Born in Ireland, but raised in north London, Alan Dunne is a Millwall legend.
The defender spent 23 years at the Lions, amassing 389 appearances for the club – whilst also picking up the record amount of red cards for the side.
Dunne’s style of play and nature epitomised everything Millwall stand for – grit, determination and steel – he wore his heart on his sleeve every week.
FLW Chief Editor Sam Rourke caught up with Dunne, who is now plying his trade at National League side Bromley as a player/coach…..
First of all, how’s life in the National League with Bromley?
I joined in January of last year, I was at Leyton Orient for a year, left there and I was invited in to be a player/coach at Non-League Bromley and i’ve absolutely loved it.
Since then, we’ve finished in the highest ever position in the league, finishing tenth last year and we’re currently only three or four points off the top three.
I’m really enjoying it, i’m getting to coach, I’m 35 now, I’m in a good position. I’ve done my coaching badges and i’m getting to do work with the first-team and i’m always learning.
It’s a good team I work for, it’s a good league, i’m very happy, really happy.
How have you found the standard of football in the National League?
It’s really kicked on, it’s like a league three – You’ve got teams like Tranmere, Dagenham and Sutton in there.
I’ve played in League Two and the top eight sides in this league would give any League Two side a game, and it’s the same with the bottom half of League Two, there really isn’t much difference.
I think the standard has improved, you now see a lot of Football League players drop down to play in the National League.
Being a Millwall legend, what have you made of Millwall’s season so far?
The Championship is a very tough league, I know every league is tough, but the Championship is extremely tough.
There is a gulf between the likes of Wolves and Middlesbrough with Millwall, Millwall just don’t have the same money compared to them.
Millwall have recruited well and Neil’s done a great job – He’s a brilliant man-to-man manager and he’s got the boys playing for him and there is an amazing team spirit with them.
A few personal questions now Alan, what has been the best moment of your career?
Me being at Millwall since the age of 10 and being granted a testimonial for the services I did for the club.
For the whole day to be about me, it was fantastic.
Also, my first trip to Wembley, obviously we beat Leeds in the semi-final up at Elland Road in front of a huge crowd, and to get to the New Wembley for the first time, it was something i’ll never forget.
What has been the lowest moment of your career?
Missing out on the FA Cup final, I did my Medial six weeks before and gettign back fit just before it, but I was told I wasn’t playing.
Wisey was struggling and he was going to come off after 15-20 minutes in the FA Cup Final, and he managed to play 60 minutes and then we were 3-0 down by that point, so the gaffer brought on a young player to give him his debut.
I never got to get on, and it hurt me, I had one chance to play in an FA Cup final and the whole build up in training i was involved and hoping to play, but it didn’t happen.
I saw a little snippet of your autobiography… Can you explain more about what happened when you were caught posing with a naked model holding a plate of toast?
I was 15, so a young, stupid boy who didn’t really know what I was doing.
It was when Theo Paphitis started charging for players’ breakfast, so there was a big thing in the news about it.
So the Daily Sport newspaper wanted to come down to do an interview with the club, and the club basically told them to ‘f..k off’ and obviously I didn’t know that.
So when I was coming out of training with a few lads, there was a man standing there with a woman, and they said to me do you want to do an interview and take a photograph.
So we said yeah no problem, the woman was holding a plate of toast and said if you lads can stand either side, so I was like yeah okay, i’ll get in there for a photo, no problem.
As he’s gone to take the photo, she’s dropped her coat, and she’s stark ‘b…..k’ naked!
Next morning, I wake up and a mate says to me have you seen the Daily Sport, I wan down the shop expecting it to be a small article, we had the middle page spread, double page!
It’s fair to say I got into some right trouble with the manager!
Few more questions, who has been the best manager you’ve ever worked with?
Kenny Jackett for me.
I was going off track at one point and he gave me the wake up call I needed.
I learnt a lot from him, his man management skills, his tactical skills – he was a student of the game and was obsessed with winning football games, and that rubbed off on me.
His passion and will to succeed brought out something out of me.
He was like a father to me.
Two more questions Alan, was there a footballer you looked up to as a kid?
I grew up in Highbury so my first games I ever went to were watching Arsenal at Highbury, and i used to go and watch Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams – All the old Arsenal boys in that squad.
I used to kick a ball against the back of the Highbury Stadium, so it was them boys I looked up to.
Would you ever be interested in returning to Millwall in a coaching role in the future?
Of course, i’ve got goals in life, I did everything I possibly could at Millwall, won player of the year, had a testimonial, most sent off player at Millwall! Had promotions with Millwall, FA Cup final with Millwall, I’ve done everything there.
I want to be a coach at Millwall and then one day manage Millwall, they are my goals I have in life.