The rebuilding process for next season has begun in earnest at the Den when a list of 18 Millwall players being released by the club was circulated.
With many players out of contract this summer there was always going to be a lot of players going even if we had preserved our Championship status, but with relegation we are going to have to account for the decrease in revenue.
Neil Harris had to make a lot of tough choices, especially in the case of skipper Alan Dunne who was his former team-mate. Dunne joined the club as a schoolboy but his 23 years at the club have come to an end as Harris decided against offering Dunney a new contract.
Dunney is a rare a one-club man. He made 390 first team appearances and scored 23 goals. Millwall supporters recognise his commitment to the cause. He wore his heart on his sleeve when representing the club.
This was never more in evidence than in a performance match between the “also rans” and the “first choice XI”. Dunney’s “also rans” thrashed for the opposition, prompting manager Ian Holloway to change his first-choice XI. This was followed by amazing run in the final 10 matches of the season which culminated in us avoiding relegation from a point where we looked dead and buried.
Dunney certainly wasn’t the best player we ever saw at The Den. Right from his debut as a substitute at Bramall Lane, he made mistakes that often cost goals.
He was dropped from the team numerous times but he got his head down in training and always worked his way back into the team by displaying his Millwall spirit. And that Millwall spirit often extended to his interaction with supporters often turning up to events and making numerous donations for several different charities.
We extend our best wishes to Dunney for the remainder of his playing career and expect to see him back at the club in a coaching capacity in the future.
Other players released were Nicky Bailey, Matthew Briggs, Richard Chaplow, Ricardo Fuller, Jake Goodman, Magaye Gueye, Justin Hoyte, Stefan Maierhofer, Angel Martinez, Danny Shittu, Martyn Woolford, Carlos Edwards and youngsters Dylan Casey, Sofiane El –Bekri, Denzel Gerrar, Josh Siafa and Callum Webb.
Bailey’s poor fitness record counted against him and Gueye was probably not keen on stepping down a level. Releasing Woolford and Goodman, who had done well on loan at AFC Wimbledon, was surprising.
Edwards can continue his rehabilitation from his career threatening injury. If he proves his fitness we may well see him in a Millwall shirt again. Player of the season Jimmy Abdou and John Marquis, who had a successful loan spell at Gillingham, have both been offered contracts.
We might well see bids come in for a few of our players retained at the club and despite Harris saying he expects a smaller squad next season, there should still be a few additions between now and August.
After the break our supporters will be keen to get back to supporting Harris and his new-look team.
Ian Toal is a committee member at Millwall Supporters Club