At the end of the 1989 Old Division 1 season, the top flight of the English pyramid at the time, Millwall finished 20th in the table and suffered relegation to the second tier. Just a couple of seasons later, the Premier League surged into its first-ever season.
If only the Lions could have held onto their top-flight status for two further seasons than they did, they would have been a Premier League team. They would have joined the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the inaugural EPL season.
Millwall’s dream of reaching the EPL has remained out of touch. Since the Lions returned to the Championship in 2017, they have recorded a finish in the top half of the season in five of their six campaigns. But a push for a place among England’s elite looks like it needs a bigger push.
However, some Millwall players have managed to reach the summit. Some have gone straight from The Den to the Premier League. Here are the top five:
Tim Cahill – Everton
The Australian midfielder made more than 200 Premier League appearances for Everton. That was following a move from Millwall for a fee of €2.20m in the summer of 2004. Cahill was a dynamic midfielder, known for getting goals from his attacking role in the centre of the park.
Later in his career, Cahill did re-sign for the Lions in 2018 from Melbourne and made ten appearances for them. In total, Cahill played one game more for Millwall than he did for Everton. Given the high profile of Cahill’s career and the focus that the likes of Everton get at major bookmakers rated on the page https://match.center/ie/ or on other similar websites, Cahill tops the list.
Steven Reid – Blackburn Rovers
Irish international Steven Reid, who earned 23 caps for his country, made the jump from Millwall straight to the Premier League. He joined Blackburn for €3.60m fee in the summer of 2003.
The midfielder/full-back spent seven seasons with the club in the top flight, including playing half a match against Arsenal with a broken leg. Reid’s playing time dwindled severely over the second half of his spell at Ewood Park.
Overall, Reid’s had a career hampered by injury. He would later return to the top flight with West Brom and briefly Burnley before retirement.
Kasey Keller – Leicester City
US keeper Kelsey Keller joined the Premier League 200 club for appearances. Keller jumped straight from the First Division with Millwall to Leicester City up in the top flight. He spent three seasons with the Foxes playing at least 30 games in each of those Premier League campaigns before he moved to Spain to join Rayo Vallecano. Keller returned to the English top flight for a spell with Tottenham, and also appeared for Fulham and Southampton.
Ben Thatcher – Wimbledon
Fullback Ben Thatcher, who earned seven caps for Wales and who was the Millwall Player of the Year: 1995–96, made the move to the Premier League when he joined Wimbledon in 1996. Thatcher would go on to make a higher-profile move from the Dons to Tottenham for more than €7m in 2003.
Steve Morison – Norwich City
Morison made the move from Millwall to Norwich for €3.15m in 2011, as the Canaries looked to solidify their place in the top flight. The Canaries did stay up, but Morison didn’t stick around during the following season and moved back to the Championship to join Leeds. Morison did make his way back to Millwall, playing five seasons at The Den after leaving Elland Road.
This is an Honorary Mention, as Teddy Sheringham would have been at the top of this list. But the former England international moved from Millwall to Nottingham Forest for the 1991-92 season at a €1.65m fee.
That was the season before the Premier League started, but Sheringham did take part in the inaugural EPL campaign, making three appearances for Forest. He then made the move to Tottenham during the opening month and went on to finish as the inaugural Premier League top goalscorer.
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