Lions men­tal­ity is rub­bing off on Ravens

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By Matt Bad­cock

ALAN DUNNE spent 23 years at Mill­wall hon­ing his craft in the school of hard knocks – and he reck­ons Brom­ley can upset the odds just like he used to with the Lions.

The 35-year-old de­fender played nearly 400 times in League One and the Cham­pi­onship for the Lon­don club, help­ing them to two pro­mo­tions into English foot­ball’s sec­ond tier.

Now he’s player-coach for Neil Smith’s National League Ravens and still go­ing strong on the pitch.

Hav­ing taken tips from the likes of Den­nis Wise, Dunne is en­joy­ing pass­ing on his wis­dom to the Brom­ley charges – and still putting in the per­for­mances.

“I’m 35, I’ve still got a bit left in me,” he said, af­ter com­plet­ing 90 min­utes in Tues­day’s 2-0 win at Maid­stone United. “I en­joy play­ing, I en­joy bat­tling, I en­joy be­ing out there. It will come to an end one day. I don’t know when, but it will come to an end.

“I en­joy coach­ing and there’s noth­ing bet­ter than the win­ning feel­ing, wher­ever you are. So I’m in a good place and I’m en­joy­ing my­self.

“I got kicked a few times against Maid­stone when I nor­mally get to kick them! But I’ve al­ways loved the bat­tle. I was at Mill­wall 23 years, I used to have bat­tles ev­ery week with play­ers and I like that, that’s my game.

“I feel al­right af­ter games. I’m in bits the next day, but I feel al­right with my age. I ain’t that at­tack­ing full-back any­more, but I can hold my own for now.

“There are good play­ers in this league, some good wingers. Ev­ery winger is go­ing to be quick or tricky. I’ve got to use the tools I’ve got and the things I’ve got. Some­times it might not be some­thing you want to coach, but it’s the Mill­wall way I was brought up – the old school way.


“We did that against Maid­stone. We upset them in parts, upset their play, we didn’t let them build up con­fi­dence be­cause with the crowd be­hind them they are a strong side in this league.”

Born in Ire­land, Dunne joined Mill­wall when he was eight years old be­fore leav­ing in 2015 a club leg­end.

He’s writ­ten an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Dunne it the Hard Way about his ca­reer at the Den – and nat­u­rally his time there still in­flu­ences him to­day.

“It was drilled into me,” Dunne said. “The Mus­cats, Den­nis Wises, I learnt from. I’m try­ing to help Brom­ley now. That’s my jour­ney. We’ve got a good group and they can achieve some­thing this year. For a lit­tle town like Brom­ley on a small bud­get, we can achieve some- thing and that’s our goal. “Those old school play­ers helped me through and I want to help th­ese other play­ers through. They are a young squad, we will make mis­takes and we’ll have to learn the hard way. But we’re on tar­get.” As part of his coach­ing role, Dunne as­sists boss Smith with video anal­y­sis and set­ting the side up for matches. “I’m here to help Neil Smith, he’s a fan­tas­tic guy,” Dunne said. “He brought me in and put trust in me. I will do ev­ery­thing I can to help him get re­sults and help the team. “I get Mon­days and Fri­days off ac­tu­ally train­ing! Tues­day and Thurs­days I can train but on Mon­days and Fri­days I coach, do the set pieces, the pat­tern and the video anal­y­sis. So I’m learn­ing on my jour­ney as well. I’ll make mis­takes but I’m learn­ing. “The pro­fes­sion­al­ism I learnt at Mill­wall, I’m try­ing to bring that to this club and show how things can be achieved. We reached the FA Cup fi­nal at Mill­wall. Any­thing can be achieved in foot­ball. ‘We can reach the play-offs, we can do it’. That’s what I’m here for.”

PIC­TURES: Shut­ter Press & Ac­tion Images

LUKE WHO’S TALK­ING! Luke Wana­dio wheels away af­ter scor­ing for Brom­ley. Insets: Dunne, be­low, and with man­ager Neil Smith, above

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