"You're so dandy, I wanna know.
Can you feel it too, just like I do?"
I look from afar through the double glazing that surrounds the noise and usual bustle of the Millwall Café breakfast hour. Silence surrounds the immediate area of The Den, with the only noise to mention being a subtle ripple, indicating the cross of St George and navy Millwall flags above the Barry Kitchener Stand which are trying to escape, only for the knotted rope keeping them from flying away. Peering through the large window, I see Samantha Patchcole and Sandra trying to teach ‘Arry yet another novelty dance routine. His pink trainers and ripped skin-tight denim jeans are clinging to his skinny knees for dear life, as he tries to replicate the choreography that the Café’s temporary employee is attempting to impart to him.
As I walk across the dust filled roads outside the club shop, a moped flies out of Zampa Fish and heads towards the traffic lights under the Neil Harris mural. I raise my foot as I make it across the dirt covered tarmac and open the door to meet ‘Arry at our meeting point. I am met first with the song that ‘Arry and his backing dancers are moving to, before I am spotted by the energetic trio myself.
“It’s like Candy,” Cameo blares from the speakers, “I can feel it when you walk, even when you talk it takes over you…”
“What’s happening here Dave?” I ask in amazement, as I see Samantha Patchcole once again lambast poor ‘Arry for putting his foot in the wrong place and lean his shoulder the wrong way.
“Haven’t you heard mate?” Dave replies as he holds the same two red 7’s for the third time on the machine since I walked in, “pre-season fixture list is announced! Nice little trip out to Portugal for some training for the first team, but got some nice little away games against Dartford, Colchester and Cambridge!”
“Yeah I saw that Dave,” I say, "so why are they dancing to a band that ‘Arry and Samantha haven’t even heard of?”
“I have heard of it!” Samantha angrily shouts over, “I used to love a bit of Cameo. I ask Mr. Bye-for-Now if he can put it on at half-time for me so ‘Arry can practice his moves but he won’t, the swine.”
“But that doesn’t answer why you are dancing does it?” I reply.
“Well Abdou has his testimonial as well, doesn’t he?” Sandra says over the boiling kettle that will pour its contents shortly to make my builder’s strength cuppa, “so we are going to see if we can get in the after party in the Exec Lounge. Work on our moves in case the disco fires up again.”
“Blimey o’Reilly!” Dave exhales, “you should be doing something more productive with pre-season, like me. If I get this double jackpot that’s my spending money for the game! Got to get my tickets for Martigues away!”
“You dope Dave,” ‘Arry says to the distain of our fruit machine playing friend, “that’s not who we’re playing you idiot. That’s who he has just signed for after being released by us!”
“I tried calling the poxy ticket office the other day to get those tickets, no wonder no-one answered!” Dave replied through gritted teeth in frustration.
“It’s because the times have changed you wally!” ‘Arry says laughs at yet another faux pas from Dave, “they are open from 9:30 – 5pm now, so you calling them at 9:00 won’t work!”
“Well he’s not the only one to leave The Den, recently is he?” I say trying to change subject. I fire up my iPad and scroll through the weekly Millwall news. “Have you seen that Kevin Pressman is leaving too? Great servant to the club and worked really well with all our recent and most successful goalkeepers. Been here for a long time and will be sad to see him go!”
“Well he certainly has done wonders down here,” ‘Arry agrees while sipping a venti, half-whole milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, split quad shots (1 1/2 shots decaf, 2 1/2 shots regular), no foam latte, with whip, 2 packets of splenda, 1 sugar in the raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and 3 short sprinkles of cinnamon. “I mean, look at Jordan Archer?! He made his Scotland debut the other day. I know they didn’t get the result they wanted but it’s great another one of our players getting international recognition.”
“Well he’s not the only Scottish Millwall player who’s been in the news recently,” I continue as I go on the NewsatDen homepage, “Alex Rae says here that he thinks this Millwall team can get better by adding one or two more players on to what we have already. Also praises John Berylson and says about how great he has been with the Millwall managers and he’s right, he has brought us back to the playing field and it’s a great time to be a Lions fan.”
“It is mate,” ‘Arry says as he continues to wipe the sweat off his brow from his earlier dance moves, “anyway, have I told you what’s been happening at the Lionesses?”
What a week! After some big ups and downs from the end of last season, I didn’t know if the Lionesses would be playing in the Championship where their efforts from last season suggests they should be, or if they’d be relegated to the third tier. Luckily the news was as sweet as the coffee Sandra had served me and the brown sauce that is drizzled over Mike’s fry-up.
“Great news isn’t it?” Mike said as he mopped up half his sausage in the dark HP splodge on his plate.
“It is mate!” I reply, “that’s the real reason I’ve been learning those moves truth be told. Don’t you remember at the end of season party I went to join in with the Lionesses on the dance floor? That could’ve ended in disaster so this pre-season I’m practicing my moves. If we have another season as good as this one on the field, then I can see there being another rewarding end of season do!”
“I just hope that it keeps working out for the Lionesses,” Mike continued, “cracking little squad they have and the team morale must be through the roof now they have seemingly come through what they have been forced to endure.”
“I just feel sorry for Lee Burch,” I say as I eye up the fruit machine that Dave has just put another £1 coin in, “such a tough season and now the poor fella has to climb two hundred steps to his apartment on holiday. But got to work out which I’d prefer, all those steps or a drill session from Ali!”
“Maybe he is looking for some new players?” Mike asks.
“Well he’s got to look far and wide to get better than what we have!” I shout, “I can’t think of many other better players than what we have now, and do you know many other forwards who can produce a finish better than Ella Rutherford’s against Watford?!”
“Think you’re right there, mate,” Mike agrees, “will need something special to crack into that squad. How do you think next season will go?”
“I think it’ll be tough with the likes of the new Man United Ladies team coming into the league, but I have every faith.” I reply, “also, with some of the development side doing so well and that they re capable of stepping up if needed to, I think the future is a lot brighter then it was a few months ago!”
“Indeed, it is mate,” Mike nods, “anyway, is it me or can I hear the DJ replaying Cameo? Get those dancing shoes on mate….”