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Address: Zampa Road,
Capacity: 20,146 (All-Seater)
For a balanced stadium that offers an equally good view from all four sides, this place cannot be beat. The Den doesn’t have much visually striking about it, but for practicality and consistency all the way around, it scores superbly.
Built between 1992 and 1993, it has been the home of Millwall Football Club since its opening on 4th August 1993. Millwall Lionesses also used the ground for home games between 2015 and 2019.
The stadium was initially known as The New Den as it was the replacement for Millwall’s previous home The Den, which is now referred to as ‘The Old Den’. The Lions had played at four other venues: Glengall Road, Lord Nelson Ground, The Athletic Grounds and North Greenwich before moving into ‘The Old Den’ in 1910, where they would remain for 83 years.
The current Den was the first new all-seater stadium to be built in England following the Taylor Report of 1990, which made it compulsory for all stadiums in the top two tiers of English Football to be all-seater. Chairman Reg Burr decided that redeveloping ‘The Old Den’ to an all-seater venue would not be worthwhile, and a new stadium was built instead around 0.25 miles away.
The ground was also the first new stadium built for a professional football team in London since Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road in 1937.
Location and Getting There
The Den is located in the Bermondsey district, around 4.5 miles southeast of the Centre of London and around 1.5 miles south of the River Thames. Southwark Park and Surrey Quays is to the north, Deptford Park is to the east, Burgess Park is to the west, and heading due southwest eventually brings you to Peckham.
As with all London grounds, I don’t recommend coming to The Den by car.
Whilst there are spaces around the stadium’s western side, these are limited in number and finding free, legal parking within close distance is a challenge you should try to avoid. Navigating London’s streets on your way to the ground is hard enough.
The recommendation instead is to use public transport.
The Den is just a five minute walk southeast of South Bermondsey Train Station, which is served by Southern Railway.
Once you get down from the station, you take one of two routes:
Away supporters turn right at the staircase, head under the railway bridge, and down a footpath which takes them right to the stadium’s northern side and the away turnstiles.
Home fans head the other way, looping round onto Ilderton Road and under a different bridge, arriving first at the stadium’s northwest corner.
For buses, the nearest stop is Millwall Football Ground (Stop IN) along Ilderton Road, which is just as close.
For home supporters, South Bermondsey station is a very useful and very popular destination on the way to and from The Den, but for away supporters, it isn’t somewhere I’d recommend.
Millwall always operate a high number of police on a matchday, particularly following the conclusion of a game when fans pack the platforms on their way home. These police will always give the priority to the home supporters since there are more of them, and this means that away supporters are kept back on the small footpath, only being allowed out once the majority of home supporters are on the trains. This is done to ensure the segregation of the two fanbases and significantly reduce the chance of fights breaking out.
Even once away supporters are allowed up to the platforms, they remain very packed and cramped for a long time after the match has finished.
For getting to the ground before kick-off, South Bermondsey station should be ok, but I’d try and avoid using it to get back. If you can use an away club’s supporters’ coach for travel, I’d advise doing so.
If that isn’t an option, and you want to avoid South Bermondsey station altogether, my suggestion would be to head further northwest and make use of the Underground.
Bermondsey Underground Station is around a 20 minute walk away and part of the Jubilee Line. The journey is longer, but trains are much more common and you are far less likely to end up on a packed platform.
Outside the Stadium
If you’re coming to The Den as an away supporter, you’ll be encouraged to head down the path near to South Bermondsey Station, and that will eventually bring you to the North Stand.
The exterior here is very basic in design, with a sandy coloured brickwork base, grey corrugated iron in its upper parts, and a light blue cantilever roof that comes down from the top. You can also see the underside of the stand’s upper tier seating area from the outside.
There’s not much of interest along the brickwork base apart from large exit doors, with the away turnstiles attached to the North Stand in the northeast corner.
There are two buildings right outside the North Stand’s exterior, the smaller one being Bermondsey Car Repairs, and the larger one being Millwall’s Community Trust building. Away supporters’ coaches tend to park up alongside this curved-roof building for the duration of the game.
A large gate prevents those at the northeast corner from getting round to the East Stand, which is purposefully done to keep home and away supporters segregated.
This East Stand became known as the Dockers Stand in January 2011, paying tribute to the early history of Millwall Football Club and the fanbase made up mostly of Thames dockers.
Much like the adjacent North Stand, the exterior here is very basic in design with a brickwork base, grey corrugated iron in the upper parts and a cantilever roof coming down from the top.
Turnstiles into the Dockers Stand are spread across the base, and in the southeast corner you can find a Millwall Matchday Store.
The South Stand is better known as the Cold Blow Lane Stand. It is named after the road which led into ‘The Old Den’.
The exterior follows a very similar design to the North Stand and Dockers Stand, using sandy-coloured brickwork at the base, grey corrugated iron higher up, and a light blue cantilever roof on top. Much like the North Stand opposite, you can see the underside of the upper tier seating area from outside.
Turnstiles into the Cold Blow Lane Stand can be found in the southeast corner and near to the southwest corner, with Millwall’s Matchday Ticket Office in a brick building that protrudes out towards the middle of the stand.
The southwest corner of The Den holds some club offices, and continuing round from there brings you to the West Stand, named after Barry Kitchener.
