An unlikely meeting took place this week in a Bermondsey pub – an Italian contributor to a Millwall history magazine met a Bermondsey man who went to his first game at the Old Den in 1928.
John Cooper, 101, of Southwark Park Road, and Gianluca Sardi, professor of comparative law at the university of Teramo in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, met to discuss John’s long history at the club on Tuesday (November 23) over a pint at the Ancient Foresters pub.
Gianluca, a frequent visitor to the Den, wanted to interview John for the Millwall fanzine The Lion Roars. John, nursing a pint of Guinness, told Gianluca his fond memories of Millwall games in decades gone past – but lamented the rise of today’s more technical style of play.
“Back then, they used to just get it up the pitch. It was a fast, attacking game – not like now,” he said. John also told Gianluca of his memories of swimming across the Thames as a boy from Tower Bridge to Wapping – if he could avoid “a whack” from a watching police officer.
Gianluca listened with rapt attention, occasionally prompting John with questions, but more often saying simply “wonderful”.