If I’m honest, I thought this would be the one when the wheels fell off. In an already extraordinary couple of weeks, off the back of an extraordinary 8-9 months, everything about the Millwall game was, well, even more extraordinary. I thought that, temporarily at least, the sheer force and velocity of our development and trajectory would blow us to bits. In the same way that a Formula 1 racing car is the most powerful, expensive, high performing car in the world but has tyres that last less than 40 miles, I thought this would be the point at which we’d be destroyed by our own power.
Four days after beating Swansea and becoming media darlings, on a Thursday, two games from Wembley, away to a League 1 team; I thought the frailties that have caused these players to drop into League 2, which have been so hidden all season, would show just enough for Millwall to exploit. Surely at some point tiredness; mental, technical and physical, would kick in.
But, and I am running out of ways of describing us at the moment, we were brilliant. Again. To have expectations heightened to the level they were and then meet and exceed them is mind blowing. And the fact it’s us is more astonishing still. It’s not just the application and heart, it’s the craft and creativity. It’s where we were this time last year and where we are now. And, and, AND, it’s the way we’re doing it; there’s no billionaire investment, these aren’t players lured to the club by endless riches. We’re not, in short, financially doped.
But also, this isn’t just about the result, this might just be about keeping the squad together. When Roofe’s first goal went in, I could see him leaving in the next three weeks, when the second one did, I changed my mind. Roofe, O’Dowda, Lundstram et al now have something beyond the transfer window to work towards; the opportunity to play at Wembley. They won’t get that by moving up the divisions. That and the opportunity to progress in the FA Cup, and promotion, and to do all this together as a squad. They will become club legends.
Moves to bigger clubs and the riches that come with it might well be in their future, maybe even this summer if they keep this up, why the hell would you want to move now?