Tom Miller

Tom Miller : Manchester United

Tom Miller was born in Motherwell on 29th June 1890. He played for several local clubs before he joined Hamilton Academicals in the Scottish League in 1910.

In February 1912 Liverpool paid £400 for Miller. In his full season he scored 10 goals. The following season he was the club's top scorer with 20 goals. Tony Matthews (Who's Who of Liverpool) described him as "despite being only 5ft 9in. tall, he was well equipped physically and his game improved as he gained speed and stamina."

Miller also appeared in the FA Cup Final against Burnley in April 1914. Unfortunately, Liverpool lost 1-0.

On 2nd April, 1915, Miller played in the side that was beaten 2-0 by Manchester United. Afterwards, bookmakers claimed that they had taken a great deal of money on the 7-1 odds offered on a 2-0 United victory. They suspected that the game had been fixed and pointed out that late in the game, Jackie Sheldon, had missed a penalty. The bookmakers decided not to pay out on the result and offered a £50 reward for information that would unmask the conspirators.

The Sporting Chronicle newspaper took up the story and claimed that they discovered evidence that players on both sides had got together to concoct a 2-0 scoreline. The newspaper also argued that some of the players had large bets on the result.

The Football League announced it would carry out its own investigation into the case. It published its report in December 1915. It concluded that "a considerable amount of money changed hands by betting on the match and... some of the players profited thereby."

Miller was found guilty of this offence and was banned for playing professional football for life. Three other Liverpool players: Tom Fairfoul, Jackie Sheldon and Bob Pursell were also banned. The same sentence was imposed on three Manchester United players: Enoch West, Sandy Turnbull and Arthur Whalley. An eighth player, Laurence Cook, who played for Stockport County, was also convicted of being a member of the betting ring.

It was suggested that if the men joined the armed forces during the First World War their punishment would be rescinded. Miller did this and in 1919 resumed his career at Liverpool. Miller won his first international cap for Scotland against England on 10th April 1920. Miller scored two goals in Scotland's 5-4 victory.

In September 1920, Miller joined Manchester United for fee of £2,000. Despite his unimpressive form at United he still won two more caps for Scotland in 1921. As Garth Dykes pointed out in The United Alphabet: "Most contemporary match reports confirmed Miller had a dreadful debut against Spurs. He generally failed to do himself justice in United's colours, and at a time when he was not considered good enough for United's first-team the Scottish selectors included him in the side which beat England at Hampden Park".

After scoring only 7 goals in 25 appearances, Miller was sold to Heart of Midlothian in July 1921. He also played played for Torquay United and Raith Rovers before retiring in May 1927.

Tom Miller died on 3rd September 1958.