One week later from the tragic death of former Republic of Ireland international Liam Miller, many still find themselves at a loss for words. Despite passing away at such an early age, Miller had such a colorful career playing the beautiful game. It is best to reflect on the Irishman’s life fondly as it deserves to be.
Last Friday, it was confirmed that former Celtic and Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller sadly lost his battle with cancer. The death of Miller shocked many people including the entire nation of Ireland. Many people payed tribute to him, especially Celtic and Manchester United who had a minute of silence and wore black armbands in his honour.
In November 2017, Miller revealed himself that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer leaving many people saddened and shocked with the news. After the tragic news of his death, one of his closer friends, Mark McNulty (current goalkeeper of Cork City FC), revealed that the doctors said he only had a few weeks left of life. Heartbroken, McNulty said he was on good form the last couple of weeks, but suddenly, next thing he was in hospital. The two friends were side by side as Miller took his final breaths of his wonderful life.
Liam Miller started off his career at Celtic in 1997 when he joined the club as a youth player just like many Irish youngsters at that time. He made many appearances in their youth ranks. It wasn’t until May 2000 when he made his professional debut for Celtic. He came on as a substitute in the 77th minute against Dundee United.
While at Celtic, he was loaned out to Danish side AGF Aarhus for six months to gain first team experience. He made 18 appearances scoring no goals. Even though he didn’t score any, the club were impressed by Miller’s performances and considered signing him on a permanent deal, but Celtic kept him and wouldn’t let him go.
He returned to Celtic for the 2002/03 season. He scored his first goal for Celtic in July 2003 against Kaunas in the Champions League qualifiers. The manager at the time, Martin O’Neill, tried to offer Miller a long term contract and planned to change the change the whole squad around the midfielder, but Miller wasn’t having any of it. Miller refused to sign the deal, and, in fact, was snapped up by Sir Alex Ferguson, who lured him away to sign for Manchester United on a pre-contract.
On the 1st of July 2004, it was made official that Liam Miller signed for Manchester United on a free transfer. He made his debut in August 2004. Sir Alex wanted to play Miller more out on a wide role than his natural central midfield position. He played a couple of times for Man United, but it was a hard job trying to slot into an already powerful midfield.
It became clear Miller wanted to play first team football. The only way he could start playing football is a transfer, and he made that move to Leeds on loan. Miller arrived at Leeds to play first team football, and he did 28 times for them in his only season at Elland Road.
Miller didn’t have such a good spell with the Red Devils, playing only 9 league games throughout his 2 seasons. His former teammate, Roy Keane, took the reigns at a relegated Sunderland and went in for Miller. Miller signed for Sunderland on a year deal for free.
Miller made his debut for Sunderland in a 2-1 win over Derby County in September 2006. He scored his first goal in the following game against his former team — Leeds. He had a successful season with Sunderland, helping them to promotion to the Premier League and also winning the Championship title with them. Miller scored his first Premier League goal against Middlesborough with a left-footed rocket of a goal.
Liam Miller has played with a numerous amount of clubs since his departure from Sunderland. These include Queens Park Rangers, Hibernian, Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar. Melbourne City, Cork City and Wilmington Hammerheads. It is safe to say he had quite a weird and wonderful career, but at the same time spectacular.
As an Irishman myself, he has done our nation proud and it was a shame to see him pass away. In his one year spell at the League of Ireland, I remember watching him against our local club, St Patricks Athletic, and he stood out by a mile. You could see the experience and craftiness he had as a player.
Liam has done us all proud, and we were all shocked to see him go. I actually shed a tear when the news broke that he passed away.