Should the Imps swoop for Miller?

Easy now, before I hear all the ‘been there, done that’, I’m not talking about Ricky.

The prolific Dover striker might be up for grabs this summer, but if we’re wanting to take a new centre forward who was once scoring for fun but has recently struggled, why not go for John Akinde instead? Ricky Miller is yesterday’s news, just like arguing with Chris Kinnear, Jack Muldoon’s future and how best to attract fans to an empty Sincil Bank.

The Miller I will argue for us signing is Tom Miller, a former Imp and perhaps a step back in time for some, but still a player I believe could do a job for us. He’s just been released by Carlisle after three seasons, a move met by surprise within their fan base.

David Holdsworth was the Imps manager who something he liked in Newport’s Tom Miller. It might have been the gigantic throw he had, meaning anything in line with the 18-yard area was as good as a corner. Certainly when he first joined that was the element to his repertoire that fans first noted.

I think David Holdsworth saw more in young Tom though. After coming through the ranks at Norwich City he earned himself a move to Glasgow Rangers, but injury robbed him of a chance to make an impression. He wound up in the Blue Square Premier desperately looking for a route back. After thirty-odd outings for Newport he was on the move, and he arrived at a club in turmoil. The Imps, it is fair to say, were on their arse. Knocked out of the FA Trophy in humiliating fashion by Carshalton, in danger of back to back relegations and now a playing squad cobbled together as best as we could manage.

Miller’s City debut came on March 24th, 2012. It was a significant date as a protest took place outside the dressing room area. Fans clamoured for the dismissal of ‘Reg’, the removal of the board, anything they felt was dragging their club down. The atmosphere was vitriolic, hateful and unsettling.

The opponents were ironically Newport County, the side that had already beaten us 1-0 a couple of months before. Miller started the game alongside such illustrious names as Peter Bore, Mark McCammon, Jake Sheridan and Jefferson Louis. It is fair to say his debut came at an ultimate low for the club, separated from the fan base, struggling to buy a goal and falling towards a trapdoor we would struggle to recover from.

Miller didn’t score, but John Nutter and Mark McCammon did as we won 2-0. Miller played in the centre of defence with Nutter and right-back and Paul Robson on the left, and for once we looked balanced. Before that game we’d lost three on the bounce, including a terrible 2-1 defeat at Bath City. We had kept just two clean sheets in 13 games, one of which came against Carshalton. It wasn’t a classic side and it wasn’t easy for a player to stand out, but Miller did help steady the defence. He was mainly noticed for his long throw, but also for the way he handled himself against his former team mates.

Three days later we played Hayes and Yeading, and City won again making survival a real possibility. Jefferson Louis gave us a 1-0 lead on 68 minutes before Pele of all people drew Hayes level. We were in the relegation battle with them and a win would be beyond crucial. Just three minutes after the equaliser, Tom Miller grabbed the winning goal. Two victories from two outings, and City were on the road to recovery.

Those two wins were pivotal in the history of the Imps. Had we lost those games relegation would have been highly likely, and from there we would have struggled to come back. David Holdsworth lost his job the following season, and Gary Simpson came in. He started to put together a squad of players we actually owned, restoring the team togetherness. I firmly believe those few days in March 2012 were the turning point, albeit a long and slow turning point, and Tom Miller played a crucial role in that.

Continued

2 Comments

  1. Why go for a league 2 reject when we are heading for the championship ? We now need players of Neal Eardleys quality !

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