'He changed my life'- Former Portsmouth favourite Jed Wallace queues for 45 minutes to pay his respects to Millwall owner John Berylson

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Former Pompey favourite Jed Wallace has admitted John Berylson changed his life as he paid tribute to the Millwall owner and chairman who was killed in a car accident last week.

On Wednesday, Wallace queued for 45 minutes alongside devastated Lions fans at the Championship outfit’s The Den home to sign a book of condolence for the popular American businessman (70).

The 29-year-old ex-Blues youngster got to know Berylson well during a six-year association with Millwall that saw him feature 260 times for the club and score 44 goals over three different spells.

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His time in London came to an end last summer when the joined West Brom on a free transfer. Yet he travelled back to the capital on the first day the book of condolence was opened to pay his respects.

And speaking to londonnewsonline.co.uk, Wallace confessed Berylson stood by him during two difficult loan spells from Wolves that didn’t put him off signing the winger for £400,000 in 2017.

Wallace said: ‘He changed my life. My kids go to a nice school because of him.

‘I was s*** when he signed me. I had completely lost myself. He said: "If we get promoted, I’ll sign you”. The second spell I was pretty crap and he still put his hand in his pocket and paid £400,000 for me. He didn’t need to, he could’ve got someone else.

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‘He was loyal. When there was interest from other teams and people were leaving and earning ridiculous amounts of money, he always looked after his own players.’

Former Millwall owner John Berylson, left, and Jed WallaceFormer Millwall owner John Berylson, left, and Jed Wallace
Former Millwall owner John Berylson, left, and Jed Wallace

Wallace added there was no bitterness from Berylson when he decided he needed a new challenge in the summer of 2022.

The former News/Sports Mail Pompey Player of the Year added: ‘He offered me a ridiculous deal to stay, but sometimes you just feel you need a new spark.

‘There was no bitterness in him, whatsoever, and we remained in touch. When I had a good game for West Brom, he’d message me and say: “You were the best player, you’re playing really well”. In football people can be bitter and small-minded. He is such a nice guy.

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‘Every single player who has left the club has only had positive things to say about John Berylson. He had a genuine relationship with all the players. I’d send him pictures of my kids and he’d come back about his grandkids.

‘He has left an unbelievable legacy behind – probably the best-run club in the Championship.

‘It’s not just putting his hand in his pocket – anyone can chuck money at it – it is the time that he has put into the club.’

Wallace scored 30 goals in 121 appearances for Pompey before moving to Wolves in 2015 for a fee believed to be around £250,000.

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Yet his move to Molineux, under Kenny Jackett, didn’t work out, with the forward making just 18 league appearances for the club prior to his permanent switch to Millwall.

A book of condolence for Berylson remains open at The Den for all football fans to sign. For those who cannot attend, an online version can be accessed here.

A statement from Millwall read: ‘The response from Lions fans - and football supporters - from around the globe has been truly remarkable’.