Former Millwall man Alex Rae has revealed how close he once was to becoming Lions manager – and admitted that he’d love to see the current side to get promoted to the Premier League for the very first time.
The Scotsman opens up on how he met Chairman John Berylson back in 2007, although the American eventually opted to employ popular figure Kenny Jackett instead.
Rae had previously enjoyed a highly successful period as a player at The Den and despite leaving almost 25 years ago, his affiliation with the club is clear to see – with the 50-year-old revealing how he still checks on results.
He reached the play-offs twice during his six-years in SE16, but Rae never won promotion to the Premier League with Millwall and he’s urging Gary Rowett’s men to go one better once the season gets back underway.
Rae told the South London Press: ““When I was managing Dundee, I was really close to getting the job at Millwall.
“I met with John Berylson, and spent three hours chatting football with him. He ended up going with Kenny Jackett, which was probably the right idea as they had a good time under him.
“I keep an eye on the results while I’m on my show [Clyde Superscoreboard] in Scotland, 100 per cent. When you play for a club for six years and have a good relationship with the fans, it’s hard not to hold them dear.
“Millwall have had a brilliant season – the other presenters are fed up of me celebrating goals that mean nothing to them.
“The team have a good spirit and a really strong backbone, with Shaun Hutchinson and Jake Cooper. I know Shaun Williams from when I was at MK Dons, and he’s a great type.
“It’s just about hitting form at the right time now. I got to the play-offs five times as a player – four times I finished third, and never got promoted. The one year I finished sixth, we got promoted.
“From my experience, the teams in third and fourth can be a bit deflated about missing out on the automatic places, whereas the side in sixth comes in with momentum.
“You never know, Millwall could hit their stride just at the right time. I would absolutely love them to get promoted.”
“It was one of the big disappointments for me, that I never managed to go up with Millwall. When I joined, it wasn’t a difficult decision at all to sign. It was a brilliant squad, with the likes of [Teddy] Sheringham, [Jimmy] Carter, and [Les] Briley, and as a young lad I had always wanted to give England a stab.
“My first season we lost to Brighton home and away in the play-offs, having beaten them in the regular season, and then we went close a few years later.
“I had six good years at Millwall, and the relegation in 1996 was obviously the low point. I couldn’t believe it.
“We were top in December, and we signed Sergei Yuran and Vasili Kulkov in January. They were on fortunes, and I felt the whole complexion of the club changed – we didn’t adapt to players coming in on huge money, and those signings didn’t help us at all.
“To leave the club after getting relegated didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t like the way it all panned out in such a disappointing way, especially having missed the last couple of matches through suspension.
“It’s a brilliant club, I loved my time there, and they gave me the opportunity to play a good level of football in England.”
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