Meet the opposition | Millwall

15th August 2022
First team
George Saville

As Swansea City prepare to host Millwall at the Stadium for their first midweek home league encounter of the season, we look at the history, form and the key figures for the Lions. 

What's their story? 

Established in 1885 as Millwall Rovers and later renamed Millwall Athletic, the club first played in the Western League.

In 1920 the Lions were invited to join the Football League and changed their name to Millwall, playing at the New Den. 

Millwall’s best league campaign was back in the 1988-89 season when they finished 10th in the top-flight.

During the 2003-04 season they reached the FA Cup final for the first time, suffering defeat to Manchester United in Cardiff but securing European qualification as a result.

The Lions are now in their sixth-consecutive season in the Championship after securing promotion via the play-offs in 2017.

They were firmly in the race for a Championship play-off spot only to fall away towards the end of the season and finish ninth.

How's their form? 

George Honeyman

Millwall started their league campaign on a positive note with a 2-0 victory over Stoke on home turf.

However, they followed that up to with a loss at Sheffield United, while they also exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of Cambridge United.

But they responded in fine fashion after coming from two goals down to beat Coventry 3-2 at the weekend.

Who's the gaffer?

Gary Rowett

Ex-Birmingham, Derby and Everton defender Gary Rowett has been at the helm as head coach at Millwall since October 2019, where he replaced Neil Harris. 

As a player Rowett was a reliable performer in all the teams he played for, amassing 381 league appearances and scoring 21 goals over a 16-year career. 

Rowett moved into management with his final club Burton Albion in 2012. After initially assisting Paul Peschisolido in 2009, he took over the reins and led the club to fourth place in League Two and a place in the play-offs, backing it up the following season with another top six-finish.

Moves to the Championship to manage former clubs Birmingham and Derby County followed, with his fine work at St Andrew’s going unrewarded by the club hierarchy.

He endured a difficult spell at Stoke City, before taking up the reins and doing a fine job at The Den. 

Who's the captain? 

Jake Cooper

Jake Cooper replaces the departing Alex Pearce as club captain this season after his move to AFC Wimbledon, although the towering Bracknell-born centre-half has skippered the side on a number of occasions already over recent seasons.

Cooper has over 250 appearances to his name since joining from Reading and is an effective presence in both boxes.

His consistency and durability were underlined by a run of playing every minute of 136 consecutive league games between August 2018 and December 2020.

Who are the key men? 

Benik Afobe

Last season's top scorer, Benik Afobe will again be the main focal point of the Lions attack. After bagging 12 goals in 38 league games last season on loan from Stoke City, Afobe made his move to the Den permanent in the summer for an undisclosed fee.

The Congo international has a wealth of Championship experience having previously played for a host of clubs in the English second tier, his best season coming in the 2015-16 season for Wolverhampton Wanderers, when he scored 22 goals in 46 appearances. 

Millwall’s 2022-23 player of the season Murray Wallace has been a mainstay in the Lions defence over the last few seasons since joining the club from Scunthorpe United in 2018.

Wallace has appeared in 147 games and scored 11 goals for Gary Rowett’s men, six of which came in his excellent campaign last term. 

After beginning his career at Falkirk, the ex-Scotland under-21 international has had spells at Huddersfield Town, helping them to promotion to the championship in the 2012-13 season, before signing for Scunthorpe, where he became a fans’ favourite picking up their player of the season award in 2017. He moved to Millwall a year later. 

Promising Dutch creative midfielder Zian Flemming arrived at the Den this summer after a couple of stellar seasons in the Dutch Eredivisie with Fortuna Sittard, where he amassed 29 goals in 58 games over his two years at the club.

Those exploits helped earn him a place in the league's team of the 2022-23 season. The ex-Ajax youth prospect will look to fill the creative gap left by the departure of Jed Wallace to West Brom over the summer.