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History of Millwall Football Club

1885 - The club are founded as Millwall Rovers by workers of JT Morton's factory on the Isle of Dogs. Millwall Rovers' first game was against Leytonstone side Fillebrook and ended in a 5-0 defeat.

1886 - The club begin playing at the Lord Nelson Ground, an area of land behind a pub, the Lord Nelson.

1889 - The club is re-named as Millwall Athletic after relocating to The Athletic Grounds.

1900 - Millwall Athletic reach the FA Cup Semi-Finals, losing to Southampton after a replay.

1901 - The club are on the move again, this time to North Greenwich, a relocation which is unavoidable as the Millwall Dock Company wanted to use their land as a timberyard.

1903 - The club reaches its second FA Cup Semi-Final in just three years, this time beaten by Derby County.

1908 - Millwall are crowned champions of the Western Football League.

1909 - Their Western Football League championship trophy is retained.

1910 - In an attempt to boost attendances, the club move once again, this time to New Cross, naming the new stadium ‘The Den’. The first match is against Southern League Champions Brighton & Hove Albion, who win 1-0.

1920 - Now known just as Millwall, the club are invited by the Football League to enter its new Third Division for the 1920/21 season. Millwall's first game ends in a 2-0 victory over Bristol Rovers on 28th August 1920.


1925 - Millwall put together a run of 11 consecutive clean sheets, a Football League record shared with Reading and York City.

1928 - The club win the Third Division South title, scoring 87 League goals at The Den alone – a Football League record that still stands.

1937 - Millwall reach the FA Cup Semi-Finals for the third time. They are the first Football League club from the third tier to do so. Earlier in the competition, the Fifth Round visit of Derby County attracts a record attendance of 48,762.

1938 - The club announces that His Grace Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, the 16th Duke of Norfolk, agrees to become its first-ever President.

1943 - The Den suffers severe bomb damage during World War Two, forcing Millwall to play games at rival clubs' grounds in London.

1944 - Thanks to the work of several volunteers to help re-build parts of the ground, the club return to play matches at The Den.

1945 - Millwall play Chelsea, losing 2-0, in the Football League War Cup (South) Final at Wembley in front of 90,000 spectators.

1957 - Battling for survival at the bottom of the Third Division, Millwall shock First Division giants Newcastle United in the FA Cup Fourth Round, winning 2-1. 

1962 - Having become founder members of the new Football League Division Four in 1958, Millwall win the Fourth Division title in 1962, but are relegated two years later.

1964 - Millwall begin a record run of 59 home games without defeat, consisting of 43 wins and 16 draws, which comes to an end in January 1967. During the unbeaten run at The Den, the club score 112 goals, conceding just 33 with 35 clean sheets. In the process, The Lions win two promotions, finishing second in Division Four in 1965, and then runners-up again in Division Three a year later (1966). The remarkable record is eventually broken by Liverpool in 1981.

1967 - A shock 2-1 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle – The Pilgrims' first away win of the season – is the result which ends The Lions' unbeaten run at The Den.


1972 - The class of '72, which included Bryan King, Harry Cripps, Derek Possee and Barry Kitchener, the club's longest-serving player, miss out on promotion to Division One by just one point.

1974 - The Lions host the first-ever game played on a Sunday, when they entertain London rivals Fulham at The Den.

1982 - Millwall legend Barry Kitchener plays his 602nd and final game for The Lions at Home Park, Plymouth.

1983 - Manager George Graham guides Millwall to the final of the Football League Trophy, where they beat Lincoln City 3-2.

1985 - Millwall reach the FA Cup Quarter-Finals and earn promotion to the Second Division after finishing the season unbeaten at home.

1988 - Led by John Docherty, Graham's replacement as manager, Millwall gain promotion to the top-flight of English football for the first time in the club's history. After beating QPR 3-2 on 1st October, The Lions top the entire Football League. Millwall's first season amongst the elite of English football ends with a 10th place finish, the lowest position occupied by the club at any point during that campaign.

1989 - The club pay their record transfer fee of £800,000 to bring Paul Goddard to The Den from Derby County.

1990 - After topping the table again on 9th September, Millwall struggled to match their form from the first season in the top-flight, and are relegated back to the Second Division.

1991 - New manager Bruce Rioch guides The Lions to fifth place in Division Two but they are beaten by Brighton and Hove Albion in the Play-Off Semi-Finals. Teddy Sheringham scores a record 38 goals that season.

1992 - Bruce Rioch departs to be replaced by player/manager Mick McCarthy.

1993 - The club move to The ‘New’ Den, the first all-seater stadium built in England after the Taylor Report recommendations following the Hillsborough disaster. American John Kerr scores the first-ever goal at the club's new ground in a friendly against Bobby Robson's Sporting Lisbon.

1995 - The Lions knock giants Arsenal out of the FA Cup in a Third Round replay, winning 2-0 at Highbury. They then beat a second top-flight outfit, Chelsea, on penalties after another replay before losing to QPR in the Quarter-Final. Nottingham Forest had previously been beaten in the League Cup, making it three Premier League scalps for Millwall that year.

