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PersonalFullname: Liam Miller
Born: 13 Feb 1981
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Signed: 28 Oct 1997
Left: 1 July 2004
International Caps: 20 caps
International Goals: 1 goal
Liam Miller on paper seemed like a great fit for Celtic. A talented player with good pace and stamina, many saw a good future for him at Celtic.
A promising youngster, Liam Miller had been farmed out to ex-Celt Mark Reiper's Aarhuus side in Denmark in 2001 along with another young Irish Celt, Mike Doyle.
The high point of his career with Celtic was definitely his goal for Celtic against Lyon in 2003, where he was the final man at the end of a magnificent 24 passing sequence by Celtic of a kind many of us thought could never be achieved by an SPL team, let alone by us against European opposition.
On various occasions, if the team needed a boost the cry for "Miller time" (a pun on a popular beer's advertising catchline) was called for to help out. Fellow players had pointed him out for the future.
Along with Maloney, Marshall and Kennedy, Liam was expected to be the heart of the young team that would be Celtic's future. In the Autumn of 2003 he broke through with a fine performance in the 1-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox and two weeks later he was a stand out with two goals in the 5-0 thrashing of Hearts. He had several outstanding games in Europe, scoring another spectacular goal against Anderlecht and Martin O'Neill came under fire for not playing him in the crucial Champions League defeat in Lyon in December 2003.
The main problem was that he was injury prone, which held back his career and when the crunch time came for contract negotiations, a variety of events and issues led to his move to Man U (the club he supported as a boy), simply he was poached. Man U were willing to pay him higher and for a longer contract, and we weren't willing to (due to his continuous injuries), and the result is viewed differently depending on which side you're on. In fairness, Celtic were likely a bit slack in tying him up on a good contract although it was reported that he had been offered a contract worth £20,000 per week in October and had stalled on it for three months. The resulting furore amongst Celtic fans about loyalty and so on didn't help the club, but his move thankfully did not affect us on the pitch (although a transfer fee would have been nice).
In the Spring of 2004 he was recalled into the squad and made a few appearances as substitute and was roundly jeered by a large section of the Celtic support. This was understandable as they were deeply aggrieved not at his leaving but in the manner of his leaving, especially as the club had supported him through his many injuries between the age of 16 and 21. The fans regarded this as an act of treason, some even branded him unnecessarily as a "Judas".
In any case, his move to Manchester Utd didn't work out and he moved on to Sunderland at the start of the 2006-07 season after a loan spell at Leeds. Despite starting well under the management of Roy Keane his performances soon fell away and he was moved on in January 2009. He took a short contract with QPR but was released at the end of the season. His international career was on the same kind of downward spiral.
In September 2009 he joined Hibernian as a free agent and recovered his career, however again that move didn't work out long-term and he moved on to Perth (Australia) in 2011.
A sad loss at the end of what was potentially a very good player for us. If only he had stayed at Celtic, he could have got himself more appearances, a longer run out and thus more experience to build on what was a precocious talent, but that's another story.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|QPR||15/01/2009||01/06/2009||Loan||11 (2)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Sunderland||31/08/2006|| ||Free||41 (16)||3||1 (0)||0||1 (1)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Leeds||04/11/2005||22/05/2006||Loan||26 (2)||1||2 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||3 (0)||0|
|Man Utd||01/07/2004||31/08/2006||Free||3 (6)||0||2 (2)||0||3 (0)||2||3 (3)||0|
|Aarhus||01/08/2001||31/12/2001||Loan||No appearance data available|
|Celtic||28/10/1997||01/07/2004||Signed||13 (13)||2||0 (1)||0||1 (1)||0||5 (10)||3|
|Totals||£0||94 (39)||6||5 (3)||0||5 (2)||2||11 (13)||3|
| ||goals / game||0.04||0||0.28||0.12|
Honours with CelticScottish Premier League
Quotes"And while we're talking about Next Big Things That Never Quite Happened, we ought to mention that Sheffield United are planning a bid for Liam Miller - you know, the new-Roy-Keane-except-he's-half-the-size-and-a-bit-rubbish."
(Guardian July 2006)
"Liam Miller leaving was a devastating blow for everybody. He was such a talented lad and him being allowed to leave was very disappointing for people who are working down below. You get some talent and all of a sudden it's away, à la Maloney, which was the same thing."
(Tommy Burns Apr 2006)
"Liam Miller had spent six years at Celtic during which I think he had made one sub appearance and the rest of the time mostly injured. (He did spend a season in Copenhagen but I seem to remember he was injured for a lot of that season as well).
During pre-season 2003-2004 he played, and played well, in a number of the friendlies. He was going into the third year of a three year contract. He started the season well and in August MON started to negotiate a new contract with him and his agent. (Given his previous six seasons of non-contribution and terrible injury record I don't think MON could have been accused of dithering at that point.)
In October Miller shook hands with MON on a new three year contract. All that was needed was the agent to appear to finalise the signing of the papers.
At the stage the agent disappeared and couldn't seem to find the time to travel to Glasgow. In Ireland rumours of a move by that shower from Manchester were starting - even in the media.
End of October Miller plays a stormer against Anderlecht at CP, his best game for Celtic imo - in Scotland the media wondered who Sir Bollix was up watching. Even when he left after Miller was subbed they couldn't figure it out! In Ireland the headlines were 'Miller for Old Trafford'.
Through November, as reported by Celtic, the agent still wasn't available. Miller was telling us every day in the press how he loved Celtic and wanted to stay.
