Harris the History Man

Last updated : 14 January 2009 By The Blue Pimpernel
After weeks of high anticipation Neil Harris finally surpassed Teddy Sheringham's all-time goalscoring Millwall with a goal that seemed remarkably fitting for a player who has notched up more than his fair share of strikes at grounds such as Gresty Road.

Harris has scored better goals in his career - the opener against Stoke City in 2000/01 springs to mind as does his comeback goal on New Year's Day in 2002 - but his 54th minute toe-poke against Crewe Alexandra in the Third Round of the FA Cup is likely to live long in the memory. And to be honest, it couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke.

His critics will argue that his predecessor scored his 111 goals faster than Harris while some will gleefully point out that it was only his sixth goal of the season but they seem to forget just what a classy goalscorer he was before cancer almost brough his career to an end in the summer of 2001 - just months after his goals secured the Second Division Championship for The Lions and won him the Golden Boot.

Harris notched up 27 league goals that season, beating his tally of 25 from the previous season. It may have taken him a few game to score his first but once he broke his duck, way back in 1998, there seemed to be no stopping him. He soon began to win admiring glances from other clubs and was invited to play for Scotland by then manager Craig Brown - an invitation he turned down. Then, just after turning down a £4 million move to Tottenham Hotspur he was diagnosed with cancer.

It was a long road back and it was obvious on his return that it had taken more out of him than he cared to admit. But once back in the side and fully fit he began to find the net again, scoring 12 goals in 2002/03. The following season he continued to find the net as Millwall reached the FA Cup Final, becoming one of only a handful of Lions players to appear in two domestic finals with the club, and went on to play in the UEFA Cup.

But then he fell out with manager Dennis Wise and having equal Sheringham's League record he was sold to Nottingham Forest. However rumours of his return persisted and finally it was Willie Donachie who brought him back and attributed The Lions remarkable upturn in form to the striker who was already something of a legend at The Den.

Yet after Donachie left the future looked bleak following an alleged bust-up with new boss Kenny Jackett and was told he had no future at the club. But he worked his way back into the side and proved he was worth his weight for Milllwall and he has paid back the manager's faith in him with several Man of the Match contributions.

"Neil Harris beating the record is a magnificent achievement," said Jackett after the game. "I am very pleased for him.

"He has really grafted for that. He has been tremendous servant for Millwall over a number of years."

As for Harris, he's not finished yet and he aims to add to the tally and to a record that may never be broken.

"I'm so exicted to be number one," gushed Harris on breaking the record. "It was great to equal it and to be with Teddy but to surpass him, a man of his stature is awesome.

"I'm not finished. I want a lot more and to keep going to extend the record. Hopefully I'll be given the chance to do that."