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by Tom Moore
Monday, February 20, 2012
It is not often writers are given the opportunity which Calvin had to see first hand how a club and team is run.
The writer had access to all areas of the south London club for the 2009/10 season and was inthe dressing room before and after games.Calvin even witnessed scholars being told their time at the club had come to an end, known as the April Fools Day massacre", which highlights the scale of access he had.
Before writing the book, Calvin was a Watford fan, however over the course of the season he found himself breaking the big taboo of a football fan, in switching allegiances.
The spark seemed to come when Millwall were at Colchester on Easter Monday.
The Lions had taken the lead through Steve Morison, however an error from goalkeeper David Forde allowed Kevin Lisbie to equalise.
The moment came when the ball looped up off Colchester substitute Danny Baath and unused substitute Gary Alexander, now at Brentford, yelled its in on the balls path to the goal as they were in the dugout.
Alexander and I were on our feet, in full eye contact, Calvin wrote. What we did was so wrong, it felt right. We paused, threw our arms around each other, and leaped up and down in unison like addictive-crazed kids on a bouncy castle. I had finally lost my virginity, crossed that unspoken boundary between observer and participant. My professional detachment, nurtured over 30 years watching sport at the highest level, had been fractured. I identified with these men, shared their values, felt their pain. God help me, I kidded myself I belonged.
Calvin believes that at Millwall there is a special bond between fans and players and the author describes it as a proper club, insinuating that the Premier League clubs do not have this connection.
Players are reflected in positive and negative light, such as Andy Frampton who gave his team-mate, Dave Martin, a piece of his mind in the dressing room after a home draw with Brighton.
However, Frampton had earned Guvnor status in the dressing room which allows him to get away with such behaviour.
You also feel the pain of Danny Senda who suffered a torn Achilles tendon ruling him out for four to six months, a few games after coming back from a ruptured patella that caused him to miss the 2008/09 season.
You cant help but raise a smile when reading about Millwall defender Paul Robinson being hit right between the eyes by a frankfurter, thrown by a disgruntled Millwall fan, between the eyes, covering him with ketchup, after the Lions conceded an equaliser at Colchester.
The man that comes out with the most credit is manager Kenny Jackett, who coped with the criticism from the fans, financial struggles with budgetary complaints, as well as his father dying during the season to lead the Lions to promotion via the play-offs.
Family: Life, Death and Football is the only book where you can get an accurate description, warts and all, of what goes on in the dressing room and should be read by football fans and players alike