Saturday’s 4-2 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers finally saw the back of one of the worst seasons in Millwall’s history.
Like many clubs Millwall tend to have cycles of success and failure. Hopefully this is the culmination of the bad cycle. It is also true that you have to endure the bad times to truly appreciate the good times.
There are many reasons why things went as badly as they did this season. Our defence conceded far too many soft goals; our strikers wasted far too many chances; key experienced players Nicky Bailey and Carlos Edwards missed most of the season; Ian Holloway tried to turn us into a passing team and he persisted with a one man-up front formation without wingers even when it was plain to see it was not working.
Our home form has been shocking and we failed to remove the manager early enough to give his replacement the chance of keeping the team up.
When our relegation was confirmed last week the club moved swiftly to announce that Neil Harris and Dave Livermore had been offered and accepted the management jobs permanently.
Given how they have turned the team around, despite the inevitable relegation, I am very happy with their appointments. They know exactly what is needed from a Millwall player and are passionate about making this club successful again.
Millwall supporters responded well to the news and we have surprisingly sold more season tickets than at the same point last season.
I expect to see a younger team time around and two youngsters got on the scoresheet at Molineux on Saturday. Aidan O’Brien finished off his impressive run in the team with another goal and 18-year-old Jamie Philpot celebrated the signing of his first professional contract last Thursday with a goal from his first touch after coming on as a second half substitute.
We have around 20 players out of contract this summer so some tough choices will have to be made. Key players with unclear futures are Jimmy Abdou, Mark Beevers, Lee Martin, Nicky Bailey, Martyn Woolford, Carlos Edwards, Jack Powell, Ricardo Fuller, Magaye Gueye along with loan signings Jos Hooiveld and Dan Harding. It will be interesting to see who gets offered contracts.
Despite relegation we have reasons to look forward to next season, the first step in our recovery.
Ian Toal is a committee member at Millwall Supporters Club