Millwall Supporters Club member Jamie Howlett and Chariman Bob Asprey air their views on the season ahead…
Best player last season?
Jamie Howlett – Lee Gregory, while nine goals does not seem prolific he shone in a side low on confidence (and when others were happy not to try) he kept pushing and grafting and grew as a player despite jumping up several levels on the footballing ladder. He clearly took advice from some senior heads and should be a dangerous striker in League One.
Bob Asprey – None of them. Millwall stalwart and fans favourite Jimi Abdou was voted Player of the Year with about 12 votes.
Highlight(s) of last season on the pitch?
We beat a side with a striker who cost more than our entire team. A great day out…
Jamie Howlett – Woolford’s goal at Fulham away. Around 6,000 away fans traveled and we beat a side with a striker who cost more than our entire team. A great day out.
Bob Asprey – Fulham away. First away game of the season, massive Millwall turnout, flotilla of boats going up the Thames, no hassle at Craven Cottage, excellent win. What a day!
Worst moment of last season?
Jamie Howlett – Defeat at Bradford in the cup. We threw away a win at home to them to get the replay, had pathetically lost away to bottom of the table side Blackpool on the Saturday and went into this knowing victory would see us play Chelsea away for the first time in years. It meant a lot to the fans. Most of the playing side just didn’t bother and we were easily beat 4-0, and after the game the players and fans just stared at each other. Bizarre moment, and the season changed at that time.
Bob Asprey – Bradford away, smashed 0-4 in a match where the prize was a trip to Stamford Bridge. This was the day we KNEW Holloway had to go. Although he didn’t for another 2 months. Blackpool away and Rotherham away, two terrible defeats to two terrible teams, those were the days we KNEW we were a goner.
Sum up the last season in a sentence or two?
We had high expectations at the start of the season under our saviour Ian Holloway. It turned out he was a clown…
Jamie Howlett – I expected top half performances, if not at least a massive improvement on two years of awful performances. We did far, far worse and suffered a slow and painful death. Ian Holloway could not do a thing about it and resorted to bizarre acts and decisions to try and change things up but he refused to do the honourable thing and walk away from a big contract.
Bob Asprey – We had high expectations at the start of the season under our saviour Ian Holloway. It turned out he was a clown, the club backed him for far too long and we were relegated. Disaster. We played 42 players in 46 games.
How was last season off the pitch?
Jamie Howlett – Dreadful management from top to bottom. The club finally realised it was giving managers too much freedom to shape the entire club which meant no consistency and far too much work for the next manager to do.
Bob Asprey – Two disastrous management appointments in a row.
Your expectation for next season?
Realistically we are a side low on experience and missing some key pieces…
Jamie Howlett – Ideally a quick return to the Championship, realistically we are a side low on experience and missing some key pieces. With the right couple of additions and a fast start we should be up there, but could quite easily meander to mid table nothingness.
Bob Asprey – We appointed U21 coach and Millwall legend Neil Harris as manager for the last 9 games last season. He played a much younger team, in a simpler system and with the crowd’s help performances and results improved massively. So expectations are up again! We do, however, know this league well from last time and it will be a hard slog with many long trips north and no London derbies.
Where do you need to strengthen on the pitch?
Jamie Howlett – An experienced striker to supplant the other strikers in the squad, and a leader probably at centre half.
Bob Asprey – The squad is and will be much smaller next season. The only serious gaps we have at the moment are a left-sided centre back and a striker who is a big lump but also hopefully experienced and mobile!
If you could take one Port Vale player for next season who would it be?
Jamie Howlett – I don’t know any!
Bob Asprey – Tom Pope. Oh no, hang on a minute!! TBH I haven’t heard of anyone else.
What do the club need to do off-field to improve?
Do something we haven’t done for years. Sign an experienced striker…
Jamie Howlett – Set up a system which identifies the Millwall way of playing and bring players through it. Stop relying on managers to set up their own system of playing.
Bob Asprey – Do something we haven’t done for years. Sign an experienced striker.
If you were granted one wish for next season, what would it be?
Jamie Howlett – Start well, get some belief and passion back in the team and the fans and win some bloody games, especially at home!
Bob Asprey – Get through to the 3rd round of the cup, get a big London club (or West Ham) and win. Don’t want much, do I.