Two of football’s biggest Men United supporters are set to compete in an important early season clash. Men United reporter and York City super fan, Dan Pentland, caught up with Lions manager Neil Harris ahead of Saturday’s match to recall an exciting Football League Play Off Final featuring Scunthorpe United and Millwall FC.
Scunthorpe United rebuilt their squad over the summer including a very special signing that made big headlines throughout The Football League. The club agreed to join forces with Prostate Cancer UK and join a movement of men determined to win the fight against prostate cancer, a disease which affects 1 in 8 men within their lifetime.
The Iron agreed to wear the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their home and away shirts for the 2015/2016 season to help raise awareness of both the disease and the support available from the charity.
On Saturday 22 August, Lincolnshire's finest welcome Millwall FC – the first Football League club to show their support by donating their shirt sponsorship to Prostate Cancer UK – to Glanford Park. Scunthorpe's manager, Neil 'Chopper' Harris, is a true legend of the club and I recently caught up with him to hear his thoughts on the 2009 League 1 Play Off Final, when the two clubs met.
“Playing at Wembley is something that every young footballer dreams of,” said Harris. “So to have had that opportunity, appearing for Millwall, was a huge honour and one of the proudest moments of my career as a player.”
Scunthorpe United’s Matt Sparrow scored an early goal before a quick fire double from Harris’ strike partner Gary Alexander gave Millwall a 2-1 half time lead.
“Gary worked ever so hard every time he played. He must have been a nightmare for defenders to play against but for me, as someone who played alongside him, he was great because he would keep the back line occupied, which would in turn create space that others could take advantage of. He was naturally very strong, good in the air and was a great finisher” said Harris.
After the interval, Scunthorpe United turned the match on its head as Martyn Woolford crossed for Sparrow to net his second goal before Woolford (who later spent two and a half years at Millwall) capped a superb performance with a winning goal minutes from the end.
“They had a few in their team who played really well and Wooly was one of them. It was an incredibly hot day, and it is a big pitch at Wembley, but he showed great fitness and energy to keep going and then get the winning goal for Scunthorpe”.
With over 42,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year, the charity’s work with The Football League is vitally important to help raise awareness of the disease and tackle the problem head. Harris speaks highly of the charity’s previous involvement with Millwall.
“I think most importantly the charity is spreading a very important message. The work they have done to raise awareness for what is a serious disease is extraordinary, and I know both parties benefited massively from the partnership they had together.
“Millwall fans embraced the message and it is pleasing to hear of how many supporters got themselves checked out to help fight prostate cancer. To see the charity's logo on all shirts in the Football League is a great way of keeping that message up to an important audience”.
After a disappointing start to the season, both clubs will be desperate for victory on Saturday and will no doubt be hoping for some vocal support as fans unite in the stands for Men United and a much needed 3 points.
Dan Pentland, York City and Men United
While the Lions travel to Glanford Park this weekend, I will be doing my bit for Men United too. As a keen supporter of York City, who travels up and down the country, this weekend is no different. Except I'm going the extra mile… or 10. With a group of York and Exeter City fans, I'm walking 10 miles from Exmouth Town FC to Exeter City on the morning of the match to raise money to help beat prostate cancer.
Please support me and show your support for Men United.