbling down the side of my mug, "now they’ve got to turn there attention to Sunday when they travel to Villa, their first away game of 2018."
"I’ll be doing my famous tweets of course," I said " there'll be a few spelling mistakes here and there, and obviously a new video on the old YouTube of course!"
"How do you think they will fair on Sunday?" Mike asked, "I heard Sandra won’t be going as they don’t allow any dirty dancing after the game."
"That’s a shame," I reply, "saying that though. It’s only up at Tamworth nothing classy. Not like my coffees!" I give a little cheeky wink to Sandra as a I slurp another mouthful.
"Your coffees are getting well out of control mate," Mike laughed, "you’re becoming more hyper than the Megan Wynne celebration! You dropped me in it by telling Megan she’s my favourite player!"
"If you’re lucky you might get a signed shirt!" I said, "just don’t bring it here, Sandra is bound to spill some form of coffee down it!"
We sat there tucking into our breakfast which to me looked slightly over cooked, and was rather unpleasant due to us both sitting next to the men’s toilets!
"YES!!" Dave screamed, "I've won! I won, I don’t believe it! I won the jackpot! Pack your bags lads we’re going on tour..."