MILLWALL columnist MATT LITTLE this week flatly rejects suggestions from fans of supposedly bigger Championship rivals the Lions are over achieving this season.
AN interesting comment was left at the bottom of last week’s blog, interesting because it was inferring that Millwall were ‘over achieving’ by inexplicably still being in a play-off hunt despite the Christmas decorations being put away for another year.
As someone who has taught in several schools, I have always found that phrase interesting because you never hear teachers in staffrooms talking about over-achieving students.
Nor have I ever had to break it to a parent that their child, although doing well this term, is over-achieving and that I believe normal service will resume soon.
I know what you’re thinking – a football club is limited by the resources available to it, such as gate income and sponsorship money, whereas an individual relies on their own inherent abilities.
Therefore someone can only ever fulfil their potential or under-achieve, whereas a football club can be said to be ‘punching above their weight’ should they dare rise above what the economics of the game dictate.
What nonsense, talk about dream crushing codswallop enunciated by dreary, unthinking drones.
Luckily for the fans of Swansea City their club didn’t listen and off of their own back they’ve transformed themselves from provincial lower division nobodies in the heart of rugby country into attractive Premier League cosmopolitan mainstays.
You see football clubs are driven by the abilities of the individuals they employ and the ethos they adopt more than pounds and pence.
And if that’s wrong then Nottingham Forest simply ‘over-achieved’ for two decades, rather than be lucky enough to find a genius of a manager and team him with a brilliant talent spotter.
Sure, it is hard for a club from a small provincial city to keep up with clubs from the big urban centres such as London, Manchester and Liverpool, but it can be done with the right approach.
Furthermore, the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa were not preordained to be big clubs by the football gods rather than Leyton Orient and Birmingham City.
They just had the luck of having the right people at the right time in their early years.
Millwall aren’t ‘over achieving’, we simply have a great manager who has built a team around consummate professionals with the backing of a supportive chairman.
The fact we are also in a division surrounded by ludicrous clubs like Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City is of course a bonus.
The fans of those clubs can cry into their beer all they want and moan about the likes of us ‘over achieving’, but it’s nothing of the sort.
Bolton got themselves in massive debt just to try and get knocked out of Europe at the earliest opportunity and employ people like our friend Marvin Sordell to play in a half empty aircraft hangar against the likes of Barnsley.
I wonder if their chairman still wants no relegation from or promotion to the Premier League?
And where do you start with lunatics over at the Ewood Park asylum?
I honestly believe handing over control of Blackburn Rovers to a group of Year 11 GCSE PE students as a project would have proved more prudent than the experiment they themselves conducted with Steve Kean and Henning Berg.
Still, at least they’ve now got in a manager who has, erm….
Well, fill me in at the end of this blog on exactly what has made Mr Appleton worth fighting over and paying out a small fortune in compensation for.
As for Birmingham City, they’re currently in the control of an individual facing serious money laundering charges in Hong Kong.
It gets better.
Hilariously their sponsorship deal has actually ended up costing them money.
Apparently promoting a mediocre Midlands football club in the Far East has proved quite difficult.
Who’d have thought!
The list of ridiculous clubs in this division doesn’t stop there.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ summer managerial appointment of Stale Solbakken reminded me of a teenager going through with getting an absurd tattoo, despite everyone they know telling them it was a bad idea and they’d regret it one day.
Forest sacked a manager for playing attractive football and getting them within a point of the play-offs for the much safer hands of someone who had to take time out of football because he was so stressed out by his last management post.
Bristol City signed an ageing Jody Morris – nuff said.
Sheffield Wednesday have been letting poor managers sign dud after dud for years now, with the current incumbent of the Hillsborough hot-seat allowing their only decent defender to come to us for a song.
These are all bigger clubs than us in the attendance and sponsorship stakes, but take a look at the actual league table.
This isn’t a one off season either.
Look at the likes of Sheffield United and Portsmouth wallowing in League One this season, as well as Manchester City, Leeds United, Norwich City and Southampton in years past.
While it’s true to say big clubs can find the fast-track to success quicker than smaller clubs (see Manchester City in the late 1990s), to tell Kenny Jackett and his team they are ‘over achieving’ in a division surrounded by the bunch of jokers listed above is an insult.
I started the blog saying you never hear teachers talking about students over-achieving and that’s because those students that are performing well are doing so because they are using all their assets to the best of their ability and working hard.
This applies to this current Millwall team too.
When we don’t have the right ethos and good people in charge we slide into League One oblivion, but when we do we can achieve whatever we want to achieve.
If we finish above all of the clubs listed above it will certainly not be down to over achievement, it’ll be down to a bloody good manager and his talented team.
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