Date: 14th June 2024 at 12:58pm
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To date, many Millwall fans and supporters still recall and celebrate the team’s triumph in Wembley on the 29th of May, 2010. Indeed, the 2009/10 League One season was a breakthrough for the club, seeing Millwall promoted to the Championships via play-offs after finishing third place with only one point from the second. Read on as we revisit this unforgettable journey, reliving the key moments, standout performances, and the excitement of Millwall’s Wembley triumph.

Overview of Millwall’s 2009/10 Season

During the 2009/10 season, Millwall celebrated its 125th anniversary. It was the club’s 84th continuous season in the Football League and 41st in the third tier. They had an outstanding outing, winning 24 out of the 42 matches they played in League One, while drawing 13 and losing only 9. This progress saw them finish third in the league table and just a point below second-placed Leeds United. Finishing third, they still had a chance of promotion to the Championships via the play-off semi-final and final.

The Road to Wembley

Millwall faced Huddersfield Town in their play-off semi-final, with the first leg held at the Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield on 15 May 2010. What most thought would be an action-packed game with games turned out not to be, the referee turned down two penalty appeals during play, and the match ended goalless.

The second leg took place three days later at the New Den in London. Going into the game, Millwall were the favourites according to most fast payout sites and to not much surprise, Millwall came out on top. Steve Morison opened the scoring midway through the first half. Scott Barron struck the crossbar before Paul Robinson scored from a corner with eight minutes remaining to make it 2–0. That remained the score and saw Millwall qualify for the final.

The Wembley Final

The weather early that day was cold, and slight showers of rain poured down from the sky. Not something any fan invisions when dreaming about their Wembley day. Typically you are picturing walking down Wembley way with your family and friends, sun shining, flags waving and fans chanting. Whilst this may have put a slight dampener on the visual aspect of the day, the fans were still raring to go. Millwall kicked off the match in cold and wet conditions — but the fans presented a sense of warmth — at around 3 PM on 29th May 2010. Notably, there were 73,108 spectators at Wembley Stadium as the game went underway. Also, Colin Webster was the referee for the play-off Final.

First 45 Minutes

Both teams had early chances of putting themselves before the tie, but they failed to convert. After minutes of intense football, an own-goal header was scored by Swindon’s Kevin Amankwaah. However, the goal was disallowed, as Millwall’s Liam Trotter had been offside in the build-up.

Then Millwall’s Steve Morison shot from a distance, which was blocked by a defending opponent, leaving the ball in an open space with his teammate Paul Robinson, who scored from close range in the 39th minute to make it 1–0 to Millwall. Many fans highlight this as one of the best Millwall goals in history.

As the game continued, Cuthbert’s header from Schofield’s corner fell to Robinson, who struck from close range again. But this time the goalkeeper had the best of him, and the first half ended with Millwall being one goal up. Although Swindon Town had their fair share of chances, they didn’t score.

Second 45 Minutes

The second half of the game started, with Swindon Town having a mountain to climb if they were willing to qualify. Millwall also started strong, and although they were leading at the break, they didn’t resort to defending. Instead, they pushed forward with more powerful attacks.

In the 72nd minute, a through-ball from Robinson sent Charlie Austin clear, but his shot was high over the Millwall crossbar with only the goalkeeper to beat. Austin saw the final chance of the match pushed around the post by Millwall goalkeeper David Forde to ensure the game ended 1–0. Millwall were promoted to the Championship in their first success in the play-offs in six attempts.

Key Players and Their Contributions

After an outstanding performance, the goalscorer Paul Robinson picked up the man of the match title. Other players like David Forbes and Steve Morison also won accolades for their contributions, and they expressed their joy at the triumph through post-match interviews.

At the time, Kenny Jackett, the winning manager, said that his club would “look forward now quickly because we want to compete next season, without a doubt.” However, he also reflected on recent defeats in the playoffs: “I’m so proud to be the first man to lead Millwall to victory at Wembley, and I can’t wait to lead these boys out in the Championship.

Bottom Line — Legacy of the Triumph

The 2009/10 Wembley Triumph was Millwall’s first play-off final victory, one for the history books. Millwall’s next season saw them finish in ninth place in the Championship, just three positions and eight points outside the Championship play-offs. Nevertheless, the players, coach and coaching staff that won on that day at Wembley would be forever remembered in the club’s history for years to come.

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