Thursday, 13th Sep 2018 22:06 by Tim Whelan
We can now look forward to another fun-packed visit to Millwall on Saturday with kick off at 3pm, and you’ll find the New Den in a really pleasant part of South-East London.
The New Den is situated on Ilderton Road, which is just off Old Kent Road (Deptford End) on the A2. The most direct route involves staying on the M1 to the bitter end. At the end of the motorway you first follow signs for the city, then for Shoreditch and Whitechapel, then the Ring Road signs for Dover.
Cross over Tower Bridge and after 1 mile take first exit at the roundabout onto the A2. From the Elephant & Castle take the A2 (New Kent Road) into Old Kent Road. (No surprise that the nearest main road is the cheapest property on a Monopoly board). Turn left after 4 miles at the Canterbury Arms pub into Ilderton Road.
There is no parking is available for supporters at the ground, but you can part in the estate opposite the ground and off Surrey Canal Road, which is the main road off of Ilderton Road. You will have to be careful and it’s no surprise that Millwall recommend that “anything on display indicating the vehicle belongs to Leeds fans is removed”.
The nearest railway station is South Bermondsey, which is only one stop from London Bridge. A walkway was built a few years ago to allow away fans to use an entirely different exit to the home fans and go straight to the ground. After the game the Police escort us back to London Bridge, and they usually try to herd everyone onto the tube to King's Cross, even though there are always plenty of Leeds fans needing to catch trains to other places.
Using Surrey Quays ‘Overground’ station is not usually advised, as the 10/15 minute walk would take you through an estate where we were pelted with missiles two years ago (when South Bermondsey was closed) and you would also have to go under a whole series of dark and creepy railway arches.
For safety reasons I won't recommend any pubs close to the stadium, but you’re usually OK in the area round London Bridge, if not on the station itself. Options include the ‘Shipwright Arms’on Tooley Street, the Wetherspoons 'Pommelers Rest' on Tower Bridge Road and the Bunch of Grapes on St Thomas Street. The latter venue was surrounded by police on our last visit, and they marched all the Leeds fans onto the station at 2.15.
On the Borough High Street is the ‘Barrow Boy & Banker’, and in the Borough Market, which includes the legendary Market Porter pub. This pub is a regular listing in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and always has 9 real ales on tap. Food-wise, there are a couple of takeaways near the stadium on Ilderton Road, including 'Moby Dicks' and the 'Ilderton Cafe'.
The club was founded in 1885 in the district of Millwall on the north side of the Thames in the Isle of Dogs, which might explain why they regard working class West Ham as their local derby rather than suburban Charlton or Palace. They came south of the river in 1901 and settled at 'the Den' in the New Cross area in 1910.
The Den held the record for being the ground closed most often due to crowd trouble (5 times up to 1978) and had become a bit threadbare by the 1990s. The site was cramped and the club had no chance of expanding the ground to meet the needs of the Taylor report, as they didn't own any of the surrounding land, so they moved once more, to nearby Senegal Fields.
The New Den was opened at the start of the 1993/4 season, and although facilities are much better than the Old Den, like most new stadia it lacks a bit of style, with all four sides looking the same. And of course the clientele was much the same and further disturbances took place in the surrounding streets after play-off defeats by Derby in 1994 and Birmingham in 2002.
The club hoped to bring in extra revenue by staging other events at the new stadium, such as concerts and boxing, but with plenty of other venues being available in London, they didn't manage to tempt many promoters to come to Bermondsey.
The total capacity of the New Den is 20,146. Away fans are located in the North Stand, and around 4,000 away fans can be accommodated in this end, but for high-risk matches the visitors only get the upper tier, leaving the rest empty for segregation. So we only got an allocation of 2,200, which was sold through the club’s ‘attendance tracker’ with no tickets remaining.
Prices for away fans are £29 for adults, with over 65's at £20, under 16's £16, under 16's £14 and under 12's £9. Millwall have also sold out all the home stands, so clearly we’re not famous any more and we can expect the usual pleasant atmosphere.
The concourse offers hot food ranging from a range of pies from the 'Pie Factory' to sausage rolls, burgers and chips. The police have been known to be a bit mob-handed, and there are plenty of stories on the Millwall messageboards about fans being thrown out for trivial ‘offences’, though every year they seem to get away with offensive chanting and gestures about the tragedy in Istanbul.
After the game we can expect to be kept inside for at least half an hour, so all in all it sounds like a really fun day out!
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
Photo: Action Images
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