1996 - Not long after being displaced from top spot in Division One, which was formed at the end of the 1993/4 season, McCarthy leaves his post to take over as the Republic of Ireland's new manager. Jimmy Nicholl is appointed as McCarthy's replacement, but he cannot stop the club eventually slipping into the third tier of English football. Millwall drop into the bottom three for the first and only time that season, at the final whistle of the final game, a 0-0 draw at Ipswich.


1997 - Theo Paphitis arrives at The Den, bringing The Lions out of administration. He appoints Billy Bonds as manager, who is later replaced by Keith Stevens. Alan McLeary is his chosen assistant, but he is later promoted to the role of co-manager alongside Stevens.

1999 - The duo guide The Lions to the club's first-ever official appearance at Wembley to face Wigan Athletic in the Auto Windscreens Shield Final. The Latics win 1-0 in front of 47,349 Millwall fans amongst a 55,000 crowd – a record number of supporters from one club at Wembley. A year later, a young Millwall side featuring the likes of Tim Cahill, Neil Harris, Marc Bircham, Steven Reid, Paul Ifill, Lucas Neill and Richard Sadlier reach the Second Division Play-Offs, losing to Wigan again.

2001 - Under the guidance of Mark McGhee, Millwall win promotion to the second tier as Division Two champions with 93 points, a club record.

2003 - Ex-England international Dennis Wise becomes caretaker manager after McGhee's departure, eventually becoming permanent player-manager at The Den.

2004 - Wise leads The Lions to the club's first-ever FA Cup Final, with a 1-0 Semi-Final success against Sunderland at Old Trafford on 4th April. Manchester United win the Final 3-0 at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff against an injury-hit Millwall side who are only the second team from outside the top flight to reach the FA Cup Final since 1982. As a result of that Final appearance, The Lions qualify for the 2004/5 UEFA Cup, losing 4-2 on aggregate to Hungarian champions Ferencvaros in the First Round proper.

2007 - After a period of instability on and off the field, American John Berylson leads a takeover of the club, becoming major shareholder and Chairman. His first big decision is to appoint Kenny Jackett as new first team manage.

2009 - On 13th January 2009, Neil Harris scores at Crewe to beat Teddy Sheringham's all-time goalscoring record in his second spell at the club. It was his 112th Millwall goal and he went on to notch 138 in total. Kenny Jackett leads The Lions to the League One Play-Off Final at Wembley where, despite a Gary Alexander wonder goal, they are beaten 3-2 by Scunthorpe United. There are 49,661 Lions fans in attendance – a record from one club at the newly rebuilt national stadium – meaning Millwall hold the record at the old and new Wembley.

2010 - Millwall return to Wembley for the League One Play-Off Final and beat Swindon Town 1-0 thanks to a goal from captain Paul Robinson. Promotion marks an end to a four-year absence from The Championship, known previously as Division One (and prior to that, Division Two).


2012 - The Lions enjoy a 13-game unbeaten run in the League, including a 4-1 victory away at Nottingham Forest which marks Jackett's fifth year at the club.

2013 - Millwall reach the FA Cup Semi-Final, where Wigan Athletic are the opponents. The Latics run out 2-0 winners at a rain-soaked Wembley. A month later, days after The Lions secure Championship survival, Jackett resigns as manager and is replaced by St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas. He leaves the club on Boxing Day, with all-time leading goalscorer Neil Harris and Academy Director Scott Fitzgerald placed in caretaker charge.

2014 - With the club sitting 21st in the table, Ian Holloway is appointed new Millwall manager and successfully leads The Lions to safety, ending the campaign with an eight-game unbeaten run. The positive mood continues at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign, but a season that starts so promisingly takes a dramatic dip leading to Holloway's departure in March 2015. Neil Harris and Dave Livermore are installed on an interim basis and although too late to avoid relegation, the duo are appointed as the new management team on a permanent basis in May.

2016 - Harris and Livermore introduce a number of promising young Academy products into the squad and after a difficult start, the team hits its stride in the New Year to put in a strong challenge for promotion, ultimately finishing in fourth place. Reaching the Play-Off Final after beating Bradford City over two legs, The Lions are pipped by Barnsley in a fourth Wembley appearance in seven years.

2017 - The Lions set up a return to Wembley once more after a 17-match unbeaten run and nine consecutive games without conceding a goal secures a sixth-placed finish in League One and a two-legged Play-Off Semi-Final win over Scunthorpe United. Steve Morison's late winner defeated Bradford City in the Final and promoted Millwall back to The Championship after two seasons away.

2019 - Harris led Millwall to a superb eighth-place finish in the club's first season back in The Championship. The following campaign, 2018/19, was more of a struggle, but The Lions ultimately still secured safety in the division with games to spare. Several new players arrived at The Den in the summer of 2019, but Harris and Livermore departed the club in October and two weeks later, Gary Rowett was named as the new first-team manager.

2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic changes the world in which we live in, as football is halted for three months. The final games of the season are played out in front of empty stadiums.

2021 - Almost the entire 2020/21 campaign is played behind closed doors as The Lions finish 11th in the Sky Bet Championship.

2022 - Gary Rowett's side flirt with the top six in The Championship during the 2021/22 season but unfortunately fall just short, finishing ninth in the League table.

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