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Mick Mills

 

Mick Mills

Mick Mills
Personal information
Full name Michael Dennis Mills MBE[1]
Date of birth (1949-01-04) 4 January 1949 [1]
Place of birth Godalming, Surrey, England[1]
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Playing position Full Back
Youth career
1964–1966 Portsmouth
1966–1967 Ipswich Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1982 Ipswich Town 591 (22)
1982–1985 Southampton 103 (3)
1985–1987 Stoke City 38 (0)
Total 732 (25)
National team
1973–1983 England 42 (0)
Teams managed
1985–1989 Stoke City
1990 Colchester United
2001 Birmingham City (Joint Caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Michael Dennis "Mick" Mills MBE (born 4 January 1949) is an English former footballer who played for Ipswich Town, Southampton and Stoke City. He managed Stoke City, Colchester United and Birmingham City. During his career he achieved Ipswich Town's record number of appearances and captained England at the 1982 World Cup.[1]

Club career

Mills joined Portsmouth as a schoolboy, but the club abandoned its youth system, forcing him to look for a new club to begin his fledgling career.[2] Ipswich Town took him on and he made his debut for the first team in 1966, aged just 17, in a 5–2 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers.[2] A full back who could play on either side but was more frequently used on the left, Mills spent his late teens in and out of the Ipswich first team but became an established regular in 1969, the year the club achieved promotion to the First Division.[2] It was also the year that Bobby Robson arrived as manager.[2] Robson appointed Mills as team captain in 1971 and so began a close working relationship between coach and skipper which was at the forefront of Ipswich's rise to the top of the game for a decade. In 1973, Ipswich finished fourth in the First Division, won the Texaco Cup and qualified for the UEFA Cup.[2] Ipswich began to finish in the top sector of the First Division with some regularity and played in numerous European competitions, but actual success seemed to elude them. Mills was the experienced captain of a young side consisting mainly of players brought through the ranks. They achieved third place in the First Division in 1977 and expected to go better than that the following year.[2]

However, that subsequent season in the First Division for Ipswich was disappointing as they struggled to find any consistency and finished a lowly 16th. There was a tremendous bonus for them in the FA Cup, however, as they reached the final where they beat favourites Arsenal 1–0 at Wembley.[2] Mills, as captain, lifted the trophy - Ipswich's first major honour for 16 years. Ipswich, meanwhile, continued to hit high spots, finishing in the top five every year between 1978 and 1982, including a memorable season in 1981 which saw them just miss out on First Division and FA Cup glory, but won the UEFA Cup, which Mills duly collected after victory over AZ 67 Alkmaar in the final.[2]

In the same year, Robson had told a 33-year old Mills that his contract at Ipswich would not be renewed. Mills joined Southampton in November 1982 for 40,000 pounds while Robson became Ron Greenwood's replacement as England manager, thereby ending Mills' international career too.[2] He made 741 appearances for Ipswich over 17 years, a club record.[2]

He joined Southampton in November 1982 and spent three seasons at The Dell making 123 appearances before leaving in the summer of 1985 to became player-manager at Stoke City. At Stoke Mills played himself 44 times before deciding to retire from playing at the age of 38.

International career

During the 1972–73 season, England manager Alf Ramsey gave Mills his first international cap in a 1–1 draw with Yugoslavia at Wembley. Mills played at right back, a position which became more familiar to him with England than with Ipswich as his career continued. His second cap came in 1976 against Wales and he had eleven by the end of the 1977 campaign.

While his club had finally won a trophy, Mills' international career was in a semi-statuesque state. Don Revie had given him a number of games at left back, including the opening qualifiers for the 1978 World Cup (a straightforward 4–1 win for England over Finland, followed by a disappointing 2–0 defeat to Italy) but Mills had to cope with lots of competition for both full back slots. After Revie's departure, successor Ron Greenwood seemed to prefer Liverpool's Phil Neal at right back and Leeds United's Trevor Cherry at left back, with Mills as reserve for both. He didn't play in any of the remaining qualifying games, and England failed to reach the finals. Mills, however, started to become a regular in the England set-up in 1978 though some confusion continued over his best position as, of the eight internationals during that year, he played six at left back (with Neal on the right) and two at right back (with Cherry down the left). Mills sacrificed his place in the final England game of 1978, against Czechoslovakia, when Nottingham Forest right back Viv Anderson was handed his debut, becoming England's first black player.

Another young debutant, Kenny Sansom, emerged in 1979 to give Mills food for thought in the other full back slot, but he began to settle in at left back for his country as England qualified for the 1980 European Championships. Mills was named in Greenwood's squad but by now Sansom was an established option in the left back slot and he got the nod over Mills in England's opening two group games - a draw with Belgium and a defeat against hosts Italy - before Mills returned for the final game against Spain, which, despite an England win, saw their exit from the tournament. Mills played four England matches in 1981 - notably, they were all World Cup qualifiers for the 1982 tournament, with Greenwood happy to use less experienced players like Anderson and Sansom in the friendly games which preceded them. When England beat Hungary at Wembley in their final qualifier to reach their first World Cup in a dozen years, Mills won his 35th cap.

