The last game before the international break, a 3-1 loss at the hands of Bolton, may not have had many positives to come out of it, but there was at least one –
This game was goalkeeper David Forde’s 250th appearance for the club, in modern day football, especially with players not coming through the club’s academy and in lower league football, how many players do you see reach 250 games for one club? Not many.
Especially the type of club Millwall is, if you’re half decent you will most likely be gone by the time the first offer comes in from a bigger club.
Fordey signed in 2008 after impressing on loan at Bournemouth (where he saved a Neil Harris penalty against Millwall). The Irishman became a hero only five games into the season when he saved a last minute penalty against Huddersfield to secure three points for the Lions.
He continued to grow and progress as the Lions found themselves in the play-offs that year, and this is where we find Fordey’s finest moment in a Millwall shirt.
Imagine the scene: 1-0 up on aggregate against Leeds in the Play-Offs, half way through the second game at Elland Road and Leeds get a penalty. A capacity home crowd wait in anticipation for Jermaine Beckford to score yet another goal, not this time… Fordey saves. We may have lost at the hands of Scunthorpe in the final but he will always be remembered for that save.
The next season Forde was one of the main stars in the side as the Lions went one better and won at Wembley. Forde went from being left in the footballing wilderness to a Championship ‘keeper in two years.
It was all just about whether Forde could make the step up and in the first season he did. Yes he had his faults such as his distribution, and at times he’s like a hyper child coming out of goal, but he was good enough, as the Lions narrowly missed out on the play-offs.
The next season became a real struggle for the Galway born goalkeeper. He struggled badly, and a string of bad decisions and mistakes meant that he was dropped, and rightly so. He was replaced by the experienced Maik Taylor.
At this point he could’ve just cut his loses and moved on. But he stayed in the summer and fought for his place, plus despite his bad form he was Ireland’s number one at Euro 2012. So he could’ve had a number if clubs come in for him.
But he stayed, and with the help of new goalkeeping coach Kevin Pressman he soon became the first choice again, and without doubt one of the finest goalkeepers in the division.
Forde is now into the last few months of his contract, and he’s one of the only players I wouldn’t begrudge if he decided to move on, with his age and position he deserves one last chance of a bigger club and a big payday. Maybe somewhere like a Norwich or an Aston Villa, and now rumoured interest from Celtic too…
If I was him, I wouldn’t stay here, but for our sake lets hope he does…