Born in Dagenham on 11th December 1947, Kitchener made 602 appearances for Millwall between 1966 and 1982, making the defender the club’s all-time record appearance maker. He was almost exclusively a one-club man, with a short loan spell at Tampa Bay Rowdies in the North American Soccer League being the only time that he didn't play in a Millwall shirt.
An iconic name at Millwall Football Club, Kitchener passed away on 30th March 2012 at the age of 64.
The Barry Kitchener Stand is the largest of the four at The Den, and this is mostly due to the panelled building that protrudes out of the centre. Inside here is the stadium’s Main Entrance for players, officials, directors and executives. The rest of the stand shares a similar design to the other three at The Den, using a brickwork base, grey panels in the upper parts and the same blue cantilever roof on top.
Turnstiles are spread along the brickwork base either side of the central building, with the main car park, shaped like a triangle, stretching a fair way out beyond it.
The northwest corner holds The Lions Store, with a couple of Barry Kitchener Stand turnstiles to the immediate right of it.
If you head a little further up Bolina Road from here, you will reach the main entrance to Millwall’s Community Trust Centre.
Inside the Stadium
The North Stand is divided into two tiers of blue seating.
The upper tier is the larger of the two and also noticeably steeper than the one below. The inner concourse is based roughly half-way up the stand and it means that supporters either head down a staircase if their seat is in the lower tier, or head up a staircase if they are in the upper tier.
Because of the cantilever roof on top, there are no supporting pillars coming down and so your view from anywhere inside the North Stand is perfectly clear.
Windshields are in place at either end, but they only cover the upper tier rows. Those sat down in the lower tier only have the walls of the northeast and northwest corners to provide protection from the sides.
Above the northeast corner is a large electronic screen that shows a live scoreboard during the match. It can be seen by the vast majority of fans in the stadium.
The Dockers Stand follows a very similar design to the adjacent North Stand.
It is divided into two tiers of blue seating, with the upper tier again bigger and noticeably steeper than the level below. A row of executive boxes however is in place between the two tiers.
The cantilever roof atop this stand also means that your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside, though once again windshields at either end only offer protection for those sat in the upper tier rows. Protection from the sides is minimal for anyone sat in the lower tier seating blocks.
The Cold Blow Lane Stand is an almost exact carbon-copy of the North Stand opposite.
It consists of two tiers of blue seating, again with the upper tier taller and steeper than the one below, but the main visible difference is the appearance of six letters. THE is spelt out using yellow seats across the three central blocks in the upper tier, whilst DEN is spelt out in yellow across the three central blocks in the lower tier.
Your view is once again perfectly clear from anywhere inside because of the cantilever roof on top, and windshields at either end only offer protection to those sat in the upper tier.
The Barry Kitchener Stand is considered the Main Stand at The Den, though it is very similar in design to the Dockers Stand opposite.
It again consists of two tiers of blue seating, with the upper tier taller and steeper than the one below. You can find Millwall’s changing rooms, dugouts and tunnel based in and down the front of the stand, with the executive seating blocks based in the middle of the upper tier. Additionally, the stadium’s control box is based at the back of the upper tier, next to the northwest corner.
Your view, like the rest of The Den, is perfectly clear from any seat because of the cantilever roof on top, but windshields once again only offer protection to those sat in the upper tier rows.
There’s nothing wrong at all with the view from the lower tier seats in any of The Den’s stands, but if you’re coming on a day or night that you expect to be cold, I’d advise getting a ticket in the upper tier. There’s much better protection from the wind and the rain up there.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the North Stand.
Typically, only the upper tier is in use for away supporters, which is done not only to segregate them from any home fans nearby, but because it also makes it very, very difficult for away fans to get onto the pitch and disrupt the game.
The lower tier of the North Stand is only opened when Millwall expect a sell-out crowd at The Den and a very large away following as a result.
As an away fan, you cannot complain about the view from your seat, and seeing as you will most likely be in the upper tier, you’re well protected from the elements as well.
The most difficult part comes with safely getting back home once the match is done (I give advice to away fans on the best stations and methods to travel to and from the ground in the Location and Getting There section).
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-The Cat and Canary (25-27 Fishermans Walk, E14 4DH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Market Porter (9 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA) (Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Pommelers Rest (196-198 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UN) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Shipwright Arms (88 Tooley Street, SE1 2TF) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located right next to London Bridge Station)
*Away supporters are actively discouraged from going to any of the pubs near to The Den. The recommendation is to find a drink on your journey to the ground and keep your supporters' colours hidden throughout. London Bridge is an area many away supporters go to for finding a drink before heading to the stadium.
For style and colour, The Den doesn’t really have anything to shout about, but the most important part of a football stadium is what it is like inside, and it’s here that Millwall’s home has very few faults.
Each of the four stands are incredibly similar in shape and design, so you don’t feel at all like you’re missing out being in one part of the stadium compared to another. Views from any seat are perfectly clear, and you are very well protected from the elements if you’re sat in any of the upper tiers. The lower tiers admittedly do not offer that same level of protection but cannot be faulted for the clear view of the pitch they provide.
Ultimately, the thing you want most from a professional football ground is practicality, and The Den has an abundance of it.
Worth taking a look at for sure.
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