In December he pissed off to Manchester and signed the contract.
There are many things Celtic & MON can be criticised for - not signing up Liam Miller soon enough though is not one of them. The villains of the piece were quite clearly Miller himself, the agent and Sir Bollix - and even the great Keano was involved a wee bit.
Be that all as it may. I remember posting at the time that I was glad it was someone else paying him £20K a week and not us. The guy had talent but imo was always too weak and too injury-prone to justify those type of wages from us. Nothing that has happened since has changed my mind."
Anyone who says Liam Miller wouldn't have made it at Celtic is suffering from Jilted Lover syndrome. He was a terrific prospect and I was sick when he left. Some blame the club but I blame more his arsehole of an agent, a guy called Fintan Drury who worked in the RTE sports department (better known as the ManUre Supporters Club West) and who wanted nothing more than to have a ManUre player on his burgeoning sports agency's books. Miller was not the first young player to have his head turned by an unscupulous agent and won't be the last.
In my view, he would have been a mainstay in the Celtic midfield for years. The move to ManUre came way before he was ready for it, and any subsequent career failures can be put down to the loss of confidence that that particular failure created for him. ( I'm sure in his quiet moments he shakes his head in bewilderment at where it went wrong. It wasn't all bad. I recall a game at Lansdowne Road when Ireland stuffed Sweden (Henke et al) 3-0 and Miller bossed the midfield, scoring a 30-yarder in the process.
And I'm always amazed (and amused) at the difference in reaction to Miller and Maloney, whose treachery in spinning us all on for nine months when we all knew he was on his bike sticks in my craw still. If Villa's manager hadn't been MON, we wouldn't have got a cent for the little two-faced sod. But for some reason that I could not even guess at KDS seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Malaysians!
Liam MillerSource: Not The View Link
So farewell then Liam Miller, the latest in a long list of players who come to Celtic, make their name then float off down south (Pierre, Di Canio, Viduka...).
The really galling thing about this departure is that he was meant to be one of our own. He was a product of the youth set up, and when no one else would touch him because of injuries we saw him through.
Miller made his debut on the last day of season 1999-2000, the day Dalglish gave the boys their chance. Like most of the youngsters that day he looked alright. Kenny had played his last card well. The fans went home confident about the future of the club having seen the kids win 2:0.
But the next season was a complete washout because of injury, just as his previous season had been. In order to rehabilitate him he was sent to Denmark to play for Aarhus under Mark Rieper. He impressed them so much that they tabled a bid to buy him but Celtic resisted insisting that his future lay at Celtic Park.
He started to make a first team impact at the end of last season, providing some much needed guile in the midfield and stemming any talk of having to fork out X million pounds for a new midfielder.
He started this season like a train, scoring and creating some fine goals. His manager was keen to use and to protect him, reminding fans that it wasn't really fair to expect Miller to be controlling Champions League games with the amount of limited experience he had. Yet some of his performances suggested he could do just that.
Celtic have been running a goal of the season competition in recent weeks, but we all know that the real goal of the season isn't included; Liam Miller at home to Lyon. More than 20 passes from one side of the pitch to another, from back to front, before a killer cross and scoring header. You can't beat it, but it isn't in the list, because regardless of how fine a goal it is it hurts to see it now.
After another master class and goal against Anderlecht his game went decidedly downhill. The press were asking why we hadn't signed the boy up yet. OFM was cool about it. He told the press that talks had begun and an offer was on the table. Liam hadn't made any noises about being unhappy with the offer, he expected him to sign it.
Then just two days after the New Year demolition of Rangers (Miller replaced Hartson as a sub), with every Celtic fan on top of the world he brought the whole show crashing to earth. Not only would he be leaving, but also because he would have turned 23 by the time the season ended we would receive nothing for him. The press were ecstatic. Celtic had been put in their place. This kind of thing never happened to Rangers (because they haven't produced anyone good enough, but forget that for now), it's all the board's fault, O'Neill must leave after this etc. etc.
On top of all this it overshadowed the signing of Stephen Pearson, a young player who wants to play for Celtic, but made sure that he didn't sign a pre-contract so as to ensure that Motherwell got some recompense for bringing him up as a player.
One reason for his dip in form had been that Man U had contacted him right after the Anderlecht game. Of course Miller then began his 'I've always supported Man U' stuff, even having the cheek to say 'I've given Celtic 6 years'! Given six years? Taken more like.
The rumour mill, of course, went into overdrive, although the most interesting thing was that the board took no real criticism. They had made the boy a fair offer, an offer the manager approved of. The point of betrayal was Liam Miller himself.
Immediately after his departure was announced it was revealed that he wouldn't play for some time due to injury. Conspiracy theorists had a laugh at that. Initially the reaction of many had been that he should never wear the shirt again, but that soon gave way to the school of thought that we wanted to let him know exactly what we thought of his actions.
His appearances have always provoked a mixed reaction, some booing a Celtic player (which is a sure fire way to kick off a heated argument) some cheering him. He was allowed to lift the league trophy, though God only knows why, but surely he won't be part of the 16 for the cup final, that would be appalling.
At the age of 23 - hardly a 'young player' - he's managed less than 25 first team games, and now he's decided that Old Trafford is his next logical step. Quite who is to make way from him is another matter, especially when you consider that established international midfielders, who aren't chronically injury prone, are handing in transfer requests due to lack of first team opportunity at Old Trafford.
Normally we finish these things with 'We wish him well,.' but I just can't do it because I'm not sure that I do. He's stabbed us all in the back and I just can't forgive him.
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