Mill­wall de­fender lets Dad do mu­sic

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

MILL­WALL right-back Mahlon Romeo is well stocked with mu­si­cal genes, though he in­sists he was only ever go­ing to be­come a foot­baller.

The 20-year-old’s dad is Trevor Romeo, aka Jazzie B, a mu­sic pro­ducer who had a No.1 hit, called Back To Life, with Soul II Soul in 1989. It’s an an­them that can still be heard in night­clubs around the coun­try each week.

Jazzie B was made an OBE in 2008, hav­ing worked with in­ter­na­tion­ally-renowned artists such as James Brown and also presents a weekly BBC ra­dio show.

But it was foot­ball, rather than floor-fillers, that in­ter­ested his son, Mahlon.


“I’ve al­ways been a foot­ball head,” said the de­fender.

“My dad never pushed me into mu­sic or play­ing an in­stru­ment, or any­thing like that.

“I never saw him as be­ing fa­mous. He did his thing, but I can’t re­mem­ber him ever be­ing stopped and recog­nised. He is just my dad.

“He used to take me and my mum to Arse­nal. He knew I loved foot­ball.”

De­spite his ten­der years, Romeo has had to be rel­a­tively pa­tient for his break­through.

Three years ago, he made his Foot­ball League de­but for Gilling­ham, be­ing thrown in from the start in the club’s fi­nal game of the 2012-13 sea­son, a 3-2 de­feat by Bur­ton Al­bion.

On cloud nine through­out that sum­mer, Romeo re­turned to Pri­est­field Sta­dium to find he was back in the youth team and did not line-up along­side his se­nior team-mates again.

“Af­ter my de­but, I didn’t think I had [al­ready] made it at Gilling­ham, but I thought I would be a lot more in­volved than I was,” Romeo added.

“No-one re­ally said any­thing to me. I came back for pre-sea­son and I was in the youth team, never to play again.

“It was frus­trat­ing, but that’s foot­ball. It works like that some­times.”

A trans­fer to Mill­wall came along last sum­mer, when the full An­tigua & Bar­buda in­ter­na­tional ex­pected sim­i­lar treat­ment.

But in­juries to Shaun Cum­mings and Car­los Ed­wards led to Romeo be­ing thrust into the first­team pic­ture for a daunting away trip to high-fly­ing Wal­sall last month.

Fear­less, he struck spec­tac­u­larly in a 3-0 win and has not looked back.

“I’m buzzing with the way things are go­ing. It couldn’t be bet­ter,” he added.

“My main goal at the start of the sea­son was to be near the first team. I could never have ex­pected to have played so many games.

“My de­but couldn’t have gone bet­ter, and for the man­ager [Neil Har­ris] to say I scored one of the goals of the sea­son was a mas­sive com­pli­ment.


“It’s such a priv­i­lege to be play­ing for a club like Mill­wall and my goal now is to play as much as pos­si­ble.”

Romeo has be­come a ful­lyfledged Lion at an ex­cit­ing time for the South Lon­don club.

Pon­der­ing a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle in the first weeks of the sea­son, they went into the week­end fifth in the League One ta­ble – the high­est po­si­tion they have oc­cu­pied.

It seems they have peaked at just the right time and Romeo is hope­ful his dream cam­paign can have the ul­ti­mate fin­ish.

“The goal is pro­mo­tion,” he said. “Whether that’s play-offs or au­to­matic, we’ll take any­thing, but I think we’re strong enough.

“We’ve got Lee Gre­gory and Steve Mori­son who have been un­stop­pable in front of goal, and their part­ner­ship is typ­i­cal of what we have in the squad.

“No mat­ter the gap in age or ex­pe­ri­ence, ev­ery­one gets on with each other. There are no mini-groups. We’re one team.”

PIC­TURE: Ian Lyall/Pro Sport

TUNED IN: Mahlon Romeo, seen here against of Don­caster Rovers’ Cedric Ev­ina, has quickly hit it off with team­mates at The Den MU­SIC MAN: Jazzie B, and, in­set, hit sin­gle Back To Life

EA­GER: Peter Ra­m­age

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