24 December 2007

Joe Miller

Name: Joseph Miller
Born: 27 April 1899, Coleraine
Died:
Height:
Weight:
Position: Right-Half

Representative Honours: Ireland: 3 Full Caps (1929).
Club Honours: (with Middlesbrough) Football League Division Two Champion 1926/27, 1928/29.

Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Largs Athletic
-
-
Morton
20/21-22/23
-
12/3
Arthurlie
-
-
Loan
Johnstone
23/24-24/25
Aug-23
Aberdare Athletic
25/26
Jun-25
37/4
3/0
Middlesbrough
26/27-29/30
Aug-26
140/0
13/0
Dolphin
30/31
Oct-30
Hibernian
30/31
Nov-30
18/0
4/0
Bournemouth & Bosc. Ath.
31/32-33/34
Nov-31
75/0
5/0
1/0
Ballymena United
34/35
Jul-34
*27/0
Ross County
-
Jan-36
(Highland League)
Totals
309/7
25/0
1/0
* all games

Biography:
A footballing half-back, Joe Miller was famed for his reading of the game, his ability to intercept a pass and feed his forward line. He served a long apprenticeship in Scottish Junior football and lower down the Scottish League. He established himself with Aberdare Athletic, then playing in Division Three (South) of the Football League. Despite the Welsh club finishing bottom of the league and failing to gain re-election at the end of the 1926/27 season, Miller had done enough to convince Middlesbrough manager Herbert Bamlett of his worth.

Miller stepped into a Boro team ready to challenge for promotion to Division One and, although he put in some early unsteady performances, by the end of his first campaign at Ayresome Park he had missed just one game and claimed a Division Two championship medal. He retained his place throughout what was a disappointing campaign back in the top-flight as Boro finished bottom to suffer an immediate relegation. He showed great resilience to bounce back and was regarded as the lynchpin of the Middlesbrough side which claimed a second Division Two title in three seasons.

Finally, just short of his thirtieth birthday, Miller was awarded long overdue international recognition. He made his debut in a satisfactory 2-2 draw against Wales in February 1929, adding a second cap three weeks later. This time things were much more uncomfortable as the Irish half-back line was heavily criticised for its “weakness” in the face of a highly skilled Scottish forward-line, the Scots running out 7-3 winners at Windsor Park. Still Miller held onto his place for the next season’s opening international fixture, a 3-0 defeat by England, again at Windsor, in which Boro teammate George Camsell scored twice.

Back in Division One, Miller’s place was starting to come under pressure. He played just twenty times as mid-table security was achieved. By November 1930, having not featured in the first eleven all season, Miller was returned to Scotland to join Hibernian. Still he was far from finished. After suffering relegation with Hibs he joined Division Three (South) Bournemouth & Boscombe, where he played on until his mid-thirties. Miller then returned to Ireland where he offered his experience to the “new” Ballymena United.


Ireland Cap Details:
02-02-1929 Wales... A D 2-2 BC
23-02-1929 Scotland H L 3-7 BC
19-10-1929 England. H L 0-3 BC

Summary: 3/0. Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 2.


Miller's career may also have taken in spells with Port Glasgow Athletic (prior to joining Morton) and Ards (prior to joining Bournemouth) though further corroboration is required.

Further details courtesy of Martin O'Connor.

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