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The Millwall rivalry - opposition view

December 26 2004

Millwall

Millwall

It's a year to the day since we last played local rivals Millwall - Iain Dowie's first game in charge. Do we miss them while we're in the Premiership? Millwall fan Steve Griffiths thinks so.

Admit it, you miss us. Scumwall, chavs, burberry-wearing hooligans. Call us what you want.

It's all very well mixing it with the Premiership big guns, but where's the delicious thrill of winding up your mates when you've turned over the local enemy. Not very likely against Chelsea or Arsenal is it?

Every club needs a real grudge match and once a season (maybe every other season now youíve got a decent manager) the peace and tranquillity of Saturday afternoon at Selhurst is disrupted by the arrival of Millwall.

After 90 minutes of sound and fury, the end result's usually the same; a win for us (three victories in the last four fixtures at Palace remember) and the moral high ground for you.

We take the points and you get to complain that we threw fireworks, ripped up seats or something similar.

Some of you might dislike Brighton more and plenty of Millwall fans reserve their real hatred for West Ham. But thereís no denying the mutual loathing whenever Millwall and Palace meet.

Youíve all got your own reasons for hating us, no doubt, so hereís the view from the other side of the fence.

856.

In case you were wondering, thatís the number of Palace fans who ventured over to Bermondsey for the April 2003 fixture between the clubs.

That support was a total embarrassment. Iíve seen northern clubs like Burnley and Stoke bring more on a weeknight.

And yet you still believe that youíre the biggest club in south London.

Plenty of talk, but when it comes to the crunch (like actually going to a match) Ė thereís nothing to back it up. Itís that seemingly built-in arrogance of your club and its followers that winds up Millwall fans so much.

Thereís nothing better than getting a good dig in on you lot. In the aftermath of Cantonaís bout of kung-fu fighting with Matthew Simmonds, we borrowed Unitedís "Ooh aah Cantona" song to wind you up. Classic. And it still gets an airing today.

"Palace, Palace who the f**k are Palace?!" is another favourite. The Boxing day 3-0 win at The Den a couple of years ago was good enough before the match even started as the tannoy system was turned down to let us roar it out.

And yet thereís been very little trouble during the all the time Iíve been going to Millwall-Palace matches. I can remember some fighting on Norwood high street after your 1-0 win in 1994, but other than that, nothing.

Down the years thereís no doubt youíve got the better of us in the transfer market. You nick Possee, Outalakowski, Armstrong and Roberts. In return we get lumbered with Barber, Moralee, Bowry and Newman.

But even though you can pay the wages to attract bigger names, when the two clubs collide on the pitch weíve more than held our own.

So many great moments:

Popovic's header running nicely for Claridge to get the third as 6,000 Millwall go nuts in the Arthur Waite,

Sadlier tormenting your defence in the 3-0

Etienne Verveer's over-head kick from a yard out

Coppell getting fired after the 6-0 friendly win.

Even Bob Peeters got in on the act, scoring a last minute equaliser last year.

And itís never better than when we donít deserve it. The 1-0 win at Palace last Christmas was, of course, an absolute stone-cold classic example.

First game for your new manager and Millwall roll up, get completely out-played, nick a goal and then sit back and let Tony Warner win his one-man battle with Andy Johnson.

Iíve never seen a more one-sided game and yet we come away with the points. Why? Luck obviously played its part, but also because we want it more.

The players can feel that desire and they respond. Usually by spanking you all over the park, but on that occasion by holding on and fighting it out.

Ron Noades once said he wished Palace fans were more like Millwall and had a bit more fire in their bellies because it would help the team.

Dream on, Ron.


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