"So I turned myself to face me,
But I've never caught a glimpse."
My light brown slice of toast descends down towards the target that is sitting in the middle of my breakfast plate. Like an archery target with the yellow inner ring, the yolk is the destination for my sharp cornered bread that is destined to pierce the bulls-eye. The centre of my egg is bulging - in its own way asking to be broken. The tip of my slice meets the protective seal and finally fractures the outer layer and the warm fluid escapes to mix with my bean juice. The satisfaction as I begin to mop up the fused liquids is evident, as I ensure that every piece is soaked up by my bread.
"Seriously," 'Arry says from the other side of the table, "you are the only person I know who cheers when his egg yolk breaks."
"Well, you're the only one I know who cheers when their Smash Hits magazine subscription is renewed," I reply smugly, as if I have got one over on my One Direction loving friend, "we all have our little vices mate."
"I'd start cheering if I won any money out of this poxy machine," Dave says from his usual spot in front of the Cops and Robbers fruit machine, "I'd have bought you all the flipping eggs you want if I would've got another nudge. But suppose me not winning is back to normality, eh boys?"
"Indeed it is, Dave," I say as I work out how much change I have left from my fried breakfast that I will use to try and take some of the money our friend has put in the machine, "bit like the lads returning back to pre-season training. What with the fixtures coming out and the first team returning from Portugal, it's all back to normal across the road too."
“Don’t get me started on the fixtures, Mike!” came the familiar high-pitched squeal from the inside of the hash brown store cupboard. “I’ve arranged for Samantha Patchcole to have the dog for when we travelled up to Sheffield Wednesday on the Tuesday and now it’s changed to the Wednesday! Now she has arranged a girl’s midweek break with Charlotte Clinton on the day of the new fixture and can't have her! I don’t know what I’ll do.”
“I’m not looking after that thing,” said ‘Arry, who hadn’t taken his eyes off Sandra’s salivating Rottweiler in the corner, “last time I went anywhere near it, it chased me down Bolina Road. Good thing running around the country watching the Lionesses increased my stamina or I may not be here now enjoying this venti salted caramel mocha frappucino with five pumps of frap roast, four pumps of caramel sauce, four pumps of caramel syrup, three pumps of mocha, three pumps of toffee nut syrup, double blended with extra whipped cream, would I?”
“Well if I were you, Sandra,” I say after firing up my iPad and looking at the Millwall home page, “I’d keep checking the web page for fixture changes. The fixture list has only been out a few days and the Birmingham fixtures have changed as well, both of those have gone from Tuesdays to Wednesdays too.”
I continue gliding my finger over the cold glass of my recently updated Apple device to the section with the club statement. I click the hyperlink and read that the club are going to continue to ensure that all Millwall games will be on Saturdays at 3pm, as they believe this is the best-case scenario for the fans.
“To be fair to the club here,” I say as I take another sip of my builder’s strength from my stained porcelain mug, “they could quite easily be dictated to by the league here, but even if these times are changed they are trying to make sure that it suits all fans of the club.”
“That is good to hear, Mike,” Dave says, “talking of games with dodgy times, who is going to the Dartford game at 1pm in a couple of weeks? Got my ticket already thanks to my mate. Gave him my tenner as he said we need to get the tickets in advance.”
“You really are thick, Dave,” laughs ‘Arry, who is completely oblivious to the whipped cream that somehow has found it’s way between his eyebrows like a white monobrow, “have you not seen what the club have said about the game? You can only get tickets on the day!”
“Oh, flipping hell!” Dave yells as he bangs his head on the glass surfaced fruit machine in frustration, “the way I’m spending all the money in this poxy machine and getting stung by my mate for tickets that don’t exist, I need a second job!”
“Well the club are still looking for a junior grounds man and someone to be a stadium tour guide, Dave,” I suggest looking at the vacancies on the website, “might as well put your CV on the table mate if you fancy it?”
