By Sean Graham
Our friends down south at the Den have been at it again!
The national press are quick to put the boot in when they see the slightest bit of trouble from a small element of fans, there’s pages of it but when the club are doing all they can to help the fallen and those less fortunate than themselves, then they are ignored and I for one find this quite sad.
Today of all days, we are remembering the fallen and only recently, I heard of a most wonderful gesture by Millwall Football Club.
The Millwall fans have sponsored the tracksuits for the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglican Regiment, a quite amazing and thoughtful thing to do and I wondered, how a club like Millwall would get involved in such a thing.
I asked a Millwall fan and someone who writes for the Lions programme, Kathryn Gale, how this idea all came about?
The original request for help re supplying tracksuits for the army came in via Micky Simpson, the fan on the board. The Millwall Community Trust (charity arm) help out with some training for the 1st Royal Anglian Regiment’s football team and Andy from that team asked Micky if there might be some financial help with tracksuits. Micky asked the Millwall Supporters’ Club committee if we could help. It was agreed that we would put £500 to this cause and I volunteered to get the project done for that sum. This prompted agreement for the setting up of a grant scheme where other bodies can apply to us for funding up to £500 and we’ve also given Fisher FC £500 for training gear for their U16s.
Details of the grant scheme are on www.millwallsupoortersclub.co.
Early 2016 Millwall ran a competition for a fan to design the 16/17 away kit and I won with the bananas and custard kit we wore last year. This was before I got involved with the supporters club committee. Prize was a trip to kit manufacturer Errea in Italy to see the first kit made. Fantastic opportunity and thus I made good contact with Errea and the retail team at Millwall.
So I used these contacts and went to Errea and wheedled 20 tracksuits for less than cost price. My son Tom designed the logo as you see on the tracksuits and I took them to a local screen printers who did them all for less than £100, including the Viking illustration, the team symbol, which the printer added free of charge. All done for less that £500
Micky was instrumental in getting the Remembrance match stuff arranged using the army boys so we thought it a great time to make the presentation. Pertinent that Chairman John Berylson was also there, he was a US marine so has a great affinity with the armed forces.
We’ve now agreed under a £2000 special deal to sponsor Charlie Wynn, up and coming boxer who is a big Millwall fan. Charlie’s next fight is at York hall on 25th Nov. We’ve designed a badge to sell to celebrate this, again designed by Tom.
But these are not the only fundraising things that the Millwall fans have been doing lately.
They have raised an astonishing £5,165 for The Royal British Poppy Appeal before the match v Burton Albion at the Den, a day which the soldiers were invited to.
They have campaigned to have a street changed in honour of a local fallen soldier, called
the O Callaghan Way
And they have also raised £2,530 from a bucket collection prior to the Birmingham City match at the Den.
All this is actually quite amazing for a club that does not ask or receive any good publicity for the help that it does to help others.
If you include the amount of well wishes from Lions fans I have had in my own battle with cancer this year to this ever growing list, then it’s easy to see why I want to help my friends down south out by giving them the recognition and the respect they deserve through this article in Glasgow Eyes.
Millwall fans, I salute you!