26th November, this year, is an important date in the history of Millwall Football Club. On that date 50 years ago, Millwall after beating Carlisle United set a new league record by going 56 games at home unbeaten. They broke the record of 55 which had been set by Reading in January 1936.
In the 1963/64 season Millwall was relegated to the old 4th division on the 20th April 1964 in their last home game of the season, when they played Bristol City and lost 1-0. The Millwall team that lost was Stepney, Gilchrist, John, Jones D, Leedham, Wilson, Senior, Whitehouse, Terry, Townsend, Gray B (Player/Manager).
On the final whistle the players just trudged off back to the dressing room. You had the normal pitch invasion which took place after every home game. Yet no players were abused. There was no demonstration demanding the manager be sacked. No protest took place wanting the board out. Unimaginable today but the world of football was very different then. Not just at Millwall but football in general.
If someone had said to supporters, as they were leaving the Den on that day, that they would not see the Lions beaten at home in the League until 14th January 1967; and there would be 2 successive promotions from the 4th to the 2nd Division; they would have wondered “if you were in orbit around reality”.
The Manager who was responsible for this success was Billy Gray! He was let down by the board when the team was on the verge of promotion in the previous season to the 2nd division and thus he resigned. Although, he agreed to wait until promotion was confirmed before he left.
In my opinion Billy Gray was let down by this club and was never given recognition and credit he so fully deserved.
This Saturday, 27th August, is the 50th anniversary of Millwall’s first league game back in Division 2. Our first game was against Local neighbours in South East London, Charlton Athletic who were looking to beat us but the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
It is worth pointing out in the previous 2 seasons at home and before playing Charlton on 27th August 1966. The Lions had scored 52 goals and only conceded 28.
Happy memories indeed