Date: 30th September 2010 at 9:55am
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As we celebrate Millwall’s 125th year, we look at a significant player from each decade who has been part of the history of Millwall FC.

In the early 1880’s a group of young lads from Scotland came to London to find work.
They found employment at Morton’s jam factory in the West Ferry Road on the Isle of Dog’s and within a few years had formed Millwall Rovers.

On Saturday 3rd October 1885 Millwall Rovers played their first ever game which they lost 5-0 against Fillebrook

As we celebrate Millwall’s 125th year, we look at a significant player from each decade who has been part of the history of Millwall FC.

1960’s Harry Cripps

‘Arry Boy was born in Dereham on 29th April 1941

Although Initially on the books of Millwall’s bitter rivals West Ham, if ever a player came to personify the football club he represented then that man was Harry Cripps.

He was signed on 12th June 1960, aged 19, without having broken into the first team at Upton Park.

He was limited to three first-team appearances in 1961-62 but captained the Reserves side that reached the London Challenge Cup Final, scoring Millwall’s goal in their 3-1 defeat by Arsenal’s first team.
After the big freeze of 1963, Cripps got into the first team after an injury to Johnny Gilchrist and made the left-back position his own
for the rest of the season. He played a major role in Millwall’s successive promotion seasons of 1964-65 and 1965-66, helping The Lions back to Division Two after an absence of 18 seasons.

He missed only eight games in the unbeaten home run of 59 League
matches. Cripps was the ultimate in what Millwall fans want in a player, solidly built, almost square, with broad shoulders, broad beamed and thick, somewhat heavy legs, Cripps was neither quick nor athletic, but he was a fearless tackler who gave 100 per cent in every game and a full-back who was always looking for goals.

His cult status with the supporters no doubt helped Cripps in his efforts to subdue visiting wingers at the Den. ‘Harry, Harry, break us a leg. A yard above the knee,’ was a popular chant on the terraces when Cripps was playing.

A young Francis Lee is reckoned to have listened to the roar greeting Cripps’ entry to the pitch and informed the sturdy defender ‘I’ll be keeping out of your way,’ before trotting over to a safer looking part of the field.

He captained the team by example and will always be a legend at The Den. At the end of his 14 seasons at Millwall, Cripps had beaten the long-standing record of 321 Football League appearances set by Jim Forsyth, taking that figure to 400,including ten as substitute.

He was transferred to Charlton Athletic in October 1974 and played 19 games as Charlton won promotion from the Third Division. Later
he was assistant manager at The Valley, likewise at Barking and
Southend. He was also a coach in the contrasting environment of Winchester College, an elite fee-paying school.

Once he retired from football he became a financial advisor for a while.

Harry sadly died of a heart attack on 29th December 1995, aged 52.

Harry Cripps (1960-1974)

Millwall career (competitive games only)

Football League: 390 (10) appearances – 37 goals
FA Cup: 20 (1) appearances – 1 goal
Other Competitions: 3 appearances – 1 goal

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