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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Lions ready for dream date
By Paul Fletcher

Theo Paphitis (left) embraces player-manager Dennis Wise after their semi-final win
Paphitis describes the club's FA Cup campaign as a dream come true
Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis reckons the FA Cup final is a great chance for the club to present a positive image to a new audience across the world.

"It is the best platform in the world," Paphitis told BBC Sport. "You are being seen in all manner of far flung places and by nearly a billion people.

"Millwall is being translated all around the world, which is marvellous.

"It is a great, great opportunity for us as an FA Cup final is something that dreams are made of."

Saturday's match against firm favourites Manchester United will be the club's first appearance in an FA Cup final.

And Paphitis is still overwhelmed by the First Division club's achievement in reaching the showcase occasion.

"I can't put it into words to be honest with you, it is the first time it has happened at Millwall in 119 years. It is not an emotion we have had before so it is difficult to try to explain it.

"Every Division One chairman starts the season saying to his manager 'Look I want a good cup run, we need the money so we can concentrate on the league'.

"You don't start saying 'I want to get to the FA Cup final' because that is not realistic."

The Lions defeated Walsall, Telford, Burnley, Tranmere and Sunderland to reach Saturday's final.

Whatever happens we have European football to look forward to next season
Theo Paphitis
And Millwall face a huge task against their first Premiership opposition of the campaign - a situation not made easier by the club's selection problems.

Millwall are without several key players for the final, with player-manager Dennis Wise a major doubt and Kevin Muscat, Andy Roberts, Tony Warner and Charley Hearn out injured.

Experienced striker Danny Dichio is suspended and also misses the match.

But Paphitis, who is also a director of the Football League, is confident player-manager Dennis Wise, a veteran of three FA Cup finals, has ensured his players are ready for the enormity of the occasion.

"Preparations have gone very well. The players have a good idea of what to expect - Dennis has seen to that."

And the chairman is adamant that regardless of the result the whole experience will lift the club.

"It is a great time for Millwall," he added. "The whole day will be marvellous - the result will be what it will be and win or lose we will have a great day.

"And whatever happens at the Millennium Stadium we have European football to look forward to next season."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Millwall midfielder Tim Cahill
"We'll only fully comprehend it when we are in the tunnel"


Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis
"This really puts the club in the limelight"




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