Promotion-winning keeper Tony Warner’s favourite Millwall moments

One of the Warners favourite games as a Lion was not a particular performance, but a feeling he had in a 4-1 victory at  Peterborough in September 2000.
He said: “When we walked in, we just felt that we were going to take them that day. There was going to be no messing about. The feeling didn’t leave me, despite them pulling back a goal and I can remember contributing towards one of the the strikes.”
Another high point was a 1-0 win at Coventry’s Highfield Road in the the last few weeks of the 2001-02 campaign.
“One of their players was Mo Konjic, from Bosnia-Herzegovina,” recalled Warner. “He was absolutely massive and built like the proverbial brick outhouse. He looked like something out of a movie.
“But at a corner or free kick,  little Ronnie Bull grabbed him by the necessaries and he squealed. Ronnie just didn’t care.”
Another high point was the following season – a 1-0 win at Stoke in November 2002.  It was a return after almost two years, out with injuries, of defender Joe Dolan. Steven Reid scored in the second minute but it was the performance after that which Warner recalls.
“I remember just knowing that I wasn’t going to concede,” he said. “I felt perfectly ready.
“We were under quite a bit of pressure throughout the game and I remember getting stick from the crowd – a couple of boys behind the goal. But I had a good bit of banter with them and by the end of the game, they had totally changed their tune.
“It was just me in the right mental state. When you go out with the right mentality, you cannot be beaten, if you have a certain amount of ability. Your mindset really makes a difference.
“Football is about trying to be as close to that as you can every Saturday. If you do, you know you will play well. But you don’t get it very often.”
Warner was one of the first players this reporter can remember to admit to using a sports psychologist – probably a decade before it was publicly acknowledged.

He : “I had a bad spell at Millwall and things didn’t feel right in games on a Saturday. I didn’t feel particularly tuned in – especially when I conceded a goal against Wimbledon.

“I thought I needed to start improving. Then I saw a documentary on TV with David James – who must have been at Villa at the – plus Formula 1 drivers and golfers and I was impressed.

“David James gave me the number of his psychologist and told me he’d used him for a while.

“It was probably one of the best things I ever did. It enabled me to get to that stage at Stoke – where if your mind is not right, you can help yourself massively.”

Another big game was a 1-0 victory over Palace at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day 2003 where he saved the penalty.

“I played particualarly well that day,” Warner said. “We were under a lot of pressure. And they were in the bottom three. It was Iain Dowie’s first game as manager.

“I had to make save after save after save. Then Marvin Elliott conceded a penalty and up stepped Andy Johnson. Our assistant manager Steve Gritt had done a lot of research into penalty takers and said he liked to go down the keeper’s left. So I dived that way and tipped it around the post.

“I can remember a break in play and just seeing Dowie staring at me, with this expression which seemed to say ‘What do we need to do to get past you?’ “I can also remember their keeper, Thomas Myhre, who was on loan from Sunderland, coming up for a corner. I remember landing with the ball and looking him in the eye – we were virtually next to each other.

“His goal was totally empty so I hoofed it. He started running like a maniac. I was thinking ‘If this goes in, it will blow the roof off. Just hit the target’. But I hooked it a bit – it went for a goalkick.”

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