Captain: My God, my god, the horror of it all. We sail into the heart of darkness. 1st Mate: Cap'n! Are you all right? Captain: The abyss! The dark soul of evil. I can hear the sound of lost souls marching. The screams are too terrible for the living to bear. Even when the den of iniquity is empty the anguish of the place sucks out all that is good. We face evil. 1st mate: Cap'n, cap'n.. Do not despair. We are strong. We are the good ship HMS Pisstheleague. If Drake could circumcise the world with a 100 foot clipper; if Sir Richard Grenville could hold off the might of Spain at the Battle of Flores; if our troops could invent mayonnaise in their spare time during the Siege of Minorca, we can do anything. Bermondsey shouldn’t be a problem. Captain: What are you talking about, Number One? I am referring to our traitorous ranks. There is rumour of an HMS Pistheplayoffs being launched. I will not have it. Playoffs are for losers who like to say that they have been to Wembley. They may be all right for the likes of Harrogate Town or Fulham but they are not for us. Millwall think that coming 6th is a success! We want glory, proper glory, real glory, not the fake euphoria of a one-off serotonin rush. Coming third, or sixth, and winning against another bunch of losers to be graciously allowed entry into the plaything of the Club of Six disgusts me. You talk of naval battles, Number One. I note you only talk of ones that we lost and it was a 100 foot galleon, not a clipper. Clippers are for tea. We want victory, not tea. We will batter down the doors holding us from crossing the rivers of Babylon to the Promised Land. If the Gang of Six want to avoid us they will have to set up a new league. 1st Mate: Yea! Hallelujah Cap’n! But to do that we still have to go to Bermondsey on a Tuesday night. That is still an unpleasant place. As the Psalm 137 says: By the rivers of the old Thames, there we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Watford. We hanged our scarves upon the smoggy grime in the midst thereof For there they that carried us away required of us a song; And they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Watford. Good job we have Daniel in the Den. Now, along the south bank of the Thames in Bermondsey you will find roving bands of people, who think that they are upwardly mobile, pretending that they can tell the difference between a Pavie Macquin 2016 and a Sinfonia Tempranillo. Even when they can tell the difference they usually prefer the Sinfonia. Captain: I didn’t realise that you were a connoisseur of wine, Number One. 1st Mate: Oh! I’ve been following the career of Gary Rowlett for years. Him and Neil Warnock. Captain: Set a course for the Thames, Number One, but be careful. We aren’t going to the poncy parts of Bermondsey with your wine drinking wannabees. We are going to places that are mentioned in whispers to scare children. 1st Mate: Millwall used to be known as the Dockers, sir, because of the number of those thieving bastards who supported them. Many of their early players came from Dundee and worked for Morgan’s canning factory, which is why they play in navy blue shirts because those are the colours of Scotland. That explains why they have never achieved much. They were north of the river then, before they crossed to the other side. Captain: True, Number One. Remember, Millwall want to be loved. The fact that their fans sing “Nobody likes us, We don’t care.” Shows you that they really do care. They wouldn’t sing a song about it otherwise. But what they want and what they get can be very different, especially when they are about as lovable as a hedgehog in the road after a lorry has passed by. We have tried to civilise them. We have sent our missionaries to lighten their heathen darkness – Kenny Jackett was there for six years. Past Hornets who have been their player of the season include Darren Ward and Danny Shittu. Other players have been Hameur Bouazza; Lucas Neill (who played a few minutes for us); Paul Ifill was rejected by our youth set up but played for them over 200 times; Paul Jones was on loan to us and to them; Malcolm Allen; Harry Kane was with us for six weeks before he went to Spurs who later loaned him to Millwall. Apart from Kenny I don’t think that we have tried hard enough to civilise them. Still in the last 16 league games we have played against them we have won 14 and drawn once but they have won more since we started playing them in Football League in 1920. Our biggest ever away win was against this lot until we did the same against Leeds. 1st Mate: Do you think that we can do that again, sir? Captain: Not likely, Number One. I may be captain of HMS Pisstheleague but generally we have only been ******* down our legs on our voyages so far. I have half a mind to hold back the rum ration. In Millwall’s last 17 league games they have won twice and drawn eight, including against the Muff, Norwich and Reading. Last time out they beat Huddersfield away, which is more than we could do. They’ve only won once at their place all season. That was against the Scum so we’ll give them that one. They have drawn seven, though. Their home record is: W1 D7 L3 9-12 10pts. Our away record is: W3 D5 L4 7-9 14pts. It doesn’t look good but don’t let what seems obvious fool you. We beat Stoke, as I said we would. 1st Mate: What did we learn from the Stoke game, sir? Captain: A number of things, Number One. First, the recycling depot is Stoke is much better than I assumed. They did a very good job with Deeney. Second, there is more similarity between the Bet365 stadium and the Copacabana than I realised. Joao Pedro was shimmying well. Perhaps he is more used to Ipanema, next door. Third, our dance master knows how to change things when the dancing is flat and boring. The first half was like dancing with your wife, Number One, the second half was like dancing with mine. 1st Mate: But Captain we have to beat this lot. How are we going to piss the league, otherwise? I am still filled with fear, Sir. Captain: Win at home, draw away. That is the motto, Number One. We are averaging over one point for every away game. We still need to make up five points we have dropped at home. Beating the lions in their den will reduce that to three. 1st Mate: Who should we watch sir. You always tell us who we should watch. Captain: Watch the referee. He will send off Deeney. That will give us fire, which will not harm us just as it didn’t harm Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon. We then have Daniel in goal who will close the mouth of the Lion. It is written, Number One. 1st Mate: That would be some midfield, sir - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Captain: They are past it now. Asking for them would be like asking for a midfield of Abdi, Forestieri and Tőzsér, though those three had more style. Still Hughes, Cleverley and Chalobah are equal to anything seen in Babylon. Have you seen the Babylon supporters, Number One? They rely on lions and we know how to master those especially in a den. They may have rested many of their players in the cup to be ready for this game but it will do them no good. We are used to the rocking and rolling of this good ship. The book of Daniel tells us that the unrighteous will be destroyed and so it will be at the Den. They can rest the great serpent himself so he can play in this game but they will fail. Dark hearts emits no light. Our Golden Boys shine brightly. 1st Mate: You are getting carried away again, Cap’n. Let’s hope that the grey that emits no light will continue to be rested. It is hard to tell who will rest and who will dance. We need to maintain the drying out of the ‘ammocks. One bad experience and they will be as sodden as before. Let’s just hope it is not with Thames water. He who drinks the water of the Thames drinks no more, particularly on the dark side. Captain: Whilst all this is true we cannot take it for granted. Evil will always look for a small fault in the righteous. Jed Wallace and Jake Cooper are their best players. I thought Wallace had been hanged, drawn and quartered but apparently he is their top scorer with six, three of those being penalties. Bloody Millwall and their necromantic Scots though this one claims to be English. With a name like that he is clearly Norman. 1st Mate: How can we piss them off, sir? Captain: The first thing we can do is kneel. The next thing is to make them grovel, just as Daniel did to Nebuchadnezzar. All the lions in front of Daniel will have feet of clay. That will upset them as we ping balls around them. We are ascending the Stairway to Heaven, Number One. We will be so good that they will revel in the fact that they have been allowed on the same pitch as us. Onward, Number One. Ready the crew. We sail once more.