Gary Mills (footballer, born 1961)

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Gary Mills
Mills, Gary.jpg
Mills in 2009
Personal information
Full name Gary Roland Mills[1]
Date of birth (1961-11-11) 11 November 1961 (age 52)[1]
Place of birth Northampton, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Playing position Defender / Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Gateshead (manager)
Youth career
000?–1978 Nottingham Forest
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1982 Nottingham Forest 58 (8)
1982–1983 Seattle Sounders 34 (5)
1982–1983 Derby County (loan) 18 (2)
1983–1987 Nottingham Forest 74 (4)
1987–1989 Notts County 75 (8)
1989–1994 Leicester City 200 (15)
1994–1996 Notts County 47 (0)
1996–1998 Grantham Town
1998 Gresley Rovers 7 (0)
1998–2000 King's Lynn 67 (3)
2000–2001 Boston United 8 (0)
2001–2002 Tamworth 41 (2)
2005 Glapwell
2005–2007 Alfreton Town 24 (0)
2007–2010 Tamworth 3 (0)
Total 656 (47)
National team
1978–1979 England U18 2 (0)
1981 England U21 2 (0)
Teams managed
1996–1998 Grantham Town
1998–2000 King's Lynn
2001–2002 Tamworth
2004 Notts County
2005–2007 Alfreton Town
2007–2010 Tamworth
2010–2013 York City
2013– Gateshead
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gary Roland Mills (born 11 November 1961) is an English former professional footballer who is the current manager of Gateshead.

Mills started his career with Nottingham Forest and he became the club's youngest league player after making his first team debut at the age of 16 in 1978. He played in the victorious 1980 European Cup Final, which made him the youngest finalist in European Cup history. He left the club in 1982 to join American team the Seattle Sounders and during his period with them he had a loan at Derby County. He returned to Forest in 1983 and left for rivals Notts County in 1987 having made over 130 league appearances over his two spells at the club. Mills then joined Leicester City in 1989, with whom he made 200 league appearances and helped win promotion to the FA Premier League in 1994. He subsequently returned to County and after leaving in 1996 he had made over 120 league appearances for the club over two spells.

He started his managerial career as player-manager with Grantham Town in 1996 and after leading the team to the Southern League Midland Division title in his second season Mills left following the club's takeover by a local businessman. He subsequently had a spell as player-manager at King's Lynn from 1998 to 2000, which was brought to an end after he resigned. He was appointed player-manager of Tamworth in 2001 but left in 2002 to take over as first team coach at Coventry City. Mills was handed his first managerial role in the Football League with Notts County in 2004, but was sacked later that year several months after the club was relegated. Having been appointed Alfreton Town manager in 2005 he returned to Tamworth in 2007, although he was unable to prevent the club being relegated. He led Tamworth to the Conference North title in 2009 and left the club in 2010 to become York manager. In his first full season in charge, Mills oversaw York's victories in the FA Trophy and Conference play-offs in 2012, thus winning promotion to League Two. However, he was sacked in 2013, with York sitting four points above the relegation zone.

Club career[edit]

Nottingham Forest[edit]

Born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, Mills played for a local village team before being spotted by a Nottingham Forest scout at the age of 11, and by age 14 he had broken into their reserve team.[2] He started his senior career at Forest under the management of Brian Clough and he made his first team debut in a 2–1 victory at home to Arsenal in the First Division on 9 September 1978, and in doing so became Forest's youngest league player at the age of 16 years and 203 days.[3][4][5] He signed a professional contract with Forest on 13 November 1978 after serving his apprenticeship.[1] Despite not participating in the 1979 European Cup Final, Mills became the youngest player to win the European Cup at the age of 17 years and 201 days on the virtue of having appeared in the competition that season.[6] He finished the 1978–79 season, his first as a first team player, with six appearances and one goal.[7]

Owing to an injury to Trevor Francis he started in the 1–0 victory over Hamburger SV in the 1980 European Cup Final as an 18-year-old, which made him the youngest player to appear in a European Cup final.[8] Having made 58 league appearances and scored eight goals between 1978 and 1982, Mills left Forest to join North American Soccer League team the Seattle Sounders in March 1982.[4][9]

Seattle Sounders and Derby County loan[edit]

