Though not the first black players in Millwall, Trevor Lee and Phil Walker were the first black players to make an impact. Both signed in 1975, at a time when black players were rare sights in the upper tiers of English football. They had an immediate impact, with Phil Walker awarded Millwall Player of the Year in 1978.
They were to be followed by more black players, some successful enough to have lasting nick names, like ‘Fash the bash’ (John Fashanu), or dedicated songs: ‘Walking along, singing a song, walking in a Witter wonderland’ (celebrating Tony Witter).Times have changed, with black players increasingly commonplace at Millwall and throughout English football. In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 black players were voted Millwall’s player of the year.
‘I remember the first month, or six weeks, I had to sit there [in the stands], and there were some guys in front of me. Trevor Lee was never called Trevor for the first few weeks, he was always all the names under the sun, apart from Trevor Lee, you know. Then, after a few weeks, they started “yeah, go on, Trevor Lee”. And in the end, because he was playing so well, it went to “Trevor”. In that space, the six weeks, they changed the way they reacted to Trevor’.
(Phil Walker, Black British)
Cyril Regis said to me “you guys”, he said “you and Phil, you started that whole thing of, you know […] we used to watch you playing, you know, for Millwall and looking at newspapers reports and all that” and, you know, he said “that inspired us to, inspired me, to get into the pro game, if I could.”
(Trevor Lee, Black British)