Willie Miller
Willie Miller
Willie Miller
● Willie Miller, 1933 (EBY)

born in Scotland

William Rennie Miller was born on Wednesday, 19th January, 1910, in Camelon, Stirlingshire.

The 5' 9 (11st 6lbs) forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Tuesday, 6th November, 1928, having most recently been with Alva Albion Rangers.

Aged 19, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 26th October, 1929, in a 3-2 win away to Clyde in the SFL First Division.

That day, Willie became a member of our scoring debutant's club.

He scored the last of his 43 goals on Saturday, 2nd March, 1935, in a 2-2 draw at home to Queen's Park in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Monday, 6th May, 1935, in a 1-0 win at home to Rangers in the Glasgow Charity Cup, having clocked up 155 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Alva Albion Rangers, Partick Thistle, Everton, Burnley, Tranmere Rovers, Falkirk, Dunfermline Athletic, Airdrieonians and Dumbarton.

Willie died on Monday, 20th February, 1978, in Falkirk, aged 68.

Bio Extra

Inside forward Willie Miller was a Thistle player in the early 30s, and was nicknamed “Golden Miller” after the racehorse, a 5 times Cheltenham Gold Cup winner at that time. He joined the Jags from junior side Alva Albion Rovers as an 18-year-old in November 1928, and broke into the first team at the end of October 1929, where the forward marked his debut with a goal against Clyde in a 3-2 League win at Shawfield. He took over from Bobby Grove, although Bobby came back into the side towards the end of the season. 1929-30 was a season when the Jags finished 6th in a 20-team league, a very respectable position. They also got to the final of the Scottish Cup, with Willie having played in all of the matches up to the final, which Thistle lost 2-1 to Rangers after an initial 0-0 draw. Bobby Grove took the inside right jersey from Willie for the two final fixtures.

In the following 1930-31 season, Willie started as number 8, but lost his place to William Fraser and George Boardman, with Bobby Grove coming back into the side in the inside right position for the latter part of the campaign. He didn’t play in the jags enormous Scottish Cup victory that season, the 16-0 thrashing of Royal Albert.

In the 1931-32 campaign Willie didn’t appear much, and for 1932-33 he played in a number of positions around the field, even centre half, a position shared between Willie Miller, James McAllister and Sam Donnelly that season. In 1933-34 Willie was infrequently absent from the side, but the season was a disappointing one for the supporters. Willie was a near ever-present in 1934-35, and scored the only goal in the Glasgow Cup Final victory over Rangers at Hampden in October 1934. Thistle also beat Queen’s Park 2-1 in the Charity Cup Final that season, but this was the only competitive match the player missed.

During his playing career Willie was described as having “…excellent passing abilities, but also possesses the tackling ability that is a remnant of his half-back days. This enables him to fetch and carry the ball through industrially, and no player could be more willing”. He was often complimented on his ball control.

Willie bowed out of Firhill on a high – a 1-0 home victory over Rangers in the Glasgow Charity Cup in May 1934. The player made 155 appearances in Thistle colours, scoring on 43 occasions. During his time at Firhill, Willie was selected to play for the Scottish League against the English League at Stamford Bridge in October 1934. Scotland lost 2-1. He joined the SFA tour party that went to the USA and Canada in the summer of 1935, and on his return he signed for Everton. He fell away at Goodison after a good start, and joined Burnley at the start of October 1936. He played in most of the Clarets’ matches in 1937-38, and in the final tally up made 77 appearances and scored 19 goals for Burnley. He was then transferred to Tranmere Rovers in November 1938. For the World War 2 years he joined Falkirk, also going on loan to Airdrieonians. He left Falkirk in 1943, and had a 3 match cameo with Dumbarton in 1943, before retiring from the game.

A report in “The Times of India” on 4 May 1945 tells us that Willie served in the RAF in Bombay (now Mumbai). Willie told the reporter that he joined the Jags as a 17-year-old, but after 2 years at Firhill the Board were disappointed in his progress, and he hadn’t lived up to the promise of his junior days. When the end of the season approached, terms were offered to players which the club wanted to keep, but Willie wasn’t one of them. He went to Firhill for the last match of the season, with a difficult future ahead. According to Willie on getting to the ground, manager Donald Turner told him to get stripped, and he was playing. The selected Johnny Ballantyne wasn’t playing. Willie had a stormer against Dundee, and played so well that after the game concluded, the club Directors had drafted and signed a retaining letter before Willie got changed out of his strip!

When Willie passed away in 1978, he was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, May.

On account of his service during WWI, Willie is included in our feature piece, The Partick Thistle returned →.

(DMAC/JK)



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