After completing the 1982 North American Soccer League season with five goals from 31 appearances Mills returned to England after signing for Forest's local rivals Derby County on loan on 13 October 1982.[1][10] He played 23 games and scored two goals for Derby before returning with the Sounders for the 1983 season, in which he made three appearances.[10][11]

Return to Nottingham Forest[edit]

Mills returned to England by rejoining his former club Nottingham Forest for a second spell in March 1983.[9] Like the first time round, Mills was a Forest player for four years, spanning from 1983 until 1987, making 78 league appearances and scoring four goals.[9]

Notts County[edit]

After calling time on his Forest career, Mills was once again on the move, this time to Forest's neighbours Notts County on 14 August 1987.[1] He was there for just under two seasons before joining Leicester City on 2 March 1989, having made 96 appearances and scored nine goals for County.[1]

Leicester City[edit]

Mills made his Leicester debut in a 1–0 victory at home to Walsall on 4 March and was part of Leicester's midfield for five years, making 232 appearances and scoring on 16 occasions.[1][4] He was part of the team that won promotion to the FA Premier League through the First Division play-offs in the 1993–94 season, as well as finishing the 1991–92 and 1992–93 seasons as play-off runners-up. He became a fans favourite during his time at Leicester, winning the Player of the Year award twice: once in 1989–90 and again in 1991–92.[12]

Return to Notts County[edit]

Having made one Premier League appearance for Leicester, Mills made a return to Notts County on 26 September 1994 after re-signing for a fee of £50,000.[4] He picked up his last playing honour here as he was part of the team that won the Anglo-Italian Cup in the 1994–95 season, which he finished with 43 appearances.[13] Mills started the 1995–96 season as County's first-choice right-back before losing his place to Tommy Gallagher.[1] He returned to action in November 1995, before his season was ended by a serious injury in December.[1] Mills was released by County at the end of season,[1] having made 20 appearances in his last campaign as a professional footballer.[14]

International career[edit]

Mills was capped by England at Schoolboy level before making his under-18 debut in a 1–0 victory over the Soviet Union on 10 October 1978.[1][15] He won his second and last cap in a 4–0 victory over Belgium on 17 January 1979.[15] Mills' debut for the under-21 team came in a 3–0 victory over Romania in a 1982 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualifier on 28 April 1981.[16] His second and last cap came in a 0–0 with Norway in a friendly on 8 September 1981.[16]

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

Grantham Town[edit]

Mills was appointed player-manager of Grantham Town in July 1996 and led the team to fourth place in the Southern League Midland Division in the 1996–97 season.[17][18] In the following season Mills managed Grantham to the Southern League Midland Division title but resigned a week later in May 1998 as the club's takeover by local businessman Reg Brearley resulted in budget cuts.[18][19] He had a short spell playing for Gresley Rovers in the Southern League Premier Division after signing in July 1998, making seven appearances for the club.[8][20]

King's Lynn[edit]

Mills took over at King's Lynn as player-manager in September 1998 and was sent off on his playing debut, which came in a 3–2 away defeat to Worcester City in a Southern League Premier Division match on 26 September.[21][22][23][24] He resigned from this post on 8 November 2000.[25] He returned to playing after signing for Football Conference club Boston United on 11 November 2000.[26]

Tamworth[edit]

Mills made eight appearances for Boston before being appointed player-manager of Southern League Premier Division side Tamworth on 12 January 2001.[26][27][28] He was not in charge for the following day's 3–0 home defeat to Boston in the FA Trophy, with Tim Steele continuing as caretaker manager for this match.[29][30][31] His first match as manager was a 2–2 home draw with Havant & Waterlooville on 20 January 2001, in which he played and scored.[29][32] After Tamworth missed out on promotion to the Football Conference on the final day of the 2001–02 season, finishing two points behind champions Kettering Town in the Southern League Premier Division, Mills left the club in May 2002 to become first team coach at First Division club Coventry City.[33][34]

Notts County[edit]

Mills replaced Bill Dearden as manager of Second Division side Notts County on 9 January 2004,[35] but despite an improvement in results he could not prevent the club's relegation to League Two. The 2004–05 season began disappointingly and Mills was sacked on 4 November 2004.[36] He made a return to playing with Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division team Glapwell in 2005.[37]

