Millwall Curse Strikes Again as Leeds are Edged Out at the New Den – by Rob Atkinson


Cold Blow Lane back in the day

My first experience of Millwall was in the mid-eighties at their old ground, the Den, which was a sort of damp and dank above-ground dungeon, only slightly less hospitable. It was also known by its postal address of Cold Blow Lane, as if to emphasise that this was not a place of entertainment; it was a place to get to, take care of business if possible, and then get away from as quickly as possible. On my only visit, the coach got its windows put through by means of a hail of half-bricks in lieu of welcoming ticker-tape and a brass band, and we put up an abject show, losing 3-1. It was a typical Leeds United day out in Bermondsey, a tradition of hostility and defeat that we have, by and large, maintained ever since.

That old name, though, Cold Blow Lane. How apt it was, and still seems now. Today, Leeds found the chill wind of Championship reality gusting around nether regions quivering under black shorts that, combined with white shirts and white socks, gave us a slight but deceptive resemblance to Germany’s national team. Perhaps they were trying to make Herr Lasogga feel at home – but nobody remotely civilised could ever feel cosily welcome in these parts, not even at the relatively shiny New Den.

The pattern of the match was set from the start. I will predict here and now that Millwall will lose their next game, through a combination of fatigue and a feeling of “after the Lord Mayor’s show”. They’ll simply be knackered.  The home team could not have been more hyped-up and super-charged if they’d been playing in, well, a Cup Final. Taking to heart the rabid desire of the home crowd, they tore into Leeds at the first whistle, and they never let up. They could have been ahead early on, but a dodgy-looking offside decision saved Leeds and denied our former striker Steve Morison – yet Millwall were not discouraged. Every time a Leeds player got the ball in any kind of space, two or three Lions pounced hungrily, and a dispossessed United were under pressure again, every minute, all over the field. Getting to half-time on level terms was a notable achievement; getting a 0-0 draw was an expectation too far.

When the goal came, it felt strange – the sight of the ball in our net for a legitimate strike after so long a time since the opening day of the season. It was like the return of a half-forgotten childhood nightmare, and you had the feeling that, on the day, there was no way back. In the end, United tried manfully, having been swimming against a riptide of home pressure for the whole piece, but it was all effort and little penetration. We finished with ten on the park, all three subs having been used when Pontus had to limp out of the fray. It will be interesting (or maybe distressing) to see how many, if any, fit central defenders we have for Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, and for Ipswich in the Championship at Elland Road next weekend.

But let us not be downhearted. We’re still top of the League, by virtue of our healthy goal difference – and I’d bet the tax due on Cellino’s yacht that we’d all have taken an impressive P8 W5 D2 L1 record after four home and four away games, if we’d been asked the question at the start of the season. A reminder that we are, after all, but mortal is not a bad thing at such an early stage of the season. There’s plenty of time and scope for us to pick up our heads again, and press on. This was the second “bogey ground” this season, so with the three points gained at Forest, we’re ahead of the game. And we’ll be ready for Millwall when they come to Leeds, with their dozen or so away followers.

Lessons will have been learned; the effect of application and effort on a hard but inferior team will have been noted. Hopefully, Leeds United will not be caught napping again for some little time – because that’s certainly what happened down Bermondsey way today.

17 responses to “Millwall Curse Strikes Again as Leeds are Edged Out at the New Den – by Rob Atkinson

  1. alex millward

    Wasnt a curse was it……………..just utterly predictable and so Leeds should have been prepared for it. Been incredible impressed with TC so far but i think this one is down to his lack of experience………..All leeds fans knew this was Millwalls cup final and we needed to match their intensity. We should have been set up for a battle


  2. Karl Major

    This was expected, by me anyway and Alex is right, the club should have been prepared.
    Not all gloom though, we’re still averaging just more than 2 points a game, keep that up and we’ll be up in May.
    Now it’s time for our new lads (including TC) to learn lessons and be ready for the next battle. We won’t win this league just by playing nice footy.


  3. I’m actually quite disappointed in your piece Rob, I assumed you’d be far more disingenuous then that ! Oh well maybe your finally warming to us ?

    Just for the record we finished our last two matches with Ten men which when you consider our energy levels and all round performance today makes your comment that “We’ll be tired in our next game”a tad churlish.

