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The media always tend to enjoy Millwall's misfortune
1:42pm Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in Sport
MILLWALL were given the rare privilege of being broadcast to the wider public last night on BBC Radio London.
I say rare, it is actually not that rare to hear our name being mentioned on the radio, be it regional, national or even on the TV.
In fact, I cannot think of another club outside that elite group vying for the ill-gotten Champions League handout that has had more media exposure than us.
And this has been reflected on my travels.
Be it at a crumbling air base in worn-torn Sarajevo in the 1990s, a bar in California, or a club in east Berlin, they have all heard of little old Millwall.
Mention the self-proclaimed owners of south London - Crystal Palace - and they usually just shrug.
However, last night we were on the radio for an actual football match.
Now that is a privilege. Or was it?
I couldn’t listen, I’ve been hurt too many times before.
The only time the BBC put us on the radio, other than to discuss the end of civilisation, is if we’re facing an inevitable early round FA Cup exit to the hands of some awful team from somewhere unromantic like Woking, or if we’re lambs to the slaughter at some fallen northern giant like Leeds.
This gives the commentators the best possible chance to run us down for 90 minutes and be smug if (when) we lose.
Paranoid? Maybe, maybe not.
But the other week, when we were already 4-0 down at the delightful northern resort town of Hull, the BBC Final Score team announced there had been another goal scored at the KC Stadium with the lead in ‘more good news for Hull?’
To which the reporter replied ‘Sadly not, Millwall have pulled one back’.
Not that we mind, we have based a whole identity on being hated and would probably be lost without it now.
Personally, I cannot think of anything worse than being liked by middle England or, worse still, the Murdoch press (sports ed - didn’t then Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie support Millwall in the 1980s before becoming a Charlton fan?)
However, having to listen to the gloating when the pain of a poor display or a last minute defeat is live and raw is sometimes a bit much.
I’ll never forget how delighted the commentators were with our shock last day relegation in 1996 at Portman Road.
They could barely contain their joy when announcing that Portsmouth had grabbed the all important goal to send us into the third tier of English football, a place we had almost forgotten about, and the prospect of facing the mighty York City and Wycombe Wanderers.
Therefore I decided to follow our progress via Twitter and the Millwall fansite House of Fun.
At least any misdeeds against my beloved Lions would be reported on by sympathetic fellow sufferers.
Yet I shouldn’t have worried, we battled to a draw in difficult conditions and to be fair BBC Radio London are usually quite positive about Millwall for the most part.
This result followed on from another decent point earned up at Burnley.
That game produced another rarity for us Millwall fans – a controversial and game changing decision going our way.
With the score at 2-1 the officials decided to rule out a third goal for Burnley, a goal Final Score had already reported as official, in delighted tones of course.
The decision to rule it out proved to be correct, yet this hasn’t stopped Burnley fans, and bizarrely their official Twitter account, bleating on about it.
Oh well, I guess all football fans would have been the same, although I think Millwall fans have almost learned to stomach these kind of displays of ineptitude by the officials now.
The goal Sheffield Wednesday unfairly scored that helped send us down anybody?
Nothing can beat that. That was truly criminal.
Anyway, two trips in a row outside of the M25 and into the sticks and we’ve not been beaten.
Again, that’s another Millwall rarity.
Nevertheless, these can only be viewed as positive results if we can upset another set of Lancastrians on Saturday.
As I said last week, our home form has been nothing short of appalling for such as famously strong home team and that desperately needs to change.
Bolton are a good side with plenty of star names, but are finding it hard to adjust to their new league at the moment and this combination was always manner from heaven for the Millwall teams and crowds of old.
If there was ever a time for us to recapture that Millwall spirit it is Saturday.
These northerners need to be given a traditionally hostile reception and rough ride from both Millwall fans and players alike.
Let’s not make that quintessential Millwall experience a rare thing, starting this Saturday.
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