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Posh defeat was cowardly and pathetic
2:13pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Sport
MILLWALL columnist MATT LITTLE is starting to lose patience with his side’s alarming habit in recent years of suffering heavy home defeats at the once fortress Den, the latest coming last night when the Lions were battered 5-1 by lowly Peterborough.
I WAS talking to a West Ham fan the other day and he was saying how most of them are desperate to see Big Sam given the sack and replaced with ex-player Paolo di Canio.
This despite being 11th in the Premier League and di Canio not exactly being the safest pair of hands for Gold and Sullivan's Olympic Park vanity project.
Knowing I'm a Millwall fan, I'm sure this was a deliberately baited hook for me to bite...that he expected my reaction to be along the lines of 'you lot are deluded', 'but he got you promoted' etc etc.
But instead I nodded and agreed with him that it was probably the only sensible thing to do.
After all, West Ham United are famous for playing the West Ham way, which in reality means basically being crap, but in a charmingly naive and free flowing way.
No way could West Ham expect ten or fifteen thousand of their loyal fans to travel to places like Wigan like they usually would when Big Sam is serving up his effective but boring hoof ball.
Playing pretty, but useless, football is what West Ham United are all about.
They can only ever be happy playing that way.
Millwall, similarly, can put up with rarely winning anywhere north of the Watford Gap, yo-yoing between the old Second and Third Divisions and selling off our best players on the cheap, as long as we are a good home team.
That is the 'Millwall way'.
As a club, we have a pretty poor image outside of our small corner of inner-city London.
In fact, I'm almost surprised that we aren't mentioned in the Oxford English Dictionary as a by-word for everything that is wrong with football.
However, among the football community at least, we do have one virtue held in high regard - our fiercely partisan home crowd and the proud home record which goes hand and hand with it.
Millwall are still the only club to go unbeaten at home for a whole league season on five separate occasions and in four different divisions.
And there are plenty of seasons where we may not have remained unbeaten all season, but where we have only lost once or twice - indeed we are still in the top five of all-time home teams since records began.
These are things I am very proud of and that I believe are an essential part of the Millwall DNA.
Yet under Kenny Jackett this has been put under massive threat, even despite all the success he has brought us.
Last season we lost nine home games, this season we are already on six defeats at 'Fortress Den'.
OK, to be fair those statistics aren't that bad, especially given our resources and the level we are playing at.
But it is the un-Millwall like manner of a lot of the defeats which is hard to swallow.
Last season's 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Croydon Ultras was painful, the kind of tame surrender Palace usually reserve for us, and the lame defeat to Leeds wasn't much better.
Then there's the thrashings dished out by mighty Watford and Birmingham City, followed by this season's roll overs against Brighton, Barnsley and Burnley.
Last night was the final straw, a 5-1 thumping at the hands of (at the time) bottom club Peterborough United.
I don't care about all this nonsense about punching above our weight, budgets, or discussions about tactics and evolving the playing system, I let them fight that out on the Millwall forums.
All I know is I'm just a fan who turns up and doesn't expect us to risk our reputation as a hard place to come by making Arsenal happy we are somehow accommodating their bottle-job players in our starting XI, or for me to pay for the pleasure to watch the likes of Liam Trotter stroll around as if none of this has anything to do with him.
The defeat last night was hard to take, not because of all that usual modern football fan rubbish like 'we shouldn't be losing to teams like Peterborough', but because it was a slap in the face of everything positive that this club stands for, and a blow to our pride - our armour to our many detractors.
It was cowardly and pathetic.
People often tell those they deem to be middle class football types to ‘eff off to The Valley’.
Well, on the basis of that gutless display perhaps some of the players should be told the same.
Going to The Den these last few years has become more and more like a depressing habit, a habit which many are falling out of.
'More bums on seats' is the club's rallying cry ... howsabout 'more fire in their bellies'.
Without our 'hard place to go' tag, us Lions fans really haven't got that much to crow about.
I'm not yet at the point of throwing away logic and stability like our friends from Upton Park are contemplating in order to restore the 'Millwall way', but I'm getting close.
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