Forgotten Footballers Edition 1: Liam Miller
Born on 13th February 1981 in Cork, Ireland, from a young age Liam Miller was dubbed at the “next Roy Keane”, a fellow Cork boy. It couldn’t have gone any differently really could it?
At the age of 16, Miller was handed his first professional contract, at Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic. He didn’t break into the first team until 2001, at 20 years old, when he made his debut but didn’t stick around and was loaned out to Danish side AGF Aarhus for the remainder of the season. It wasn’t until the 2003-04 season when Miller would break into, and stay in the Celtic side. A top season in Scotland, competing in the Champions League as well as winning the SPL title. He smelled the glory, and when Manchester United offered the youngster a contract, he left Celtic and moved south to one of the best sides in world football, due to the Bosman ruling. This only added to his “next Roy Keane” tag, and he couldn’t shake it away. Would he be a success at United? He scored early on in his Manchester United career, in a league cup tie against lower league Crewe Alexandra, but never made a real impression on the Premier League, making just nine appearances, and becoming one of the laughing stocks of the league. Despite this, Miller managed to get himself into the Irish national team at this point, making his international debut against Czech Republic in March 2004. After a loan spell at Leeds to try and resurrect his career, Miller found himself on the way to Sunderland after Sir Alex Ferguson called a halt on his United career.
This would prove to be another tough chapter of Miller’s career. Joining Sunderland, and teaming up with Roy Keane, the man he was supposed to replace would prove too tricky for Miller. His inconsistent performances followed by a falling out with Keane say him placed on the transfer list on 27th February 2008, after two years at the club. It took nearly a year without playing and a change in manager at Sunderland for Miller to finally leave the Stadium of Light. He joined QPR on a 6 month deal until the end of the season in January 2009, and after 13 league appearances, Miller was released and that was the end of his career in England. This would also see the end of his international career, with 21 appearances to his name, Miller didn’t get close to the 67 Roy Keane amassed in his career. Very few people know where Miller went after this, and what he did with his career.
After offering his services around, Miller found himself facing a return to Scotland, but not with boyhood Celtic, but this time with Hibernian. Having offered his services around, after 2 and a half months, Hibernian were the only interested party and signed himself a two year deal. His first season back in Scotland went well, and many wondered how a player playing so well couldn’t make it at Championship level down in England. His second season was a totally different story, and when Hibs’ form dropped , manager John Collins lost his job and new manager Colin Calderwood brought in three new midfielders and Miller, once again, was shown the door. August 2011, now 30, Miller was on the move again.
Australia. An emerging league now, but three years ago is was empty. Miller joined Perth Glory on a two year deal, but injured himself in pre-season and only made 49 appearances across two seasons. He failed to earn himself a move back to England despite trials in numerous League One and Two teams, and ended up signing a two year deal for Brisbane Roar, the club he still plays for now. Despite coming towards the end of his career, this is probably the most successful spell of his career, earning himself a spot in the inaugural A League All Stars squad and starting against Manchester United, the side which ironically could have changed his career. Now 33, Liam Miller insists he never regretted joining Manchester United and that he was just one of many who didn’t live up to expectation. He currently has no plans to retire and is enjoying life in Brisbane, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?
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