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A Natural High: Millwall Football Club's Two Seasons in The First Division

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13 June 2019

August 1988. The second Summer of Love.

The UK wasn’t basking in a heatwave, but the euphoric mix of acid house, rave and psychedelia meant that most were completely oblivious to the weather anyway.

A year that had started like any other had blossomed in a feel good factor not experienced since the sixties. Love was in the air, house prices were up, unemployment was down - and Millwall were in the First Division.

The Lions’ appearance at football’s top table for the first time in their 103-year history is probably best compared with Punk than Rave culture. Exploding on the scene and sticking two fingers up to the establishment, shocking their way to the top of the pile before being chewed up and spat out and then disappearing as quickly as they had arrived.

But this was 1988, not 1976, and while their somewhat unwelcome arrival was no less dramatic and explosive than the opening chords to Anarchy in The UK, there was a little bit more class about these boys as they slotted into the high life to the assured - but no less revolutionary - backing track of Voodoo Ray.

'A Natural High' is Lions supporter Merv Payne's story of a humble south London football club and its unique fans; how a team, built on a shoestring budget and made up largely of locals and boyhood Millwall supporters, stunned the football world for a brief but beautiful time back in 1988, when football really was the beautiful game.

For two years, Millwall rubbed shoulders with the game's elite. Their fans, when they weren't raving in fields or warehouses, were gleefully gatecrashing a party where only the wealthy usually received an invite. There was delight and disappointment, triumph and tragedy - but what a ride.

With contributions from members of that historic Millwall squad as well as fans and opposition players and supporters, this is a footballing tale that will never be repeated.

To purchase a copy of 'A Natural High', click here.


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