The boy David Forde Dunne good — he’s made Millwall’s top XI

David Forde might be struggling to get a starting place for club and country at the moment but he has just made it into a best-ever Millwall XI.
The boy David Forde Dunne good — he’s made Millwall’s top XI

and Den legend Alan Dunne who, last year, left the club after nearly a quarter of a century and almost 400 games – as well having set a dubious record for the most red cards in Millwall’s history.

The 33-year-old Dunne, now winding down his playing career at Orient, has put his warts-and-all tale in print in an eye-opening book Dunne It The Hard Way in which, at one point, he tells of Forde becoming so infuriated by inexplicable refereeing decisions in a game at Watford that, at half-time, “he ripped the dressing room door off.”

Says Dunne: “I was with him for six, seven years. I roomed with him. His determination to win is something I never seen in a goalkeeper before. And that passion. I’ve seen him rip doors off changing room walls and seen him put his hand through tactics boards.

“Every single game, he’s like that and that makes you better because you don’t want to be on the end of one of his bollockings. I think that helped me get better as a player. That will to win and desperation to win, and I mean desperation, like Roy Keane had, that helped the team.

“His clean sheet record in the last five, six years has been outstanding and that got him his call-up. He ain’t playing at the moment and it’s tough for him. The boy they’ve got in front of him is doing really well. I know he’s gutted and I know he wants to go (to the Euros) in the summer. It’s a big thing for him because he did play a major part in getting them there.

“Whether or not he’s done enough during the qualifiers to warrant a place is not up to me to decide. It’s a big decision for Martin O’Neill to make. But if he ain’t there, he’ll still support the lads.”

As will the Dublin-born Alan Dunne. Although his family left for England and a challenging upbringing in London when he was just two, he has always regarded himself as 100% Irish, with one of his biggest regrets in football being that he never got a single cap. He admits his hard nut reputation meant when he turned up at Orient last year, the players there treated him like he was a cross between Vinnie Jones and Joey Barton.

“Off the field I’m as nice as anybody but on the field I can be ruthless,” he says. “I’ve had some nasty tackles but they’re not leg breakers. I’m not that type of player. Off the field, I’m a gentleman, I’ve been brought up right. But I know when I get on the field of play, you have to have something in your armoury, especially at Millwall, to help you overcome some tough games and tough players.”

And of the some of more lurid episodes which pockmark his life story, he says: “I think you need to make mistakes in life to get better. If you don’t make any mistakes, you don’t learn. Looking back there were certain things I did regret, the fights and the drink driving, but they made me stronger and will help me teach my kids and other prospects of what not to do when growing up as a footballer. If this book helps one young kid in Ireland who reads it and goes on to do something in his life then I’d be happy. That’s what it’s about.”

* Dunne It The Hard Way – The Remarkable Story Of A Millwall Legend, by Alan Dunne with Chris Davies, Pitch Publishing.

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