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28 December 2012

Pete's December report

Well after 13 games unbeaten we finally had a bad day at the office losing to Ipswich 3-0, a game that most people thought we would get something out of but it wasn’t to be. Personally I think it wasn’t a bad game to lose. Luckily the team regrouped straight away and threw themselves into the Leicester match with a real battling display against a team who have invested heavily. Our players matched them for all of the game and were deserving winners of the three points. 
At Brighton away we stormed into a lead and I thought we were going to win by a clear margin, but the introduction of Lua Lua turned the game, and in the end I was pleased with a point which I would have taken prior to kick off. 
We then had the Barnsley game. Talk amongst the directors was of “banana skins” as it was a game on paper and on current form we should have easily won. But that’s football, a number of below par performances didn’t help but when we went down to 10 men we battled back and I felt we could have actually nicked it. But that goal in injury time made me feel ill, especially as I thought it was offside, but those things happen. The team have had some great results and performances in the last two months, with for me Nottingham Forest was the pick of the bunch.
Congratulations to Kenny for winning manager of the month award for November. It was well deserved and for once the team did not fall to the manager of the month curse by losing the game. I must also mention Danny Shittu who was nominated for Championship Player of the Month but narrowly missed out. I am pretty sure that if there was a snap poll amongst the fans for player of the season right now Danny would pick it up with a resounding majority. He has really made a huge impact into the team. Also, in my opinion, the best ever Millwall manager award would go hands down to Kenny.
In December we also had our monthly board meeting at which we discussed Kenny’s requirements for the rest of the season and his plans going forward. Obviously I cannot make public the detailed discussions - all I can say is that Kenny was very appreciative of the financial support the board have given him especially in these times of austerity. Kenny is a very shrewd manager who has turned the club from top to bottom into a very professional outfit.
Kenny has worked hard behind the scenes to try and procure the services of Chris Wood, Adam Smith and Mark Beevers on loan. Going forward Kenny and the board are pulling out all the stops to try to persuade the players and their clubs to let them stay long term.
The Chris Wood situation is on everyone’s minds, including other clubs. All I can say is I know the salary, transfer fee and all the add ons that were offered to both  WBA and and the player. I can assure everyone we matched Leicester in every financial aspect, be assured the board went to extreme lengths to get him at the club permanently.
As with all transfers the final decision is with the player as to whether he sees his future at a club. I understand Chris Wood and his agent (his dad) feels there is more chance of getting Premiership football with Leicester. Personally I find this very annoying as it was only two weeks ago that Chris had thoughts of staying with us, especially as he was getting first team football week-in week-out and was very well liked by us, the fans. 
Every time there is a high profile transfer battle featuring us, all Millwall fans want to know the ins and outs of the deal, the salary, the fee and anything relating to it. My role isn’t to pass that type of information on, in fact as a director I would be breaking my fiduciary duty if I did. When I was elected, part of my role was to ensure fans' feelings were taken into account at all times and I have always done that. In this case the club were willing to spend more money on a player than ever before. If you take into account the fee, the salary plus all the add ons for the period of the contract, the club were going to invest a huge amount of money to land the player. 
I wish I was able to let everyone know the finer details but I can’t. When these financial details are made public it doesn’t help the club in any way. All other clubs will be alerted to what money is available and that could mean they up their transfer fees as they think we have a certain amount of money available.
The Charlton game brought our biggest gate for many years. The Chairman was pleased that the attendance was so large, it proved that the one way of filling the stadium is by getting it right on the pitch. 
There has been a lot of recent press reporting regarding racial abuse and as per normal our name is always bandied about as it is a convenient bit of lazy journalism. We all know as a club we have done more to engage the local communities regardless of race than any other club. We all need to make sure that we don’t give anyone any ammunition to throw at us in the press. 
The last two “complaints” against us have come from players who have commented about abuse via a social networking sites. This is totally unacceptable. There are enough club and Football League representatives available on a matchday to bring up any such issues, and this is the correct way to do things. I have had letters from many fans who have lobbied the Football League asking for them to look into the issue of players' use of social networking sites. It is wrong that a club can be judged without the chance to defend themselves publicly.
Currently there is a lot of discussion going on regarding changing the current status of all seater stadiums to allow an amount of standing; I know there would be a huge amount of cost involved if there was to be a change from all-seater to partial standing. This is one of the issues that would need addressing. Here is the link to an article discussing the topic http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20679867 if you feel strongly about the subject, either for or against, drop me a line so I can get a feel as to what the fanbase think.
Most fans will have by now heard of the sad passing away of “Tiny”. I was lucky enough to know Ian over the years I have been coming to Millwall. He will be sadly missed and the thoughts of many of us will be with Ian’s family at this time.
As always if anyone has any questions please get in touch petergarston@hotmail.com or via the club.
Pete

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