Willie Miller

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Willie Miller
Personal information
Full name William Ferguson Miller[1]
Date of birth (1955-05-02) 2 May 1955 (age 62)
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[2]
Playing position Central defender
Youth career
1969–1971 Eastercraigs Boys Club
1971–1973 Aberdeen
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1990 Aberdeen 560 (21)
1971–1972 Peterhead
National team
1977 Scotland under-21 2 (0)
1974–1976 Scotland under-23 9 (0)
1975–1989 Scotland 65 (1)
1976 Scottish League XI 1 (0)
Teams managed
1992–1995 Aberdeen
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William Ferguson Miller, MBE (born 2 May 1955 in Glasgow) is a former professional football player and manager who made a club record 560 league appearances for Aberdeen. Sir Alex Ferguson described Miller as "the best penalty box defender in the world".[3]

Club career[edit]

Miller was raised in the Bridgeton area of Glasgow. He had little interest in football as a young child, and when he did become drawn to the game he played initially as a goalkeeper.[1] He was scouted by several professional clubs while playing as a forward with Glasgow Schools and Eastercraigs Boys Club.[4][2]

Having been on unofficial schoolboy terms in 1969, Miller signed full-time for Aberdeen in 1971 at the age of 16 and spent a season on loan with Peterhead in the Highland League, scoring 24 goals;[5] upon his return he was converted to a central defender/sweeper in the reserves on the advice of Teddy Scott,[4] established himself in that position in the first team in place of Henning Boel,[1][2] and by 1975 had been made captain by manager Ally McLeod.

Miller's central defensive partnership with Alex McLeish was integral to Aberdeen's success in the 1980s, as they won all the major domestic honours and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983. He made at least 40 appearances for Aberdeen in 14 consecutive seasons,[2] amassing a total of 12 trophies won as well as appearing in several other finals.

He retired from playing in 1990 due to an injury picked up whilst playing for Scotland.[4] In 2003, Willie Miller was voted the greatest Aberdeen player of all time in a poll to mark the club's centenary.[6] In 2015 it was no surprise when he was named in Aberdeen's 'greatest ever team' by supporters of the club.[7]

International career[edit]

Having appeared at under-21[8] and under-23[9] level, Miller won 65 full international caps for Scotland between 1975 and 1989, scoring one goal. His 50th cap came against West Germany during the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[2] His international career was effectively ended by an injury suffered during the last game of 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification.[citation needed] Although he did not play in the 1990 FIFA World Cup finals, Miller was presented with the match ball from Scotland's 1–0 loss to Brazil to thank him for his contribution to Scottish football.[citation needed]

He was an inaugural inductee to the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2004,[10] and is also on the International Roll of Honour. In 2010, Miller was chosen as one of the eleven members of Scotland's Greatest Team, by viewers of the Scottish Television documentary series, which sought the fans' opinion on the best Scotland players since the 1960s.[11] Viewers also chose Alex McLeish as his central defence partner.

Managerial career[edit]

In February 1992, he was appointed Aberdeen manager, replacing the sacked Alex Smith. Despite two second-place finishes in the league and two losing cup finals, Miller was sacked in February 1995.

In May 2004, Miller was appointed to the Aberdeen board and given executive responsibility for football. He played a large role in the appointment of Jimmy Calderwood (a friend from Glasgow Schools days)[1] as manager.[12]

In June 2011, he was appointed as Aberdeen's Director of Football Development, with the responsibility of finding new playing talent for the club.[13]

Career outside football[edit]

Miller has worked for the BBC, particularly for Radio Scotland, as a football commentator and analyst. He has written two autobiographies, The Miller's Tale and The Don, the latter being published in 2007.[14] His third book, Willie Miller's Aberdeen Dream Team, was published in 2011.

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

[1]

Club Season League Scot Cup Lge Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Aberdeen 1972–73 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1973–74 31 1 1 0 9 0 4 0 46 0
1974–75 34 1 4 1 6 0 0 0 44 2
1975–76 36 0 2 1 6 0 0 0 44 1
1976–77 36 0 3 0 8 0 0 0 47 0
1977–78 36 2 6 0 6 0 2 0 50 2
1978–79 34 0 5 1 8 0 4 0 51 1
1979–80 31 1 5 1 8 0 2 0 46 2
1980–81 33 2 1 0 6 0 4 0 44 2
1981–82 36 0 6 0 10 0 6 0 58 0
1982–83 36 2 5 0 8 0 11 1 60 3
1983–84 34 2 7 1 9 1 10 0 60 4
1984–85 35 3 6 0 1 0 2 0 43 3
1985–86 33 1 6 1 6 0 6 1 51 3
1986–87 36 2 3 0 2 0 2 0 43 2
1987–88 42 3 6 0 5 0 4 0 57 3
1988–89 22 1 0 0 5 2 2 0 29 3
1989–90 15 0 0 0 5 0 2 0 22 0
1990–91 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Career total 560 21 66 6 109 3 61 2 797 32

International[edit]

[15]

Scotland national team
Year Apps Goals
1975 1 0
1978 1 0
1979 1 0
1980 6 1
1981 7 0
1982 5 0
1983 9 0
1984 6 0
1985 8 0
1986 8 0
1987 4 0
1988 7 0
1989 2 0
Total 65 1

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.[16]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 21 May 1980 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Wales 1–0 1–0 1979–80 British Home Championship

Managerial statistics[edit]

[17]

Team From To Record
P W L D Win %
Aberdeen February 1992 February 1995 155 72 50 33 46.45

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Aberdeen

Manager[edit]

Aberdeen

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Miller, Willie (2013). Willie Miller - The Don. Birlinn. ISBN 9780857905505. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Dark Blue Dons: Willie Miller". AFC Heritage Trust. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Harry Reid (2005), The Final Whistle?, Birlinn, 237–8 ISBN 1-84158-362-6
  4. ^ a b c Miller, Willie (2011). Willie Miller's Aberdeen Dream Team. Black & White Publishing. ISBN 9781845024031. 
  5. ^ "10 things about Peterhead". Scottish Professional Football League. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "Miller is greatest Don". BBC Sport. 13 May 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "AFC Greatest Ever XI: Goalkeeper & Defenders". Official website. Aberdeen F.C. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Scotland U21 profile". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Scotland U23 profile". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Hall of Fame Dinner 2004". Scottish Football Museum. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "TV review: Scotland's Greatest Team". The Scotsman. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "Aberdeen target Calderwood". BBC Sport. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Willie Miller becomes director of football at Aberdeen". BBC Sport. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Miller reveals football memories". BBC Sport. BBC. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  15. ^ Willie Miller at National-Football-Teams.com
  16. ^ SFA profile
  17. ^ "Aberdeen manager Willie Miller". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 

External links[edit]