Tony Millington

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Tony Millington
Personal information
Full name Anthony Horace Millington
Date of birth (1943-06-05)5 June 1943
Place of birth Hawarden, Wales
Date of death 5 August 2015(2015-08-05) (aged 72)
Place of death North Wales
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Connah's Quay Nomads
Sutton Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1964 West Bromwich Albion 40 (0)
1964–1966 Crystal Palace 16 (0)
1966–1969 Peterborough United 118 (0)
1969–1974 Swansea City 178 (0)
1974–1975 Glenavon
National team
Wales Under-23 4 (0)
1962–1971 Wales 21 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Anthony Horace Millington (5 June 1943 – 5 August 2015) was a Welsh footballer who played as a goalkeeper for West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Peterborough United and Swansea City in the 1960s and 1970s and made 21 international appearances for Wales. His career ended in 1975 following a car accident and he later became the disability officer at Wrexham A.F.C.. He was the brother of Grenville Millington, who played in goal for Rhyl and Chester.[1]

Football career[edit]

Club career[edit]

Millington was born in Hawarden, Flintshire, and played football for his school side and represented his county. After playing for various local clubs, he joined West Bromwich Albion as a trainee in July 1959.[2]

He made his first-team debut for Albion on 30 September 1961, taking over from Ray Potter in a 2–2 draw at home to Manchester City.[1] He retained the goalkeeper's jersey for the remainder of the 1961–62 season but the following year he and Potter "shared" the jersey. His final game for the "Baggies" came on 16 March 1963 at Molineux, when he played in the absence of the injured Potter against Wolverhampton Wanderers, conceding seven goals.[1][3] Millington spent the next 18 months in the reserves before he was transferred to Crystal Palace in October 1964.[4]

After two seasons at Selhurst Park, Millington was sold to Peterborough United in March 1966[4] along with Derek Kevan[5] for a combined fee of £15,000.[2] At Peterborough, he replaced Willie Duff, making his debut on 1 October 1966 in a 5–2 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion.[6] He soon became established as the first choice goalkeeper and made 118 league appearances over three years before moving to Wales to join Swansea Town for a £5,000 fee in July 1969.[7]

Millington was a "key figure"[8] as Swansea gained promotion from the Fourth Division in 1970. In January 1971, Swansea (now "City") met Rhyl in the Third Round of the FA Cup; in goal for Rhyl was Millington's younger brother, Grenville.[2] The match ended 6–1 in favour of Swansea, who then went on to meet Liverpool in the next round, going down 3–0.[9]

By 1973, Millington was out of favour with Swansea's manager Harry Gregg, who brought in a succession of goalkeepers on loan, the most successful being Jimmy Rimmer from Manchester United.[10]

International career[edit]

Millington made his international debut when he took the place of Newcastle United's David Hollins for the British Home Championship match against Scotland at Ninian Park on 20 October 1962. Despite "doing well", Millington conceded three goals with Wales only scoring twice in reply.[11] He retained his shirt for the next two matches, against Hungary and England, both of which ended in defeats.[1]

Throughout his international career, Millington was generally the second-choice keeper firstly behind Hollins and then Gary Sprake of Leeds United.[12] On 30 May 1965, he replaced Hollins, who was suffering from food poisoning, in a World Cup qualifying match at Moscow's Central Lenin Stadium against the Soviet Union. Wales went down 2–1, with Graham Williams turning the ball past Millington for the hosts' second goal, thus destroying Wales's hopes of qualifying.[13]

International appearances[edit]

Millington made 21 appearances for Wales in official international matches, as follows:[14]

