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MILLER’s open & honest about his career & retiring at 29!

At the tender age of 29, Tadcaster Albion versatile defender Paddy Miller has decided to hang up his boots to concentrate on his career which is a fair and sensible decision for a player who has achieved a lot in his 13 years playing.

Miller originally started with Yorkshire Amateur as a youngster in the NCEL Division One, before making appearances for Ossett, Scarborough, Bradford Park Avenue, Hyde and Tadcaster.

Having joined Tadcaster last season from Hyde, Miller had hoped they would get into the play-off’s but they fell just short, finishing 6th, just a solidarity point from the magical 5th spot. Miller started off by discussing his retirement. “I was actually contemplating it at the end of last season, when I left Hyde. I was Captain at Hyde and got promoted with them, scoring in the last minute of the last League game against Mossley to send us up. I played in the first round of the FA Cup on the BBC with them as well, against MK Dons.” 

“I left Hyde on really good terms. The travel from Leeds with my work was really hard, especially with training on a Tuesday and Thursday. I’m one of those people where I’m either committed 100% or I don’t want to do it. I don’t think it’s fair on the club or people that invest time in it.” 

“At Tadcaster, I spoke to the Manager at the time, Mikey Morton, and Si, the owner. I live fifteen minutes away so it was ideal at the time with work. I could make training; I could be at the games. It was a no brainer really. Having previously played for Tadcaster I’d got a lot of friends at the club and I thought it was the perfect fit for me to continue playing and hopefully we’d get them promoted.” 

“All in all it’s been a relatively successful season but the reason for retiring this year is purely down to work. I took a promotion at work and there might be times when I can’t make training or can’t make Tuesday night games. I don’t want to be a bit part player where I’m just turning up, not training. I like to do things professionally and I don’t think it’s right for me to commit to a club again with me not being able to do that.”

Having come to close to the play-offs, Miller recalls their final day 8-3 win over Lincoln United. “I got a hattrick on the last day of the season! Two penalties and a header! The first time I’ve scored a hattrick. I didn’t think it would end that way!”

“The whole team was disappointed a little bit. We felt like we had the squad to be able to go and challenge and get in those play-offs, it wasn’t to be. If you look at our form, when we were good we were really good; it was just inconsistent at times for various reasons. We went on winning runs where we won five on the spin then we’d lose three.” 

“Overall, for me, a league table doesn’t lie over the course of the season: the best teams are at the top, the worst teams are at the bottom. Unfortunately we just missed out on the play-offs. I felt if we’d have got in there on the last day, we were massively confident we could have gone and won the play-off final, having played the teams in there. Whoever’s in there deserve to be in there, but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be on the last day.”

With an average attendance of nearly 300, Tadcaster is a real hub for the community and was hit just a couple of months ago by flooding. “Tadcaster is very much a family and community club. I don’t know if you’ve ever been but Tadcaster’s in the heart of the town and everything that they do the supporters get behind. The flood happened a few years ago and it happened again. It does knock the club for six when it comes. It’s something which they’re physically unable to prevent. They’ve put certain flood defences in place so luckily the clubhouse and certain things didn’t get as badly affected as last time.” 

“The supporters are massive at Tadcaster and they’re always getting behind us. They’re always really supportive, especially at home and away as well. It’s got a real family entertainment feel to that club so everyone’s always behind their football team. I know any time they have meetings with volunteers, there are always good numbers who turn out. It’s a nice club to play for.”

Looking back on Miller’s career, he agreed that the biggest high was the FA Cup first round tie against MK Dons. “Yes, if I’m being honest. When I got promoted with Scarborough, winning the Northern Counties with them was massive for me.” 

“Scarborough are a huge club. I was relatively young as well so it was quite an experience. I was learning from a few ex-pros there, like Danny Ingram and Tony Hackworth and people like that, so it was really good for my early career and development to learn off them. And being successful as well; it put me in good stead for my future career.” 

“I would say that my last-minute goal to get Hyde promoted last year obviously was a major high. When I went in there, the ambition was to get the club promoted on the second season that I was there and it happened.”

“Not too many players get First Round on the Friday night, playing against MK Dons at home on the BBC. That’s massive! The shirt from that night’s got pride of place in my house on the wall! It’s something I can look back on with great memories there.”

Having played both in the NCEL Premier Division and EvoStik, Miller explained the differences between the Leagues. “I was talking to Craig [Denton] at Worksop recently about this. If you look at probably the top five or six in the Northern Counties, generally the teams that get promoted do quite well. I don’t think there’s too much of a difference from that aspect. It’s just once you get to the EvoStik then probably any could get promoted from the top down to about thirteen; usually teams are of a pretty similar standard.” 

“A lot of the time it’s just professionalism, if I’m perfectly honest with you. I think when you get to Northern Counties, there are people with the same ability but obviously the professionalism is higher. A lot of lads, when they get released from professional clubs, the first thing that they look at doing is dropping down into the Conference North and the EvoStik. You tend to find now in the EvoStik are a lot of young lads who aren’t working and have still got aspirations to get back into full-time football.” 

“It’s only making the EvoStik and the Northern Counties better and better each year because people are taking it more professionally. People are getting fitter. When I first started playing thirteen years ago the lads would sit in the clubhouse and have a couple of pints after games. You don’t see that any more now! It’s very rare that that happens. They’re in there with protein shakes and eating pasta, doing things right.” 

“It’s only good for the game and it’s good for non-league football. I think that’s why, year on year, you see a lot of non-league sides getting further and further in the FA Cup and sometimes even beating the professional sides.”

With retirement firmly set in his heart, Miller is looking forward to a break and isn’t contemplating a switch to Sunday football. “Even when I’ve been playing, I have occasionally turned out on a Sunday just to help a mate out now and again. It’s not been a thing I’ve done loads; I’ve probably only done it two or three times. It’s not something generally that I’d do, playing on a Sunday. I’ve done it that long playing, I’m kind of looking forward to just taking a break out completely, to be honest, and concentrating on my career and work away from football.”

“I’ve been asked to play in the odd charity game in the summer, which is something I’ll be looking forward to do. Generally I’ll just have a complete break from football and think about my career, take it from there. In non-league, I don’t think people realise how big a commitment it is at times. With games and training, you’re looking at being in sometimes three or four times a week. Sometimes lads have had to put their careers on a bit of a back burner but I feel I’ve got to the stage at 29 where it’s got to take a priority for me.” 

“People have got in touch, seeing if I’m interested in coaching roles at clubs, assistant manager and that sort of thing but it’s not for me at this stage of my life. On a Saturday I don’t think I’ll be here… I’ll probably be going out and watching my mates playing football! But it will be from the sidelines, not committing to training or anything.” 

Finally we asked Miller if he’d every consider a dugout appearance. “I’d never say never! You never know what happens with peoples’ careers but I don’t see myself going down that route at this moment in time. I think people are a little bit surprised that I don’t want to do that because I’ve obviously captained and they think the next step from that then is to move into management. Especially still being 29 I still know the players so, generally in non-league, it’s all about your contacts and who you know, who’s a good player and that sort of thing.” 

“But no! Not at this moment in time and not for the foreseeable future or the next few years anyway. I think football’s one of those things that if you’re out of it for a while it’s very difficult to get back in so I don’t really see myself going down the managerial route. Never say never!”

A massive thank you to Billy for his time, and to Ellie Dalglish for her excellent transcribing skills.

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