Millwall’s Championship survival is worth £7million more than if they dropped back into League One

Millwall Chief Executive Steve Kavanagh - Pic from PA
By Richard Cawley

Millwall’s blistering form in February might have opened up the possibility of a late shot at the Championship play-offs – but consolidation in English football’s second tier is worth £7million.

That is the difference in income between League One and Championship football.

The Lions are joint second with Fulham in terms of points banked this month – 14 – with only Cardiff City (16) totalling more. It has left the possibility of back-to-back promotions.

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh admitted the club’s number one priority this season was to ensure they stayed up.

“We know the difference in money is in the millions but it is much more than just about the financial numbers,” he said. “We have had fantastic days out at Reading and Aston Villa where we have performed really well.

“Our fans have turned out in huge numbers to support the team. These are the clubs we aspired to be playing against and now we are competing and winning.

“It is about the development of the club and driving it forwards. Yes, money is important. But what is important to players, fans and for the chairman is being one one step away from having a fantastic season and suddenly finding yourself in the Premier League. That is vital to us.

“League One, with all due respect, is playing on pitches like we had at Rochdale and not having that aspiration of what the Championship is.

“We want to be in the Championship, as a minimum.”

There was criticism after Millwall’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Dale. But Keith Hill’s side went close to knocking Tottenham out of the tournament, a 2-2 draw at the Crown Oil Arena earning a return at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night.

“We put out a team there which was more than capable of winning the game,” said Kavanagh. “Rochdale showed against Tottenham that they are a really good side.

“We took out some major names the season before. We didn’t go out to lose that game, by any stretch of the imagination. Of course we wanted to win it.

“But if we had done then would we have taken nine points out of nine? Highly unlikely.”