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The Den

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Covid-19
Public transit  South Bermondsey
Surface  Fibresand grass
Capacity  20,146
The Den
Former names  The New Den Senegal Fields The New London Stadium
Location  Bermondsey London, SE16 England
Field size  106 x 68 m (344 × 223 ft)

The Den (previously The New Den) is a football stadium in Bermondsey, south-east London, and the home of Millwall Football Club. It is situated adjacent to the South London railway line originating at London Bridge, and a quarter-of-a-mile from The Old Den, which it replaced in 1993. Built on a previous site of housing, a church and the Senegal Fields playgrounds, it has an all-seated capacity of 20,146, with the highest match attendance during the 2015–16 season being 16,301.

Contents

The Den is the sixth ground that Millwall have occupied since their formation in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in 1885.

History

The New Den, as it was initially known to distinguish it from its predecessor, was the first new all-seater stadium in England to be completed after the Taylor Report on the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. It was designed with effective crowd management in mind (particularly given Millwall's crowd problems at The Old Den), with the escape routes being short and direct. After chairman Reg Burr decided that it would not be viable to redevelop The Old Den as an all-seater stadium, he announced in 1990 that the club would relocate to a new stadium in the Senegal Fields area in south Bermondsey. Originally, it was planned to have a seating capacity of between 25,000 and 30,000, however, the club opted to wait so the capacity was kept to just over 20,000.

Millwall played their final game at The Old Den on 8 May 1993 after 83 years and then moved to the new stadium a quarter-of-a-mile away from Cold Blow Lane. The £16 million New Den was opened by John Smith, the leader of the Labour Party and of the Opposition at the time, on 4 August 1993 prior to a prestigious friendly against Sporting Portugal, which Sporting won 2–1. The Den was the first new stadium constructed for a professional football team in London since 1937.

Millwall have experienced mixed fortunes since relocating to The Den. Their first season at the stadium (1993–94) saw them finish third in Division Two—their highest finish since relegation from the top flight four years earlier. However, their dreams of Premier League football were ended by a defeat in the playoffs and they were relegated to Division Three in 1996, not winning promotion from that level until 2001. They came close to reaching the Premier League again in 2002, finishing fourth but once again losing in the playoffs. The Lions reached the FA Cup final for the first time in 2004, and despite a 3–0 defeat by Manchester United they qualified for a European competition for the first time in their history.

In September 2016 Lewisham Council approved a compulsory purchase order of land surrounding The Den rented by Millwall, as part of a major redevelopment of the "New Bermondsey" area. The plans are controversial because the developer, Renewal, is controlled by offshore companies with unclear ownership, and is seen by the club and local community to be profiteering by demolishing existing homes and businesses as well as Millwall's car-park & the highly acclaimed and well recognised Millwall Community Trust - to build up to 2,400 new private homes, with no council housing and less than 15% of 'affordable housing'. Millwall had submitted their own plans for regeneration centred around the football club itself, but the council voted in favour of Renewal's plans.

In December 2016 Private Eye reported how Renewal had been founded by a former Lewisham Council leader and senior officer, suggesting potential bias, and that the decision to approve Renewal's plans may have been made as long ago as 2013 despite the fact that no due diligence had been able to be carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers due to "poor" and "limited" access to information and management at Renewal, which is registered in the Isle of Man.

Stands

On 20 January 2011 the east stand of The Den was renamed as the Dockers Stand, paying tribute to Millwall's earlier history and supporter-base of Thames dockers. The south stand is known as the Cold Blow Lane stand, which was the name of the road which led into The Old Den. The north stand is for visiting supporters and the west stand was renamed the Barry Kitchener stand, named after Millwall's longest serving player. It houses Millwall's family enclosure, press box and executive seats.

International matches and other events

In 1994, a boxing match was held at The Den. Local boy Michael Bentt lost his WBO World Heavyweight Championship to Herbie Hide. The fight was Bentt's last after being rushed to the hospital and told he could never fight again, after suffering brain injuries in the loss. On 1 May 2006, The Den hosted the FA Women's Cup Final between Arsenal L.F.C. and Leeds United L.F.C.. Arsenal Ladies won the Cup 5–0. Three international matches have been hosted at The Den. Ghana 1–1 Senegal (21 August 2007), Jamaica 0–0 Nigeria (11 February 2009) and Australia 3–4 Ecuador (5 March 2014). Former Millwall player Tim Cahill scored two of Australia's goals, becoming the country's all-time top scorer. On September 5, 2015, the ground hosted Rugby League as Wigan Warriors defeated the Catalans Dragons 42-16 in a Super League Super 8s match in front of a crowd of 8,101.

Celebrity Soccer Sixes

The Den hosted the Samaritans Celebrity Soccer Sixes on 18 May 2008. Film and Television stars played at The Den, the first time the event has not been hosted by a Premier League Club. Babyshambles failed to retain the trophy, losing 3-2 to dance act Faithless. The winners of the women's trophy were Cansei de Ser Sexy. Around 150 celebrities took part including McFly, Tony Hadley, Amy Winehouse and ex-Millwall fan favourite Terry Hurlock to raise money for the charity.

In drama

The Den doubles as The Dragon's Lair, home ground of Harchester United in the TV series Dream Team. It also appeared in an episode of the ITV show Primeval. The Base is often used by the TV and film industries. It was used to film an episode of The Bill during the home game against Leyton Orient in March 2008 (aired on ITV in June 2008). Sportswear giant Nike filmed their Take It To The Next Level advertistment over a period of three days and nights at The Den, also in March 2008. In 2010, Kit Kat made their own 'Cross your Fingers' advert using clips from Arsenal, West Ham, Oxford United and also Millwall's Den.

Transport and access

The Den is served by the National Rail station South Bermondsey, which is a five-minute walk away from the ground. Away supporters have their own walkway link, which is available to them on match days. There are no official car parking facilities for supporters. The P12 bus stops closest to the ground in Ilderton Road, just a two-minute walk away. The 21, 53 and 172 buses all stop on the Old Kent Road, a ten-minute walk away from the ground. The closest tube station to The Den is Canada Water (on the Jubilee line), which is a 20-minute walk away. The former East London Line stations of Surrey Quays and New Cross Gate (now part of London Overground) both are a 15-minute walk from the stadium. The New Bermondsey railway station, a London Overground line adjacent to the Den, is currently under construction, with 1/3 already being complete. Work will begin again by the end of 2015.

The Quietway 1 cycle route runs around South Bermondsey station and past the Den. However, the route is closed and diverted in the vicinity of the stadium on Millwall match days.

References

The Den Wikipedia


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