Date Venue Opponent Result[15] Goals Competition
20 October 1962 Ninian Park, Cardiff  Scotland 2–3 0 1963 British Home Championship
7 November 1962 Népstadion, Budapest  Hungary 1–3 0 Euro 1964 qualifying
21 November 1962 Wembley Stadium, London  England 0–4 0 1963 British Home Championship
18 November 1964 Wembley Stadium, London  England 1–2 0 1965 British Home Championship
30 May 1965 Central Lenin Stadium, Moscow  Soviet Union 1–2 0 1966 World Cup qualifying
18 May 1966 Mineirão, Belo Horizonte  Brazil 0–1 0 Friendly
22 May 1966 Estadio Nacional, Santiago  Chile 0–2 0 Friendly
16 November 1966 Wembley Stadium, London  England 1–5 0 1967 British Home Championship
12 April 1967 Windsor Park, Belfast  Northern Ireland 0–0 0 1967 British Home Championship
28 February 1968 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham  Northern Ireland 2–0 0 1968 British Home Championship
8 May 1968 Ninian Park, Cardiff  West Germany 1–1 0 Friendly
23 October 1968 Ninian Park, Cardiff  Italy 0–1 0 1970 World Cup qualifying
16 April 1969 Heinz-Steyer-Stadion, Dresden  East Germany 1–2 0 1970 World Cup qualifying
18 April 1970 Ninian Park, Cardiff  England 1–1 0 1970 British Home Championship
22 April 1970 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Scotland 0–0 0 1970 British Home Championship
25 April 1970 Vetch Field, Swansea  Northern Ireland 1–0 0 1970 British Home Championship
21 April 1971 Vetch Field, Swansea  Czechoslovakia 1–3 0 Euro 1972 qualifying
26 May 1971 Olympiastadion, Helsinki  Finland 1–0 0 Euro 1972 qualifying
13 October 1971 Vetch Field, Swansea  Finland 3–0 0 Euro 1972 qualifying
27 October 1971 Letenský stadion, Prague  Czechoslovakia 0–1 0 Euro 1972 qualifying
24 November 1971 Stadionul 23. August, Bucharest  Romania 0–2 0 Euro 1972 qualifying
Win Draw Loss


Described as a "brave goalkeeper (who was) full of agility, had a safe pair of hands and a useful kick",[2] Millington was also a "showman" who "saw himself as an entertainer"[1] whose maxim was that "if something couldn't be done with spectacular style, it wasn't worth doing at all".[16] Often he would make a save with a "spectacular" dive, rather than something simpler.[10]

"Milly", as he was known, was popular with the fans who saw him as "a one-man entertainment".[16] During quiet periods in a match, he would leave his goal and "cadge sweets from children" in the crowd[16] or take and eat a pie[17] from supporters. Being superstitious, he was unable to watch penalty kicks being taken at the far end of the pitch and would kneel in the goalmouth with his back to the action. When his team scored a goal, he would often celebrate with a handstand in his penalty area.[16]

Legend has it that during his time at Swansea:

Warming up before the game, he suddenly chased off the field only to return carrying a chair. He’d spotted an elderly supporter on crutches in the crowd and ushered him into the disabled supporters' enclosure and sat him down to watch the game.[1]

An old Swans fan once reported that one of Tony's party-pieces to entertain kids behind the goal was to swing on the crossbar monkey-style. He stopped doing this when this distraction caused him to miss a back pass and conceded an own goal.

Later career and death[edit]

Millington left the Football League in the summer of 1974 and moved to Northern Ireland to work in his father-in-law's business, turning out occasionally for Glenavon.[2] His football career was ended by a car crash in 1975; his injuries resulted him being wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life[2] and in need of constant care.[18] He settled in Wrexham where he helped found a club for Wrexham Football Club's disabled supporters,[2] going on to become the football club's disability officer.[19][20] He died on 5 August 2015 at the age of 72.[21]




  1. ^ a b c d e f "Tony Millington". Old Baggies. West Bromwich Albion's Former Players Association. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Davies, Gareth; Garland, Ian (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. Bridge Books. p. 141. ISBN 1-872424-11-2.
  3. ^ Matthews, Tony (14 September 2006). "Albion crushed by wonderful Wolves". Black Country Bugle. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Tony Millington". Crystal Palace career. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Derek Kevan". Crystal Palace career. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Tony Millington". Matches for. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Tony Millington". Career history. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Tony Millington". Past players. Swansea City FC. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  9. ^ Collett, Mike (2003). The Complete Record of the FA Cup. Sports Books. p. 594. ISBN 1-899807-19-5.
  10. ^ a b "Garbo" (4 March 2003). "Master of Reality". Swansea City FC. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Scotland supreme, but learn some lessons from Wales". 20 October 1962. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Goalkeepers (in chronological order)". 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  13. ^ Self, Janine (November 2003). "My Moscow misery". The Sun. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  14. ^ Samuel, Bill (2009). The Complete Wales FC 1876–2008. Soccer Books. pp. 46–55. ISBN 1-86223-176-1.
  15. ^ Wales score first
  16. ^ a b c d "Garbo" (17 December 2003). "Villa on the Coast". Swansea City FC. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  17. ^ Peregrine, Chris (14 April 2011). "Mod looks bring John back to the good days". This is SouthWales. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  18. ^ Denholm, Emma (16 May 2011). "Wembley goal sees hopes for play-off win reach fever pitch". This is South Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  19. ^ Wright, Simon. "Where are they now?". West Bromwich Albion. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  20. ^ "Disabled spaces". The Racecourse Ground. Unofficial Wrexham FC. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  21. ^

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