Barry Kitchener, Harry Cripps, Teddy Sheringham, Terry Hurlock, Tim Cahill, Neil Harris, Paul Robinson. There have been many players who, whenever Millwall fans reminisce, will eloquently wax lyrical about how these are some of the greatest/hardest/most terrifying players they have ever seen at the Old and New Den. Players who we remember growing up watching wishing we could be, who we would cheer and chant their names from the stands and terraces. But what about the others? The players who when we find old programmes in the garage, we would flip it over and have completely forgotten that these players played a part in successful teams of the past. The ‘Steady Eddies’ who may not have scored hat-tricks or hit crunching tackles every week, but those who were reliable and wouldn’t let you down.
For this edition of Unsung Heroes, we look back at a player who's name instantly reminded you of an Elvis Presley classic and if it hadn't been for a horrific injury at the end of his Millwall spell, could've left us all shook up.
After fantastic live performances that resulted in glory, glory and an entry in the 2005-2006 PFA League Two Team of the Year, Millwall manager Nigel Spackman offered the young Danny Senda a contract after he impressed in a reserve team fixture. After departing from Wycombe Wanderers the defender looked set to be joining Luton Town, but fortunately for the Lions, Senda wouldn't end up playing in the ghetto of Kenilworth Road and found his new home in SE16.
Senda's first season at The Den saw him be a virtual ever present and he amassed an impressive 42 games in South Bermondsey. Senda was quickly becoming a fan favourite on the pitch and although there was plenty of turmoil off the field with the early sacking of Nigel Spackman, our young full-back did not let this affect his game or discipline, as our number 17 only accumulated two yellow cards all season. Senda played in the style of a traditional old-school full-back, the type who had bags of pace but was determined to defend first and attack later. A little less conversation, a little more action please was his mantle and the Millwall supporters loved him for it. After Willie Donachie took the reigns in the managerial hot seat, performances improved hugely throughout the side. Big wins against the likes of Cheltenham Town, Swansea City, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City towards the end of the season resulted in a respectable 10th place finish in what proved to be a catastrophic season for Millwall.
With a stable manager at the helm in Willie Donachie, a number of key signings such as Gary Alexander and Andy Frampton joining and James Henry and Liam Trotter joining the Lions on loan, there was much promise going into the 2007-2008 season. Unfortunately for Millwall though, the gel used to keep the team together was worse than the gel used in Lenny Pidgeley's hair, and Donachie's start to the season differed hugely from the successful second half to the season before. Losing seven of his first nine fixtures against the likes of Northampton Town, Southend United, Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion led to a stay in Heartbreak Hotel for the Millwall manager, and he was soon shown the newly installed revolving door. Kenny Jackett was brought in to stabilise the ship and there was no more cryin' in the chapel in Bermondsey as the new manager took us out of the drop zone and secured a 17th place finish. Senda again was a regular in the side with 45 appearances overall and finally got on the score sheet on the final game of the season away at Swindon Town. The burning love Senda had from the fans was evident when the ball hit the back of the net, but the devil in disguise loomed around the corner and cruelly ended the full-back's season when he suffered a devastating knee dislocation that affected the rest of his time at The Den.
A few days later, Senda was ruled out of action for nine months after the club confirmed he underwent knee surgery. At the time, physio Bobby Bacic told the club website: "Danny's rehabilitation will take up to nine months because of the severity of the original injury." The young defender worked tirelessly to get fit again for the Lions, showing signs of the type of player who the fans can't help fallin' in love with and although he featured in a handful of pre-season friendlies to prove his fitness, he was ultimately released by the Lions in 2009. In all, Senda played 87 games scoring one goal and for a defender was only cautioned five times, before going on to play for Bristol Rovers and Torquay United before retiring in 2012.
The rapport our young Lion built with the fans showed we didn't have just a wooden heart for the defender and whenever people ask about who was one of the best Millwall full-backs in recent years, we always cast our minds back and Return to Senda.