Manchester City’s decision to allow Ishmael Miller to turn his season long loan to West Bromwich Albion into a permanent transfer (for £900,000 potentially rising to £1.4m) was good news for the Midlands side, for whom Miller has played an important part in their attempt to return to the Premier League, but as a City fan it left me with a tinge of regret.The explosion of Micah Richards onto the national scene around a year ago had pundits raving about his physique, but Miller’s is arguably even more impressive:
Unlike Richards, at 6’3″ Miller is tall as well as fast and strong. Not many defenders would fancy stopping him, and his record for the Baggies this season (10 goals in 24 games) would suggest that not many of them have been successful. Indeed, it was Miller’s physique and his scoring record at City that won him the nickname within the club of ‘The Moston Menace’, after the north Manchester district from which he hails.
In fact, this is really the reason I was sad to see the back of him. I don’t remember any players in recent memory who had a nickname that was based on where they were from rather than on their name. Richard Dunne may be a rock at the heart of the City back four, and a big part in our success this season, but ‘Dunney’ is hardly the most inspiring handle.
In this age when even players who come through academies are from all over the country or even the world, a player turning out for his local team is a rarity to be cherished, in the Premier League at least. Miller wasn’t even the only Mancunian in the City first team; Michael Johnson is from Urmston and although Nedum Onuoha was born in Nigeria he was raised just a couple of miles from Maine Road; I think what really got me about Miller was that nickname. It sounded like a throw back to another age.
“Miller for City… running down the wing…The Moston Menace has it…shoots…another goal for City! The Moston Menace scores and the City fans throw their flat caps in the air!”
What might have been…a man can dream.