Alfreton Town[edit]

He was appointed manager of Conference North team Alfreton Town on a three-year contract on 25 May 2005,[38] becoming the first full-time manager in the club's history.[39] He made 26 appearances for the club between 2005 and 2006 as player-manager.[40][41]

Return to Tamworth[edit]

Mills left Alfreton to return to Tamworth, who at this time were in the Conference National, for a second spell as manager on 26 January 2007.[42] He joined with the team bottom of the table and following his appointment he said "It feels fantastic to be back. It is an amazing football club that means a lot to me".[43] However, he was unable to keep the club up, adding a second relegation to his managerial CV.[44]

Mills was named Conference North Manager of the Month for September 2008, with Tamworth achieving three straight league wins following a draw away at in-form Alfreton.[45] He won the award again for March 2009 after Tamworth were top of the table with five wins and two draws, including a 1–0 victory at title rivals Southport.[46] Mills led Tamworth to promotion back into the Conference Premier after winning the Conference North title in the 2008–09 season and this was confirmed with a 1–0 victory over local rivals Hinckley United on 21 April 2009.[47] The final game of that season against AFC Telford United saw Mills come out of retirement after he came on as a second half substitute for Alex Rodman. Mills received a standing ovation from the travelling faithful in the process.[48] After the end of the season he was named the Conference North Manager of the Year.[49]

York City[edit]

Mills before his first game in charge as York City manager on 16 October 2010

Mills left Tamworth after being appointed manager of fellow Conference Premier team York City on 13 October 2010.[50] Following his appointment, Mills said "It's a fantastic football club and one that I'm privileged to be manager of".[51] His first game in charge was a 1–1 draw at home to Bath City on 16 October 2010.[52] He was named Conference Manager of the Month for November after York went through an unbeaten period of seven matches.[53] Mills' York made a play-off charge from January onwards, averagely gaining the second largest number of points per game from January until May, and by mid-March had cemented themselves just below the play-off positions.[citation needed] However, defeats at home to Tamworth and away at Darlington denied them a play-off position.[citation needed]

Mills with the victory parade that followed York City's victory in the 2012 Conference Premier play-off Final

Mills made a statement of intent to win the Conference Premier title in the 2011–12 campaign.[citation needed] His York side won the 2012 FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium on 12 May, in which Newport County were beaten 2–0.[54] Eight days later Mills took his York side back to Wembley for the 2012 Conference Premier play-off Final on 20 May.[55] Following a 2–1 victory over Luton with goals from Ashley Chambers and Matty Blair, York were promoted to League Two, ending an eight-year exile from the Football League.[55]

Mills was sacked by York following a 2–0 defeat to Bradford City on 2 March 2013, leaving the club four points above the relegation zone after an 11-match run without a win.[56]

Gateshead[edit]

Mills returned to management with Conference Premier side Gateshead, signing a one-year rolling contract on 3 September 2013.[57] He was named Conference Premier Manager of the Month for October 2013 after winning all four league games during the month, conceding only one goal.[58] After guiding Gateshead to a third place finish in the league and a playoff final at Wembley Stadium, Mills was named Manager of the Year at the National Game Awards.[59]

Personal life[edit]

His father Roly was also a footballer.[8]

Playing statistics[edit]

