Simon Mills (footballer)
|Full name||Simon Ashley Mills|
|Date of birth||16 August 1964|
|Place of birth||Sheffield, England|
|Playing position||Right-back / Midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Simon Ashley Mills (born 16 August 1964) is an English former footballer who played as a defender; he was described by Jeff Kent as "skilful and adaptable". He made 288 league appearances in a ten-year career in the Football League.
He began his career with local club Sheffield Wednesday in 1982, before moving on to York City three years later. Voted Clubman of the Year in 1986, he was sold on to Port Vale for £35,000 in December 1987. He helped the "Valiants" to win promotion out of the Third Division via the play-offs in 1989, before injuries forced him to leave the professional game in May 1994. He later attempted comebacks with Boston United and Matlock Town.
Born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Mills started his career with Sheffield Wednesday in 1982. He failed to earn a first team spot at Hillsborough, particularly following the "Owls" ascent to the First Division in 1983–84 under Howard Wilkinson's stewardship. He moved on to York City in June 1985. Denis Smith's "Minstermen" finished 7th in the Third Division in 1985–86, and Mills was voted Clubman of the Year. However a decline at Bootham Crescent saw the club slip to 20th in 1986–87, and Smith was replaced by Bobby Saxton. Mills was snapped up by John Rudge's Port Vale for £35,000 in December 1987. York went on to finish in the relegation places in 1987–88.
Rudge converted Mills from a midfielder to a right-back. He made 19 Third Division appearances in 1987–88, scoring five goals. He played 55 games in 1988–89, playing in partnership first with fellow centre-backs Phil Sproson and Bob Hazell (who both struggled with injuries) and later Gary West and Dean Glover (who were signed mid-season), alongside full-backs Alan Webb and Darren Hughes, in front of goalkeeper Mark Grew. This proved to be the most successful defence in the division, conceding just 48 goals in 46 league games. However a third-place finish meant that they had to overcome Bristol Rovers 2–1 over two legs in the play-off final, with Robbie Earle hitting both goals. Mills missed just one Second Division game in 1989–90, forming a formidable defensive partnership with Glover. He played 45 games in 1990–91, as Vale retained their second tier status. He played 40 games in the 1991–92 relegation season, scoring twice, and helped the club to win the TNT Tournament in the summer. However in autumn 1992 he developed knee trouble and underwent a series of unsuccessful operations, limiting him to just three league appearances in 1992–93. He was given a free transfer in May 1994. After retiring as a professional, he later attempted a comeback with Northern Premier League Premier Division sides Boston United and Matlock Town.
Style of play
Mills was an excellent set-piece taker.
- Port Vale
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 200. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
- Earle, Robbie (20 September 2012). "Micky Adams must take credit for building an attacking squad". The Sentinel. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- Baggaley, Michael (5 October 2013). "Chris Lines in good company when it comes to taking free-kicks". The Sentinel. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- "Vale heroes completed mission thanks to MBE". The Sentinel. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 31 October 2009.