“I’ll be surprised if that idiot can spell CV,” ‘Arry says angrily in our beer-bellied friend’s direction, “and he was lying about his mate taking his tenner. He hasn’t got any mates.”
“I just hope that everyone here can just get on like the first team seem to be,” Sandra says to try and diffuse the building tension between ‘Arry and Dave, “Neil Harris has signed his new deal, Jed Wallace is looking forward to growing with the squad, Shaun Williams seems like he is loving it too and if you read News at Den, Murray Wallace is saying how he is relishing being an underdog. It’s a great time to be in Bermondsey at the moment.”
“If you look at this as well, Sandra,” I say after brushing my toast crumbs that have gathered on my iPad screen, “even Tom King has gone out on loan to AFC Wimbledon. Yes, he may be leaving the club for the season, but it’s a great move and it’s a step up from the standard he was loaned to last year. He will develop massively and come back next season fully intent on challenging Archer for that number one jersey.”
I continue to read on my screen that Millwall are still no closer to signing Ben Marshall but read on that Norwich City may have come in and taken him from under Millwall’s noses.
“That’s a real shame,” ‘Arry says after finishing his extravagant coffee, “but that’s not the only place that’s had transfer activity. Have you seen what’s been happening with the Lionesses?”
Who knows what the Lionesses can achieve next season, it will be a team that will be playing under no pressure and that may help them thrive and succeed next season.
With some of the staff and players already gone from the Lionesses, fan favourite Leigh-Anne Robe is the next to depart. The centre-half was the best defender in the league last season and definitely has earned the opportunity to play for Liverpool next year.
With new signings becoming more likely just to keep the squad depth and no pressure on the players, Millwall may still turn out to be a dark horse in the second tier. Not necessarily for the title, but to definitely hold their own in a very competitive Championship next season. Mike was as excited as I was for this season and was hoping for Man United at home on the opening day.
“Could you imagine?” Mike asked excitedly, “United at home opening day of the season and we go and turn them over 4-0! The confidence that could bring and what a game it would be. Good luck on twitter that day, mate!”
“It would be ideal to have United to be fair,” I agreed, “a hard test early on where we can see how good we are.”
“New signings will be key as well,” Mike replied after wiping egg yolk from his chin, “we’ve sort of lost the core of our team, so it will be interesting to see who the new manager brings in and who the new manager will be.”
With pre-season set to commence soon, the Lionesses will want to make sure they can carry some momentum from last season into the new season. Unfortunately, the off-field troubles near the end of the year left a very saddened end to what was a very enjoyable campaign.
“I think it will be hard to repeat any kind of run that they went on last season,” I said after asking Sandra for another coffee, “but I think right now it’s all in the unknown. We could literally do anything next season, imagine winning the Championship and going to the top tier, despite everything else that has happened in the past few months!”
“Greatest fairy-tale of all time?” Mike asked excitedly.
“Pushing it, mate,” I laughed, “but it would be an impressive season if it happened.”
“I wonder if Dave and Sandra come back down? Mike asked in a bemused way, “they only came down for the free tickets last time.”
“Brought good luck though, didn’t they?!” I said. “We won 4-1 and we were clinical in front of goal!”
“Talking of people clinical in front of goal,” Mike said, “have you seen that Ashlee Hincks has joined Crystal Palace after she left Millwall? What a signing that is for them! I thought she was a phenomenal player and like Leigh-Anne who signed for Liverpool and Sarah Quantrill who joined London Bees, I know she will be absolutely brilliant for them. Great for them, but a big shame for us losing such a great captain.”
“I know mate,” I said, “she was a real leader on the pitch and that is some phenomenal business for Palace. But we’ve had another player leave too, Courtney Ward also left Millwall during the week as she joined QPR. Courtney played in Dan Logue’s development side and we wish her the best of luck for the future as well.”
As we continued to speak about the Lionesses, we heard the door open and a deep Irish voice bellow from a stubble covered mouth. As Dave realised who it was, his face dropped and his lower lip quivered.
“So this is where you’ve been hiding, Dave….”