Club statistics
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Nottingham Forest 1978–79[7] First Division 4 1 0 0 1 0 1[a] 0 0 0 6 1
1979–80[60] First Division 13 1 0 0 3 0 4[a] 0 20 1
1980–81[61] First Division 27 5 3 0 3 2 1[b] 0 34 7
1981–82[62] First Division 14 1 0 0 3 0 17 1
Total 58 8 3 0 10 2 6 0 0 0 77 10
Seattle Sounders 1982[10] NASL 31 5 31 5
1983[10] NASL 3 0 3 0
Total 34 5 34 5
Derby County (loan) 1982–83[11] Second Division 18 2 3 0 2 0 23 2
Nottingham Forest 1983–84[63] First Division 7 0 0 0 0 0 2[c] 0 9 0
1984–85[64] First Division 26 4 0 0 3 0 2[c] 0 31 4
1985–86[65] First Division 14 0 1 0 3 0 18 0
1986–87[66] First Division 27 0 1 0 5 1 33 1
Total 74 4 2 0 11 1 4 0 91 5
Notts County 1987–88[67] Third Division 46 5 3 0 2 0 9[d] 0 60 5
1988–89[68] Third Division 29 3 2 0 4 1 1[e] 0 36 4
Total 75 8 5 0 6 1 10 0 96 9
Leicester City 1988–89[69] Second Division 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
1989–90[70] Second Division 29 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 30 4
1990–91[71] Second Division 45 5 1 0 2 0 1[f] 0 49 5
1991–92[72] Second Division 46 6 2 0 4 1 9[g] 0 61 7
1992–93[73] First Division 43 0 2 0 3 0 5[h] 0 53 0
1993–94[74] First Division 23 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 25 0
1994–95[75] FA Premier League 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 200 15 7 0 10 1 15 0 232 16
Notts County 1994–95[13] First Division 34 0 2 0 3 0 4[i] 0 43 0
1995–96[14] Second Division 13 0 2 0 2 0 3[e] 0 20 0
Total 47 0 4 0 5 0 7 0 63 0
Gresley Rovers 1998–99[20] Southern League Premier Division 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
King's Lynn 1998–99[24] Southern League Premier Division 25 1 4 0 1[j] 0 30 1
1999–2000[76] Southern League Premier Division 28 1 2 0 4[k] 0 34 1
2000–01[77] Southern League Premier Division 14 1 2 0 0 0 16 1
Total 67 3 8 0 5 0 80 3
Boston United 2000–01[27] Football Conference 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
Tamworth 2000–01[30] Southern League Premier Division 16 2 0 0 0 0 16 2
2001–02[78] Southern League Premier Division 25 0 5 0 0 0 30 0
Total 41 2 5 0 0 0 46 2
Alfreton Town 2005–06[40] Conference North 20 0 0 0 1[j] 0 21 0
2006–07[41] Conference North 4 0 0 0 1[j] 0 5 0
Total 24 0 0 0 2 0 26 0
Tamworth 2008–09[79] Conference North 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2009–10[80] Conference Premier 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 0
2010–11[81] Conference Premier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 3 0 1 0 0 0 4 0
Career total 656 47 38 0 44 5 10 0 39 0 787 52
  1. ^ a b Appearance(s) in European Cup
  2. ^ Appearance in European Super Cup
  3. ^ a b Appearances in UEFA Cup
  4. ^ Seven appearance in Associate Members' Cup, two in Third Division play-offs
  5. ^ a b Appearance(s) in Associate Members' Cup
  6. ^ Appearance in Full Members Cup
  7. ^ Six appearances in Full Members Cup, three in Second Division play-offs
  8. ^ Two appearances in Anglo-Italian Cup, three in First Division play-offs
  9. ^ Appearances in Anglo-Italian Cup
  10. ^ a b c Appearance in FA Trophy
  11. ^ One appearance in FA Trophy, three in Southern League Cup

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 18 May 2014.
Team From To Record Ref
G W D L Win %
Grantham Town July 1996 May 1998 102 62 16 24 60.8 [82]
King's Lynn September 1998 8 November 2000 106 45 30 31 42.5 [23][24][76][77]
Tamworth 12 January 2001 May 2002 71 40 20 11 56.3 [30][78]
Notts County 9 January 2004 4 November 2004 40 10 11 19 25.0 [83]
Alfreton Town 25 May 2005 26 January 2007 76 21 27 28 27.6 [84]
Tamworth 26 January 2007 13 October 2010 189 75 50 64 40.3 [85]
York City 13 October 2010 2 March 2013 136 58 45 33 42.6 [83]
Gateshead 3 September 2013 Present 48 24 14 10 50.0 [86]
Total 768 335 213 220 43.6

Honours[edit]

As a player[edit]

Nottingham Forest

Notts County

Individual

As a manager[edit]

Grantham Town

Tamworth

York City

Individual

  • Conference North Manager of the Year: 2008–09
  • Conference North Manager of the Month: September 2008, March 2009
  • Conference Premier Manager of the Month: November 2010, October 2013
  • National Game Awards Manager of the Year: 2013–14

References[edit]

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  86. ^ "Gateshead FC – Fixtures & Results". Gateshead F.C. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 

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