6 August 2007

Walter McMillen

Name: Walter S. McMillen
Born: 24 November 1913, Belfast
Died: 11 May 1987
Height: 6.00 ft
Weight: 12.04 st
Position: Half-Back

Representative Honours: Ireland: 7 Full Caps (1934-1939), 2 Amateur Caps (1933); Irish League: 1 Cap (1940); Northern Regional League: 4 Caps (1941-1944).
Club Honours: (with Cliftonville) Gold Cup Winner 1932/33; (with Glentoran) Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1939/40, 1940/41; (with Linfield) Northern Regional League Champion 1942/43.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Albert Foundry
-
-
-
-
-
-
West End United
-
-
-
-
-
-
Carrickfergus
-
-
-
-
-
-
Distillery
31/32
-
Amateur
-
-
-
Cliftonville
32/33
-32
Amateur
-
-
-
Arsenal
-
May-33
Amateur
0/ 0
-
-
Manchester United
33/34-34/35
Aug-33
-
27/ 2
2/0
-
Chesterfield
36/37-38/39
Dec-36
£2,000
85/16
7/0
-
Millwall
39/40-49/50
May-39
£2,000
91/ 0
2/1
#3/0
Glentoran
39/40-40/41
Nov-39
Guest
*66/17
-
-
Linfield
-
-41
Guest
-
-
-
Belfast Celtic
-
-
Guest
-
-
-
Tonbridge
-
-50
Free
(Southern League)
TOTALS
-
£4,000
269/35
11/1
3/0
* all games; # War-Time games.

Biography:
Walter McMillen made his name as a teenager with Cliftonville. While at Solitude he won two Amateur caps (against England and Scotland) and helped the Reds to a rare trophy win in the Gold Cup. In early 1933 he agreed a move to Arsenal, with the London-giants visiting Solitude for a friendly as way of recompense. Although briefly registered as an amateur with Gunners, the deal fell through and he instead joined Manchester United.

McMillen made an early League debut for United, appearing as centre-half in a 4-3 win at Brentford on 9 September 1933. After a 5-2 won over Burnley in his second match, he retained his place for much of the rest of the season as United were fortunate to avoid relegation to the Third Division. His first campaign at Old Trafford did bring McMillen his first Full international cap, and he played at right-half in a 3-0 defeat by England at Windsor Park.

In his second season with United McMillen made just four appearances, three of them at outside-left. He made his final appearance for the club against Burnley in March 1935, marking the occasion with a goal in a 4-3 defeat. Thereafter McMillen spent close to two years in the United reserves, finally signing for Chesterfield in December 1936.

Lack of success in the Football League didn’t hinder McMillen’s international aspirations. He won a total of three caps while with United, perhaps the most notable of which, his second, saw a 2-1 win over Scotland. The press prior to the match at Windsor Park had written the Irish off, stating that “the Scots should avenge last year’s defeat at Parkhead”. Ireland’s task was made even more difficult as they went in at half-time 1-0 down and with Elisha Scott taken to hospital due to a hand injury. McMillen filled in as ‘keeper and “did great work in (Scott’s) place… saving splendidly when called upon”. An “inspired second-half fight by ten men” brought Ireland a deserved victory.

With Chesterfield McMillen was employed with great effect as an attacking wing-half. In 1937/38 he scored an impressive ten goals, including one in a 7-1 defeat by Manchester United in November, to finish as the club’s second top goalscorer. That season he also became the first Spireites’ player to earn international recognition when he lined up at centre-half in a 1-1 draw against Scotland. The four caps collected by McMillen while with Chesterfield remains a club record, since equalled by another (Northern) Ireland international, Mark Williams.

Described as a “cultured half-back... (who) had excellent ball control and was a judicious passer who out-manoeuvred opponents by anticipation and timing”, the “quiet and unassuming” McMillen was also valued as a “club-man”. He departed Saltergate in May 1939 to join Millwall, but almost immediately the move was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

He returned to Ireland and worked as an electrician at Harland and Wolff. He continued his playing career with Glentoran then Linfield in War-Time football, earning inter-league honours along the way. After the War he was persuaded to return to Millwall and a bombed-out Den. Financially stricken , the Lions suffered relegation to Division Three (South) in 1948 and in 1950, McMillen’s last as a player, finished bottom of the League and were forced to apply for re-election.

Just short of his 37th birthday when he left Millwall, McMillen continued to turn out in non-League football before returning to his native Ulster.

Ireland Cap Details:

14-10-1933 England. H L 0-3 BC
20-10-1934 Scotland H W 2-1 BC
31-10-1936 Scotland H L 1-3 BC
10-11-1937 Scotland A D 1-1 BC
16-03-1938 Wales... H W 1-0 BC
08-10-1938 Scotland H L 0-2 BC
16-11-1938 England. A L 0-7 BC

Summary: 7/0. Won 2, Drew 1, Lost 4.


Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
28-01-1933 Scotland A L 1-5 or 0-6
18-02-1933 England. H W 4-3 

Summary: 2/0. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 1.

Additional information thanks to Martin O'Connor.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

well proud of my grandfather!!

Dexter said...

Well proud of my Grandfather's Brother.

Who was Northern Ireland's Greatest World Cup Player & Team? (select up to eleven players)

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