ALAN’S WRITING A NEW CHAPTER
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.”
MOVING ON: New Leyton Orient man Alan Dunne celebrating during his Millwall days