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21 February 2010

Robert Mills

Name: Robert Mills
Born: 13 December 1887, Belfast
Died: 1963, Belfast
Position: Right-Back

Representative Honours: Ireland: 3 Amateur Caps (1919-1921).
Club Honours: (with Dromore United) Beattie Cup Winner.

Club Career:
FA Cup
(Combination Second Division)
Belfast Celtic
Dromore United
(Combination First Division)

A "celebrity" of Belfast football, Robert Mills was a "sturdy and redoubtable defender". He was "wooed" to Belfast Celtic from Chlorine. With Mills playing alongside a young Mickey Hamill the Celtic IIs had "no lack of power and resource in defence." While Hamill joined Manchester United, Mills made the less glamorous move to Dromore United, where he claimed a Beattie Cup winner's medal.

Mills was then enticed to sign for Cliftonville Olympic, but he went straight into the firstteam where he "appeared with unfailing regularity" for a decade and rose to become captain. His "dour and stubborn" defending earned him selection at left-back for the Irish War Team, which was "virtually an international eleven", that drew 0-0 with a Billy McCracken led English War Team in a charity match at Windsor Park in October 1918. In November 1919 Mills was selected at right-back for Ireland's first post-war amateur international and he captained the team the following year.

A cabinet maker by trade, Mills lived on Devonshire Street in the Falls area of Belfast before moving to Palestine Street in the "Holylands". He married Mary Elizabeth Allen on 16th November 1911 at Ballynafeigh Methodist Church.

Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
15-11-1919 England. A L 0-5
13-11-1920 England. H L 0-4
08-02-1921 France.. A W 2-1

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

Other Representative Appearance Details:
12-10-1918 Irish War Team-English War Team H D 0-0

Two medals collected by Robert Mills during his playing career. The first is from the Amateur international against France in 1921 awarded by the Fédération Française de Football Association (FFFA) (now the Fédération Française de Football (FFF)). The second is a Beattie Cup winner's medal awarded to Mills in 1911/12 while he played for Dromore United.

Picture and career details courtesy of an ISN profile forwarded by Jim Murphy. Medal pictures and personal details kindly supplied by Mills' great-grandson, Philip.

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