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Why unfashionable Millwall deserve far more Championship respect

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Championship

Why unfashionable Millwall deserve far more Championship respect

Milwall are on the rise under manager Neil Harris.

Those traveling fans brave enough to visit the Den are greeted by the now famous battle cry of ‘No one likes us, we don’t care!’ – the unofficial anthem of Millwall FC. While the chant has its roots in the dark days of 1980s football hooliganism, today it is sung by a united and proud fan base.

However, despite what some refer to as the sanitisation of English football over the past two decades, Millwall still appear to be a club tarnished by its past reputation. In a city in which most of its football clubs are unrecognisable from their 1980s or 90s selves, Millwall remain a widely unfashionable and often derided club, seemingly unable, or perhaps unwilling, to change its image.

Could this be why the Lion’s remarkable form has gone so unnoticed this season?

After victory over relegation-threatened Barnsley last time out, the Bermondsey outfit find themselves 10th in the Championship, just four points off the play-off positions. Neil Harris’ side are now 12 games unbeaten and can be found 2nd in the Championship form table following a club record-equalling sixth successive away win last Saturday.

This is made all the more impressive considering Millwall only secured their Championship status after sneaking into the League One play-offs on the final day of last season.

While some managers like their team’s good form to go under the media’s radar, Millwall manager, and club legend, Harris has called-out the press for ignoring his side. The former striker, who celebrated three years in charge last week, recently told local radio, “We’ve gone on this run and every TV programme, radio station and newspaper you look at don’t give Millwall a mention.”

He added, “My players are a bit cheesed off to be honest that they’ve not had more recognition. It’s not because they’re egotistical, but that’s just football.”

Indeed, Millwall are not getting the recognition they deserve for their recent form.

When looking at not only performances but also other contributing factors such as net spend, division competition, and where they came from last season, it would surely not be out of place to take this a step further and argue that, Neil Harris should already be considered for the Championship Manager of the Year award for the largely unsung work he has done at the Den this season.

A dark horse, maybe, but Millwall’s all time leading goalscorer must be part of the conversation.

With fixtures against Nottingham Forest, Ipswich, Bristol City and Bolton – all ‘winnable’ games – coming up over a busy Easter period, there is a real possibility the unfancied Lions could have the play-offs firm in their sights as we approach the final few weeks of the regular season.

Despite their impressive recent form, most bookmakers still have the Lions at a rather large 11/1 to make the play-offs this season – more evidence still that this Millwall side isn’t receiving the respect it deserves.

Of course, they may well be right and the play-offs might just be one step too far for Millwall this season. But one thing is for sure. It may not be a fashionable football club, but Millwall, under the stewardship of a club legend in Neil Harris, are once again on the rise.

Greg is a freelance writer and broadcast journalist who has previously worked as a sports journalist at the likes of the BBC, Yahoo Sports UK, and the Hull Daily Mail. A long-standing Hull City supporter, Greg has also spent time as a Director on the Board of the Hull City Supporters' Trust. Follow him on Twitter - @Greg_Whitaker

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