    It felt pre-game that Leeds really thought that you only needed to turn up today to get 3 points.. Unfortunately for you and yours they really didn’t turn up !

    You know the reason hardly any of us travel to Elland Road as it’s been well documented enough over the years, but hopefully there are rumours doing the rounds that the restrictions are being relaxed for our visit to you.. We live in hope !!


  4. Aargh another loss to the ‘Wall! I know we have to lose at some point but I’d rather we’d have stuffed up against Burton that that mob again. I know the Prem is a distant, over hyped and tainted land but if getting there and finishing 17th every season means not playing them again then great. They really do have some spirit though but as you say Rob will they raise their game against other teams? Anyhow today Burton do Fulham and Derby hammered by Brizzle. This season is shaping up to be very intersting and LEEDS are still Top!


  5. Hate to say it but Millwall deserved it. We were out muscled. On the plus side no Saville chants this time eh? For some reason we never showed up, but we need to solve this problem of being bullied by physical sides.


  6. Reality Cheque

    This result/experience will set us in good stead for the remainder of the season because I am sure that Thomas will have learnt a few lessons and be determined to ensure that all the players learn from this experience. We are 10 points ahead of where we were last season and I cannot help but think that our “mentality” if Monk were still with us would again have given us a much lower points return so far.

    We have so many more positives in the way that our club is being run this season and TC and the new “foreign” players have done remarkably well to settle in a new country and culture so quickly and more than stand their ground in the battleground of the Championship. I think that many of us expected us to struggle from day one to adapt to the Championship with a new “foreign” manager and coaching staff plus a large influx of new as well as “foreign” players in the exact manner that, by contrast, our Under 23’s are struggling at present.

    Yes the Championship is a marathon and TC has always stated that there will be lows as well as highs and it is the “reaction” to such a defeat that matters and it is NOW that TC and the players need our 100% support and backing. Lets not turn on these players because they have lost the first game of the season after TEN games and conceded their first league goal for over 600 minutes!!

    We are Leeds United and we are now in very safe hands and I am once again proud to be a Leeds United fan after the Circus and nightmares of previous owners. MOT


  7. Due to the high turnover of Leeds players during every summer, maybe it’s very difficult for those players to understand the Millwall away game and the circus of physical hatred that goes with it.
    Christiansen playing Saiz, Alioski and Hernandez, was a huge mistake and three flair players like that, were always going to struggle in such a physical and hostile game, while Vieira, Dallas and Roofe should have started the game instead and packed the midfield.
    Jansson at 6ft 5 and Shaughnessy at 6ft 3, should not have been intimidated today or if they were, just much taller do you have to be to stand up against Millwall and “Barn Door Morison” ?
    Everyone knows that it’s Millwall’s huge cup final and it’s exactly the same situation as what the hideously, irritating Huddersfield cup final games, that Leeds had to face over the last decade and let’s just be thankful that Leeds don’t have to put up with those two games of one-sided hatred and jealousy this season, for a very refreshing change.


  8. Steve Titus

    I wouldn’t worry to much about losing your still top and we are much better than most realise and could easily be on 7 wins out of 8 , we should have been leggy today virtually the same time played a whole half with just 10 men only 3 days ago as for Leeds I saw enough to know your in for a good season and though struggled today never gave in , I know you may not believe it but I genuinely hope you get promoted and you have a decent chance although the championship is more competitive than its ever been


  9. You weren’t “edged out” though. You were comprehensively outplayed. Millwall could have had four. Won’t stay top for long on that showing.


    • Steve Harris

      We all know as Millwall fans that Leeds will end up way above us but if you wanna
      be a possible premier league side you’ll need a bigger heart than you showed today.
      Sometimes keep ball isn’t as effective as showing some guts which Millwall did today all over the park . In all honesty knowing Gary Monk I thought our defence would be out stripped down the flanks, runners coming through the midfield , pace and crossfield balls whipped into our area but………… nothing in fact it was your goal that was battered.
      BTW our entire squad is worth probably less than 2 mill!!
      What did you expect? Rolling over on our tummy cos one day in the near future you expect to be back in Europe ?
      Leeds need to toughen up, find yourself another Billy Bremner , you need it!


  10. Gary Monk? Who he? !!


  11. That would be Mark Warburton then? Continues for another 94 messages !!


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