"We're going where the sun shines brightly.
We're going where the sea is blue."
I can feel the heat radiating and burning my pasty skin with every second that passes. Through my dark-lensed sunglasses, I look at my ice-cold beer with amazement, mesmerised by the two beads of condensation that are racing to reach the bottom of the plastic cup and evaporate on the paved floor that’s being heated up by the hot Iberian sun. I close my eyes at the conclusion of the contest, trying to relax and block out Dave’s incessant moaning that he has lost another UK based bet and the rustling of Sandra’s foil sun reflector that she is moving around to try and soak up any of the sun’s rays that may be escaping her. ‘Arry is sat on the edge of the pool with his feet hanging into the water. The slow side-to-side motion below his knees are making his muffin top that is hanging over his orange trunks wobble and he is deep in conversation with Samantha Patchcole, who has once again had her lengths interrupted by ‘Arry’s constant chatter.
I decide to switch on my iPad which has been laying under the shade of my pool side umbrella, but the screen is quickly getting warmer with the combination of the illuminated screen and scorching sun.
“Crikey, have you seen the news here Dave?” I ask in amazement as I look on the club website, “we’ve replaced Kevin Pressman already! Lee Turner has come in from Charlton as goalkeeping coach.”
“Never heard of the geezer,” Dave says angrily after he has lost more money, “who’s he then?”
“Well you may not have heard about him Dave, as you only really follow the lads when we’re winning.” Sandra said from underneath her dark brown aviator glasses. “He spent his playing career down in the non-league, but he has been coaching at Southend United, Crystal Palace, Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic. Quite the signing if you ask me!”
“It is, Sandra,” I reply as I glide my finger across the screen, “but it’s also a nice little write up what Neil Harris has said about Pressman and his hard work. Spot on in my opinion, some of the best keepers we’ve had in recent times have been under Pressman so it’s good to see he has the acknowledgement.”
“He’s not the only one who may be joining us too," Dave says as he leans over to read my iPad screen, “Says here that we are looking at signing Murray Wallace from Scunthorpe United. I know Chopper was at their ground last season for their play-off games. Apparently he wants to break into his national side, so wants to play Championship football to improve his chances.”
“You want another beer, Mike?” ‘Arry asks from the pool, “I’m going to pop over to the bar in a minute to get myself a triple venti grande Americano, chai vanilla, minty mochaccino, caramel macchiato, half-caf, half-decaf, one Equal, one Sweet’N’Low and can get you a pint as well?”
“Yeah if you don’t mind mate?” I reply. “But remember we’ve got the hotel 5-a-side tomorrow so we can’t have too many today alright?”
“You’re right, Mike,” ‘Arry agrees as he pulls his legs out of the pool, “just like what Jamie Philpott said on NewsatDen, I just love playing football! He may’ve got released but he says he enjoyed his time at Millwall and had more ups than downs which is great to see." After walking on his toes and groaning due to the hot stones under each footstep, ‘Arry turned his attention to Dave.
“You want another beer, fat boy?”’Arry asked cheekily, “or are you gonna just sit there and keep playing around with your chest hair?”
“Listen here you little mug,” Dave replies angrily after quickly removing his chubby, tanned fingers from the jungle of black locks that sit on his breast bone, “you need to learn a bit of respect or you’re going to get a right hander. Look at Christian Mbulu, he said that he learned a lot of discipline at Millwall and it was a learning experience. Taught him a lot apparently he said and opened his eyes to what it means to play for Millwall.”
“Oh come on ‘Arry,” came a suggestive voice from just outside my peripheral vision. I turn to see Samantha Patchcole who by now has got out of the pool and acting like a giggling schoolgirl around my muffin-topped friend, “you going to buy me a drink or not? Maybe you can tell me who we got in the Carabao Cup while we are waiting to be served?”
“Gillingham,” ‘Arry said in an uninterested tone and trying his hardest not to encourage Sandra’s niece’s advances, “we got Gillingham. Really see that one selling out!”
“Oh right,” replied Samantha in a dejected way, “ok, well about you tell us what’s been happening with the Lionesses?”
That sun has definitely got the best of me in Portugal as I lay there burnt more than the crispy bacon that Sandra serves up on a Thursday morning. I’d been in the sun too long and the factor 6 sun tan oil definitely didn’t help me out at all. That’s decided the point I also had a dodgy stomach, I believe it was that kebab I had at 3am after a night out. I definitely won’t be going back there again... no matter how much Mike tempts me.
After the news broke out that Lee Burch had stepped down as the Millwall Lionesses manager during the week, there was a sense of shock but pride amongst us all. Lee had done an amazing job at Millwall and transformed his team around really well, taking Millwall from strugglers to contenders for the title in just two seasons. His work was finally realised as he won WSL 2 manager of the season. Lee has joined Yeovil who play in the top tier and while its hard to take as a Millwall fan, everyone at the Millwall Supporters Club wishes Lee all the best at Yeovil and we tip him for great success and hope to see him next season in the cup.
"I’m glad for Lee, he deserves his chance at the top and I think he will do well." Mike said.
"I think he will," 'I said, "he’s proven that he can turn a team around and that’s just what Yeovil need. It’s a bigger and tougher ask, but as he has shown Lee is capable of overcoming any challenge."
Lauren Phillips also stepped down as assistant manager. Her time and effort to the club was second to none and we also wish her the best of luck in her new adventure.
"The delightful duo leave after a successful partnership together." I say, "Lauren will find success wherever she goes as she has such a passion and determination to win and succeed. I hope that one day they’ll be back down at Millwall, but for now they deserve to better themselves and try new challenges."
As we lay by the pool catching the rays Mike, spots a B. Taylors' delivery guy. He was in a full white Millwall kit and looked like he had just scored a goal down at The Valley.
"You don’t reckon he is trying to sell his products internationally?" Mike asked, "I mean, I know Harris never said he was looking abroad, but who said we can’t sell abroad?"
"I reckon he is out here on his own," I said, "always been a bit of a lonely one around Millwall. Saying that who do you reckon will take over the reign at Millwall Lionesses?"
"In all seriousness, I have no idea," Mike said, "I just hope they are similar to Burch and Phillips and aim to get the majority of the squad together."