Yesterday Liam Miller signed for his hometown club Cork City, in what will most definitely be his last move.
This will be Liam’s 11th club since signing on with Celtic in 1997 as a young 16 year old apprentice. From an early age there was no doubt the bhoy had talent. He was expected to be one of the breakouts from the Celtic youth academy along with the likes of Shaun Maloney, David Marshall and John Kennedy. The only problem was that Liam was prone to an injury or two. Celtic sticking by the youngster back in the day when he was side-lined for a long period of time by giving him a new contract. In 2001 he was loaned out to Aarhus Gymnastikforening for some much needed game time at first team level. Upon his return it would be Martin O’Neill who would take a keen interest in the Irishman and get him ready for first team football at Celtic. Once he broke into the team he quickly had many fans and pundits talking, especially about that night in 2003 he got on the end of a magnificent move from Celtic as they downed Lyon at Celtic Park, the bhoy was coming of age! In the weeks and months that followed Liam continued to impress, putting in a top performance in a 1-0 win at Ibrox and generally lighting up the Celtic midfield. He genuinely had the Celtic fans excited. Liam’s contract was running out that season and Celtic for whatever reason were not as gung-ho about getting him signed to a longer deal as they perhaps should’ve been. The money men perhaps cautious of what deal to offer a player who could be very injury prone. When it was time to sit down with Liam about extending his stay at Celtic which started in 1997 it was clear his head had been turned by English giants Manchester United. Alex Ferguson had seen something in the young Irishman and wanted him on board at Old Trafford. Celtic could not compete with the money that Manchester were offering, also the player was a long time supporter of the English club. In the end he signed a pre-contract agreement with United and he quickly fell down the pecking order at Celtic Park. He was used sparingly in his last few games for the club, many fans jeering the player for his lack of loyalty to Celtic as they perceived it. Having trained him since 1997, Celtic got nothing from their investment. In July 2004 he became a Manchester Utd player and that was that. Celtic had seen one of their top talents poached by the juggernaut that was United at the time.
Liam scored on his Manchester Utd debut against Crewe but ultimately his time with the club was unsuccessful. Used as a sub more often than not in his first season he found first team football hard to come by. In his second season he was loaned out to Leeds where he did make a positive impact, being part of the Leeds team that got to the Championship play off finals, only to be beaten by Watford. The writing was on the wall for him once he got back to Old Trafford and he was soon sold to Roy Keane’s Sunderland in 2006. Liam at the time was disappointed he didn’t make it in Manchester but was quoted as saying “Man Utd didn’t work out but I have no regrets about giving it a go.”.
He played his fair share of games with Sunderland scoring on more than one occasion but eventually he would be transfer listed by his former teammate Roy Keane who sighted the players ‘lack of discipline and time keeping’ for the decision. He then went on to sign for QPR for an undisclosed fee but made only 12 appearances before being let go in the summer of 2009.
His career was in need of a boost and that summer he offered his service to then Hibs manager John Hughes, who quickly snapped the player up. In his first season with Hibs he showed some of the form that Celtic fans had seen 6 years previous. Gaining SPL player of the month not long after his return to Scotland. When John Hughes was replaced by Colin Calderwood the Irishman was left out of the Hibs side on more than one occasion and his form was not what it should have been. in 2011 Cork man said goodbye to Scotland again as he failed to come to terms on a new deal with the Edinburgh club.
This would see Liam move to Australia and start a new life with Perth Glory. He would play well for the club in his 2 years there but left Perth in 2011 for Brisbane Roar even though Perth said there was a contract on the table for him. Liam spent just over a year at Brisbane Roar but his time there did not end well, the player asked his contract to be torn up after being dropped without any sort of explanation by the club – they obliged.
Two weeks later he would continue his Australian adventure and sign with Melbourne City back in November of last year on a short term deal. Playing alongside countryman Damien Duff. His short term deal with the club finished at the end of last year and now the player is home in Cork ready to play for his hometown club.
It’s also worth mentioning that Liam gained 21 caps playing for Ireland between 2004-2009.
He has had a decent career in truth but after the start he had at Celtic what would have happened to it if he had stayed with the club? We could have seen more heroics like Lyon and he could have lit up the Celtic midfield for the many years to follow. Of course this is all speculative with a great deal of hindsight. The players talent did not match his career in my opinion, he could have done much more in the game if he had held off on a move. When you are a young lad and Man Utd come calling with a big fat cheque book in hand then it’s hard to say no. As he said he was at least happy he gave it a go. We wish him all the best with Cork City and the rest of his career.