March 26, 1928
“I just waited until everyone else had taken up a place in my first junior team, then I filled the vacant position,” thus spoke William Miller, the latest emigrant from Irish senior football before he left these shores during the week to take up quarters with Liverpool, when asked by the writer if he had always occupied the inside-right position.
That is the kind of man Liverpool have added to their strength. He did not worry where he played so long as he got a game, and in doing so he became what all good footballers should strive to be – adaptable and able to rise to the occasion in any of the eleven berths of an Association side.
But that is not the most remarkable feature in Miller’s career, because it was not really until this season that he appeared in senior circles, and again he was scarcely recognised as a first team regular. Yet he has been judged to be a player of high merit, and with great possibilities, otherwise Liverpool would not have parted with a substantial cheque for his transfer.
Of course it is recognised that the Anfield club directors are not infallible in their judgment, but it is the unanimous verdict that his recent displays give weight to the decision arrived at by the cross-Channel critics, that he has not reached the zenith of his power.
The departure of our best players for English and Scottish camps is regretted by everyone who has the game at heart, for it is such depredations that keep the standard of play from rising to great heights, but there are many points to be considered before one could say whether it was correct or otherwise to transfer a player.
Judged from the individual player’s point of view, why should e be debarred from earning a handsome wage? That is a reasonable question to ask opponents of transfer system, as it applied to Irish clubs and players, to answer. It is one, too, that was present to the mind of the Linfield executive wen they parted with Miller to Liverpool.
What manner of exponent is this footballer who in so short time has English clubs seeking his services?
That is a question those not aware of his ability may well ask, and they could receive no better reply than that Miller plays his football on the ground, and not in the air. Indeed, his example could be well followed by more seasoned players, because what is better to see than the well judged pass go skimming the grass to where a colleague lies in wait. Accuracy can be secured more easily in this style of play and it makes the work of colleagues more simple. That is one trait in Miller’s play which did not escape the notice of Liverpool and he fact that he is young, stands 5 feet 9 inches in height and weighs over 11st. makes him a very desirable acquisition.
He has football in his feet – that is, he can control and manoeuvre a lively ball, and what is just as important he does not rid himself of possession without thought and without a purpose. He is unselfish, strong, and full of grit, but a yard or so added to his speed would no doubt improve him even in the eyes of his most enthusiastic admirers. All weighed in the balance, Miller is a grand player who with experience should attain greater heights.
Liverpool’s latest recruit has not been so long in the game as to have a career full of outstanding incidents, but what there is will be interesting to his admirers. He is a native of Ballymena and it was something of a coincidence that he should be partnered in Linfield by Houston, a townsman of his own. He opened up as a Soccer played in the ranks of the Church Lads’ Brigade, and here he was generally a leader of the attack, but when he subsequently joined South End Rangers, for whom he played a couple of season, he filled most positions on the field even down to the goalkeeper’s birth. It was as an inside right, however, that his fame spread, and strange to say it was chance more than anything else that brought him into senior game.
The intermediate League faced the Leinster League at the tail end of last season and Miller was called on to fill a vacancy that had occurred in the Northern team. So well did he comport himself that more than one senior club became interested, but Mr. Tom Chambers, the Linfield chairman, got on the trail and quickly had the youth from City of Seven Towers a playing member of the Windsor brigade.
So much for the football side of Miller’s career. It only remains to add that as a cricketer, too, he as a splendid record on the team of his native town. Ballymena will join with Belfast in following with friendly interest the future career of Liverpool’s latest “colt.”
(Source: Ballymena Weekly Telegraph: April 7, 1928)