The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Joshua Richards

FOR­MER Mill­wall stal­wart Alan Dunne made his full de­but for Ley­ton Ori­ent on Tues­day, but ad­mits he is still strug­gling to get his head around wear­ing a red shirt rather than a blue one.

Dunne joined Mill­wall aged eight and re­mained with the south Lon­don club for 23 years but, fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the Cham­pi­onship last term, was one of 18 play­ers to be re­leased.


Ori­ent, rel­e­gated them­selves from League One, quickly of­fered Dunne a two-year deal.

And, though the im­pos­ing cen­tral de­fender is ready to em­brace his new chal­lenge, Dunne has still seem­ingly not quite come to terms with his de­par­ture from the Den and is set to re­lease a book about his time with the club in Fe­bru­ary.

“It’s still a bit strange af­ter be­ing at Mill­wall for so long,” said the 32-year-old.

“You are com­ing into a dif­fer­ent train­ing ground, there’s a dif­fer­ent set of lads. But it’s a new chal­lenge for me now and one I’m rel­ish­ing and I’m get­ting up ev­ery day and look­ing for­ward to go­ing into train­ing.

“I had been at Mill­wall since I was a boy, so I will al­ways have a soft spot. They are still the club I will al­ways sup­port, I spent most of my life there and I have got great mem­o­ries.

“I did all I could do, I was cap­tain, played in an FA Cup fi­nal, played in Europe, won two pro­mo­tions, had a tes­ti­mo­nial, there weren’t any boxes left to tick.

“I stayed at Mill­wall for 23 years, I played un­der 15 man­agers and saw plenty in my time. It’s a fun book, I think it is one Mill­wall fans will en­joy, as they will def­i­nitely learn things.

“There will be some­thing in there for Ori­ent fans too, I’ll still be writ­ing for another cou­ple of months.

“I like the man­ager Ian Hen­don, I spoke to him a few times in the sum­mer. He and Andy Hessen­thaler are old school. They are good peo­ple and I en­joy work­ing for them, so play­ing for Ian was one of the rea­sons why I wanted to come here.”

As well as spend­ing hours re­call­ing tales of his ca­reer af­ter a day’s train­ing, Dunne man­ages to find time to put on coach­ing ses- sions for kids along with for­mer Mill­wall team-mate Mark Phillips, who last year turned out for AFC Wim­ble­don.


It seems a ca­reer as a coach is more likely than one as an au­thor with Dunne cur­rently study­ing for his UEFA A Li­cence.

And, though he loves work­ing with the next gen­er­a­tion, Dunne ad­mits he is a con­cerned that there are too many dis­trac­tions from the game for those he works with.

“I do the coach­ing on a Mon­day from 7pm un­til 8pm,” he added.

“It’s tough, but we have good peo­ple work­ing with us. I train four to six year-olds, then 14 year-olds on the big­ger pitches.

“One of the things I worry about is tech­nol­ogy, iPads and so on, as they keep kids in­doors a lot.

“Nowa­days it isn’t a 24/7 ob­ses­sion, there are more rea­sons to stay in­doors.We need our kids to be ded­i­cated to the game, but it seems like that’s rare. It does worry me.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

MOV­ING ON: New Ley­ton Ori­ent man Alan Dunne cel­e­brat­ing dur­ing his Mill­wall days

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