I’m quite enjoying this series; it always seems to get a good debate going.
Therefore, as we have a trip to Carlisle United tomorrow night, I thought I’d find another player for you to enjoy. This time, it isn’t a horror story either; it’s a player I’m sure many of you recollect fondly; Tom Miller.
Looking back, it is easy to think David Holdsworth had a habit of signing relatively poor players from other non-league clubs during his reign as manager. That isn’t entirely true; he worked on a very tight budget and attracted at least two players many rate to this day; one was former Carlisle keeper Paul Farman, the other also had Cumbrians links – Tom Miller.
When he first signed for the club, Miller was billed as a centre back with a devastating long throw. He had started his career as a youth with Norwich City, and been on the books of Rangers. His stint there was blighted by injury; he damaged his cruciate ligament and broke bones in both of his feet. That stopped him from progressing at Ibrox, but he did get a loan spell with Brechin City, weather limiting him to a single game. After that he went to Dundalk, where he got Europa League football before Newport snapped him up.
It was from the Exiles he joined City, albeit on loan at first. It wasn’t easy coming into the club back then; you had to work hard to avoid being just another faceless import and export on the conveyor belt that was our first-team squad. Tom did that; he played a handful of games at the end of the woeful 2011/12 season, scoring a winner at Hayes and Yeading which went a long way towards keeping us up.
Upon completion of his loan spell, the management had seen enough to want him back at the Bank. He duly signed from Newport on a permanent deal in the summer and went on to reveal he was so much more than a big throw. He settled at right-back for City and through turbulent times emerged as a consistent and talented player who was fully committed to the red and white of Lincoln. He produced his best football once Holdsworth departed and was voted Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season. Once Gary Simpson left he continued adding value to the side and even earned Chris Moyses six points early into his reign with goals at home against Dartford and Southport to give us back to back 1-0 wins.
The more he played the better he got and it came as no surprise at all when he opted to join League Two side Carlisle United upon completion of his contract. Nobody could fault Tom’s efforts during a tough era in Lincoln City history, and no fans begrudged him his move up to the Football League. He left the club having started 109 National League games, and having played a crucial part in our steady evolution. He was one figure that truly brought the connection between fans and players back, and he earned a lot of respect in doing so.
He spent three years at Carlisle and played alongside another former Imp, Derek Asamoah. In fact, him and Asamoah grabbed all three goals as they beat Barnet 3-2 in 2015, He also played a key role in the EFL Cup game against Liverpool. a game that ended 1-1 and was decided on penalties.
The Cumbrians released him in 2018, and despite a clamour from some sections of the Imps support to return here, he wound up at Bury on a two-year deal. He only played 15 times for them as they finished behind us in League Two, with just three league starts. A short stint at Fylde followed their expulsion from the league, and as of last season he was appearing for Radcliffe Borough.