Still switching flanks for his country when required (but rarely for club - he was almost always the left back), Mills played in just two of the preparation matches for the competition, but was named in the team as right back and captain (squad captain Kevin Keegan was injured) when England played their first game of the tournament against France in Bilbao.[3] England won 3–1 and Mills stayed in the side for the remaining group matches, both of which England also won, although he switched to left back for the final match to allow a run-out for Neal. Greenwood reverted to a Mills-Sansom full back pairing for the second phase, but two goalless draws against West Germany and Spain (the latter of which finally saw Keegan's return to the team) sent England out of the competition.

Coaching and management career

In 1985, Mills became player-manager of Brian Talbot.[1] Morale was boosted again thanks to another large win over Leeds United (7–2) as Stoke climbed up the table into the play-offs. However their form could not be maintained and they had to settle for 8th position.[1]

The 1987–88 season was a frustrating one for Stoke as little progress was made a poor position of 11th was the final outcome with Dixon and Steve Bould both being sold to Arsenal.[1] The 1988–89 season again saw Stoke finish in mid-table which prompted speculation that Mills would not be offered a new contract. In the end he was given a 'final chance' to get Stoke promoted and he was give a £1 million transfer budget by Coates for the 1989–90 season.[1] He spent it all breaking the club's record transfer of £480,000 for Sheffield Wednesday defender Ian Cranson, £75,000 on Derek Statham from West Bromwich Albion, £175,000 for Ian Scott and £250,000 for Wayne Biggins both from Manchester City.[1] However results were terrible and with Stoke rock bottom and heading into the third tier for the first time since 1927 he was sacked in November 1989.[1]

The following year he became manager of Colchester United, but was sacked after only a few months when they were relegated to the Conference. Mills became chief scout for Sheffield Wednesday and then a coach at Birmingham City - at one point becoming caretaker manager after the dismissal of Trevor Francis.

Career statistics

As a player

  • Sourced from The English National Football Archive
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[A] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ipswich Town 1965–66 Second Division 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
1966–67 Second Division 22 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 25 0
1967–68 Second Division 10 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
1968–69 First Division 36 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 37 2
1969–70 First Division 40 3 1 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 44 4
1970–71 First Division 42 1 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 50 2
1971–72 First Division 35 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 38 0
1972–73 First Division 42 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 8 0 54 0
1973–74 First Division 42 2 3 0 4 1 8 0 0 0 57 2
1974–75 First Division 42 1 9 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 56 2
1975–76 First Division 42 1 3 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 50 1
1976–77 First Division 37 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 42 0
1977–78 First Division 34 6 7 2 2 0 5 0 0 0 48 8
1978–79 First Division 42 2 5 1 2 0 6 0 1 0 56 3
1979–80 First Division 37 1 4 0 2 0 3 1 0 0 46 2
1980–81 First Division 33 0 6 0 5 0 10 0 0 0 54 0
1981–82 First Division 42 3 3 0 8 0 2 0 0 0 55 3
1982–83 First Division 11 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 15 0
Total 591 22 57 5 49 2 36 1 9 0 740 30
Southampton 1982–83 First Division 27 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 1
1983–84 First Division 34 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 41 2
1984–85 First Division 42 0 3 0 7 0 2 0 0 0 54 0
Total 103 3 10 0 8 0 2 0 0 0 123 3
Stoke City 1985–86 Second Division 31 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 2 0 37 0
1986–87 Second Division 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
1987–88 Second Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 38 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 2 0 44 0
Career Total 732 25 68 5 60 2 38 1 11 0 909 33
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the FA Charity Shield, Texaco Cup and Full Members Cup.

As a manager

Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Stoke City 24 June 1985 7 November 1989 213 72 63 78 33.8
Colchester United 3 January 1990 9 May 1990 24 8 3 14 33.33
Birmingham City 15 October 2001 12 December 2001 12 5 4 3 41.67
Total 249 85 70 95 34.14

Personal life

He is now technical director of Galaxy Sports Management.[4] In 2010, Mills was named a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.[5] Mills was awarded the MBE for services to football.

Honours

As a player

Ipswich Town
Southampton

Individual

  • Ipswich Town Player of the Year: 1978

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Mick Mills". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Mick Mills Statistics FIFA. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Ipswich: Looking back at Ipswich Town’s UEFA cup success". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Ipswich Legend Mick Mills Becomes Suffolk’s Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation". Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. 23 April 2010. Archived from the original on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 

External links

  • MICK MILLS, Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  • Interview with Mick Mills at The East Anglian Daily Times
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