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  • Gary Foxall

The Den - Millwall FC

Photos by Google

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

The Den Zampa Rd London, England SE16 3LN

Year Opened: 1993 Capacity: 20,146


Let ‘Em All Come Down to the Den

When you think of Millwall a couple of thoughts may come to mind. It might be the reputation of violence during matches that has been formed by decades of events, most recently video footage of an Everton fan being slashed across the face during the FA Cup. The Millwall Community Trust has worked effortlessly to change such notions about the club.

You may also think of them as giant killers who as of this writing are tied with Southampton with 25 victories of higher division clubs in the FA Cup. The Lions defeated five out of seven Premier League clubs that included the 3-2 victory over Everton in January 2019. The club has had 14 such knockouts since the end of World War II.

The Den is the home to the Millwall Football Club and was built a quarter of a mile from its predecessor many now called The Old Den. The stadium was significant in many ways as it was the first constructed after the Taylor Report on the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the first new professional football stadium built in London since 1937.

The £16 million structure was designed with being able to manage crowds with escape routes being precise and quick in case of a situation. The old Den had a reputation for hostile crowds for certain matches. Plans called originally for 25,000 to 35,000 people but were scaled down to 20,000 where it currently stands at this time.

Millwall has been resident most of the time in the EFL Championship except for the two seasons in League One from 2015-2017. The club captured League One playoff championships in both 2010 and 2017 and last played in England’s first division in 1990.

The club was founded as The Millwall Rovers by workers of J.T. Morton’s canning and preserve factory in 1885. The club moved into the Football League in 1920 through the creation of the FL Third Division. The club won 59 home games without a defeat from August 1964 to January of 1967. The Lions have been known as Cup Killers this century reaching the final game in 2004, the semifinals in 2013, the quarterfinals in 2017, and 2019.

Food & Beverage 3

The food options have improved in recent years and fans will be delighted to find a selection of pies from the Pie Factory that includes steak and ale, chicken balti, cheese and onion pasties, and sausage rolls. Burgers and chips are also available on the main concourse as well as a selection of ales.

Atmosphere 3

The Den is a simple design but it was carefully crafted for English Football. The grounds consist of four separate stands that are double-tiered and covered from the elements. All of the views for the stands provide a close and accurate view of the pitch with limited obstruction. The crowd at the game is focused on the match and hand and belts out songs and chants, most notably the Clash’s “London’s Calling” and “Let ‘Em Come.”

The east stand is known as the Dockers Stand, a tribute to the city’s earlier history and supporter-based Thames dockers. The south stand is called the Cold Blow Lane Stand and is named after the street which led to the former stadium. The Barry Kitchener Stand is in honour of Lion's longest-tenured player. These stands are for the Millwall supporters and if you are a visitor, it would be wise to find a spot in the north stand.

The North Stand is where visiting supporters sit and offers seating for 4,000 people. The stand also houses the executive suites, press box, and family enclosure. This might be the best view of the pitch and with away supporters restricted to this stand, it might also be the safest place to watch a game at The Den.

A lot has changed since the 1980s when visiting fans were known to get into scuffles and sustain injuries to Millwall’s “naughty” fans and that reputation still exists to this day. Like many other football stadiums in England, it is safe for visiting fans for a majority of games at The Den. However, it would be proper to take precautions as the grounds can be intimidating before and after the match.

The Club Shop was renovated at the beginning of the last decade and offers a selection of merchandise and has a more modern feel inside its doors. Kits, shirts, scarves, and match day programmes can be found on sale for fans looking to add to their collection. The club also employs a giant lion mascot named Zampa who offers hugs and photo opportunities to fans of all ages before, during, and after the match.

Neighbourhood 3

There are not many places to eat or visit near the stadium but there are various spots on your way from the London Bridge (more places to sit down and have a meal) area and Cross Gate tube station. It should be noted that if you are wearing visiting colors you should stay out of supporters' bars.

The Yellow House Bar and Kitchen specialize in pizzas, sandwiches, and even vegetarian and vegan options. The Elite Fish bar offers fish and chips for a fast meal before or after the match. Fourpure Brewing Company has a location close to the stadium offering pints of craft beer. Other places for a pint include The Shipwrights Arms and Bunch of Grapes Pub two supporter bars. The Barrow Boy & Banker and the Shipwright’s Arms are two popular venues with away supporters.

The Borough Market is next to the London Bridge Underground Station and is renowned for its food, drink, and other products. The Brindisa Stall is known for its chorizo roll, Kappacasein features the cheese toastie, and Portena is known for its beef, chicken, and chorizo empanadas. Hobbs Roast Meat serves baguettes, wraps, and buns full of things you’d usually find in a roast-bring napkin.

The Den is near many tourist attractions in London and just across the Thames in London Tower which offers guided tours. The Walkway at Tower Bridge offers breathtaking views of London from atop the bridge. The Tate Modern Art Gallery, Imperial War Museum, and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich Park are other options nearby the grounds.

Fans 3

Millwall fans have a historic association with football hooliganism that gained notoriety in the 1980s. Depending on who you ask, the fans can be the most passionate groups or some of the roughest core in England. The home fans are among the most knowledgeable and have a great sense of wit and keen observation of the game.

There have been reports, videos, and articles on the violence before and after matches, and is fine to take precautions. Away supporters have their mass transit link to keep them away from home supporters. However, one could attend a game and not run into any problems and perhaps keep away club colours at home.

Access 3

The best way to access The Den on game day is through public transit. There are very limited parking lots near the facility and there is not an official lot for supporters of the Lions. If you do decide to drive there, arrive early to find street parking but that fills up quickly. You can book parking spots at private lots that range from a 7-20 minute walk from the grounds.

The Den Stadium lacks any official parking, meaning that on-street parking is the only real option for drivers. However, these spaces can fill up quickly, and it is best to book your parking space in advance of any match day. The nearest station to the ground is South Bermondsey Railway Station, which is just a 5-minute walk from the ground. The nearby Calmont Road is the home of the under-18s team who do their training here.

Return on Investment 3

Ticket pricing is divided into three categories of A, B, and C, and differs based on age, membership, and service in the arm forces. Also, depending on when you purchase a ticket can be the price point. The average price for an adult ticket in category A is £29.50, category B £26.50, and category C £24.40.

Ticket pricing for other groups is slightly less and children under 12 years of age are as low as £5 for category C. Concession pricing is also reasonable and along with the same price points as other grounds in the league.

Extras 3

One point for the fans who are renowned for their terrace chant “No one likes us, we don’t care”. There are also a few more chants that are sung by supporters that include “Let ’em Come” and “Shoeshine Boy”. A second point is for the current renovations that provide fans with some of the best views in English Football.

Final Thoughts

The Den offers great views from almost every part of the grounds and is the perfect size for being close to the action. It is clean, comfortable, and a serviceable stadium that has shown its age in certain places but offers an array of food kiosks and social quarters. The Den and its supporters have their reputation but for the most part, makes for an ideal afternoon for football in London.

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