BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Steve Morison reckons Millwall staying in the Championship this season was a “minor miracle” – especially with some of the off-the-field issues the Lions management team had to deal with.
And the veteran striker does not sugar-coat his words when he talks about any expectations that had been placed on the Lions after their eighth-place finish in their first campaign back in the second tier.
This time around Millwall only clinched safety with two matches to go and ended in 21st place.
The Lions’ banked 72 points in the 2017-18 season – only three behind sixth-placed Derby County. They were 28 points off that total as they managed to finish above Rotherham, Bolton Wanderers and Ipswich Town.
“I look back at this season and it has been a tough slog for everybody at the football club,” said Morison, 35. “But we had one goal at the start of the season and that was to stay up. We have done it.
“Excuse my French, but people need to get their heads out of their arses and realise we have got the second-worst budget in the league. We have had 20 players to use this season, at times we have only had 18.
“We had unbelievable luck last year [2017-18]. People thinking we were going to do it again or eclipse that were absolutely deluded.
“Don’t get me wrong, we wanted to finish higher up the league than we have. But we have stayed up on merit. The tables doesn’t lie.
“As the manager has alluded to, there has been a lot of crap going on this year. What I would say is it is a minor miracle we have stayed up.
“For every single player in the dressing room it will be the biggest learning curve of their career. Everything I’ve seen this season will definitely stand me in good stead going forward in the future.
“If the manager gets the opportunity to do what he wants to do – clear out who he wants to clear out and bring in who he wants to bring in – then we can only be better than the way we survived this year.
“The only way it gets worse is if we go into the season with a lesser squad than we had this season. I’ve got no doubt the manager and board will not allow that to happen.”
Morison is not ready to dish the dirt on what he witnessed this season.
“If I said certain things then peoples’ careers would be over,” he responded. “The manager alluded to it. It hasn’t all been plain-sailing this year. He has had a lot to deal with, more off the pitch than on it.
“The manager has been very clear on his thoughts about it. I’m sure he will get it right this summer and I’m sure the club will be better next year.
“I’m sure the manager will be saying the same – get to 50 points next season and build from there, try to stay in the league every year, progress and get a little bit stronger and better.
“You have to take the positives out of the season. We wanted to stay up and got to 44 points, and that would have kept us in the league in four of the last five seasons.
“We did it our way and it was always in our hands. We were in control of our destiny. It’s maybe not been as doom and gloom as people think it has been.”