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Pete's new season report

10 August 2014

Latest from the Fan on the Board

Well the season is now upon us. I’ve been to most of the friendlies and there has been some good football and lovely weather. Ollie has added to the squad and there is a calm excitement around the club. It’s all very positive and Ollie’s positive nature is touching all areas.

Last close season we saw a lot of signings who we thought were going to do it for us. This season we have the benefit of finishing the last eight games unbeaten and a manager who has a proven track record, new players who the manager has targeted in previous months, a fan base who sticks by the team through thick and thin and a very supportive board and chairman. It all adds up to potentially a winning force

Euro ferries
As you all know Millwall have a new sponsor in Euro ferries.  On the face of it, it looks a good deal, with Euro ferries offering to help with coaches for fans who live a little way out.  This idea has been tried before but never got off the floor, so hopefully with Euro ferries’ backing it may have some success
There has been a few bits of negative press about Euro ferries and their commitment. All I can say is they have entered into a contractual agreement with the club, and as with any deal, due diligence was carried out.  As of today, nothing in that contract has been broken. The club do take seriously who they have sponsoring them. This was shown by the board’s decision to reject a payday loan company.  My input on behalf of fans was to vote to reject it as well.

There was a problem regarding the memorial garden that was brought to my attention.  Once it was known, the problem was resolved and now a member of the MSC has agreed to assist in keeping it tidy along with the club. I was told the garden had been in a bit of a mess for four  weeks. It’s important if things are noticed like this to bring them up straight away. It only took 24 hours for it to be sorted out in the end.

There was a very derogatory statement put out on by Paul Goodman who runs a website called Conservative Home, the title of the article was ‘Hamas, the Millwall of the Middle East’. Obviously this is unacceptable, I got straight in touch with the author and demanded an apology which came immediately.
There were major problems with the ticketing system when the Fulham tickets went on sale, and it wasn’t the first time either. It appears that the moment we get a high profile game, the system goes into meltdown. The club assured fans this was a thing of the past prior to the tickets going on sale. The club have invested in an upgraded ticketing system that should cope with any other big games.. Let’s hope they are right!

Fulham away
The West London police had discussions with Fulham about moving the kick-off of the game to an earlier time. Millwall opposed this and made strong objections to the police, who, after careful consideration, decided to leave the kick off at 3pm. Let’s hope when the club have similar discussions with the Yorkshire police regarding ticket collection for Leeds that they decide to reverse the decision they have taken in the last few years, considering there has been no trouble at the fixture for many years and all the decision does is hinder decent fans and makes things hard work for them. I know for a fact the club lobby the police strongly each year but have yet to get them to move.

As always the authorities will be all over us like a rash this season looking for the slightest misdemeanour. With big games against Leeds and Fulham as openers it’s important we don’t give them the ammunition they so crave. The first two games could have a big impact on the rest of the season, it’s really frustrating that no other clubs have to walk the same behavioural tightrope we do!
I’ve had several discussions with Ollie over the start of the season and how important it is to get a good start both on and off the pitch. He is of the opinion if we can harness the passionate support in a positive way, coming away with points and no issues it will be job done!

Ollie was so passionate at the Fans Forum about his dream of getting us to the Premiership. He filled the room with his drive and enthusiasm and said that he has never worked at a club where he felt so wanted. His aim is to make a difference in all areas and this is evident in his approach. He is a real people person and I have been fortunate enough to speak to him on a number of occasions and his drive and passion is infectious.
He is slowly getting us as fans, he loves the banter, passion and commitment we have to our club.

Prior to meeting Ollie I had only ever seen him in TV interviews and thought he was a bit of a jester.  I was so wrong.  He is probably the most emotionally aware person I have met in football during my tenure. For him, he obviously wants to get it right on the pitch but he wants to do it with decent players who give all for the fans, and he is adamant that they don’t strut around with an arrogance that we have sometimes seen in the past.
He spoke about the Leeds game and the problems we have had in the past with the flags and songs regarding the two Leeds fans who died. He said he couldn’t understand how people could act that way when people had lost their lives, especially as these people have parents or sons and daughters.  Ollie was very vocal in stressing the point that we could be the ones who made a difference in trying to change things by rising above it , getting behind our team with passion and pride and not using such a tragic act to goad the opposition. I think the whole audience were shocked by the passion he showed about it, his own words ‘I wouldn’t want to be affiliated with anyone who behaves like that’. He realised that people that behave like that are not the loyal fans who follow us week in, week out but people that only attend the more contentious high profile games.

I think the bottom line of what Ollie was trying to get over is, we all need to be mindful of unacceptable behaviour and the impact it has not just on our club but on other people and their perception of us.

One thing I know Ollie is pleased with is the improvements not only to the main pitch at The Den, but also those at the training ground.
Trevor Keyse, Dave Shaw our head groundsman and his staff deserve great credit for the work they have done to provide us with training and playing facilities which are the envy of most in our League and no doubt some above.

If I complete this term as FOTB I would have been on the board for 11 years. During that time it’s been really up and down with lots of highs and lows.  Every decision I have taken has always been fan driven and not Peter Garston driven. Before the last election I was unsure whether to stand, but at the time it was the right thing for fans that I stood and was re-elected to ensure the role continued.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me both publicly and with the long phone calls at all hours to give me help with certain issues.
All I know is, the relationship between us the fans and the club has drastically improved since the role started. Personally I believe the information available to fans is more than at any other club. I also think we have reached the optimum in information interchange, which is frustrating but true.

As always If you want to contact me its best via email petergarston@hotmail.com

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