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LOTW - 19/7/07 - Mike Milligan


Stevie_J
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Welcome to the seventeenth Latics Legend of the Week. This week it's one of Big Joe's boys, midfield man, Mike Milligan.

We're looking for you, the OWTB members, to post their memories, anecdotes and stories of our weekly Legend. Anything at all.

Mate of yours? Met him in a pub? Go to school with his Mrs? Get hit by his car? Had a scuffle with him?!
Anything and everything!

If you have access to some season stats or career stats then post those too; pictures, videos, songs, etc, etc...!?
Post them all!!


N.B. Following the sad news this week of Bert Lister's death, last week's LOTW thread will remain open for another week.


A couple of very simple rules:
1. Please stay on the topic of a single legend at once... it probably apparent why by now.
(If you would like to suggest an upcoming legend then please feel free to PM me)
2. Please don't post anything which may subject you to libel... as OWTB cannot be held responsible for that.
3. Have fun!

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I always felt Mick Milligan was the most unsung hero of the successful Joe Royle team of the early nineties, he very rarely scored as he was our holding defensive midfield man which allowed Nick Henry to get forward.

 

He was a real workhorse though with a great engine which got him from box to box, his real value to the team for me was his ability to break down opposition attacks and win possession in front of our back four.

 

A good tackler who liked to keep it simply he wasn't one for 50 yard diagonal balls across the field, he would win the ball and play simple passes which helped us keep possession and build attacks by getting the ball wide to Rick Holden.

 

A very underated player for me who brought great value to what was a brilliant Latics team, Joe Royle knew his value to that successful team.

 

It's good to see him come back to BP from time to time and do the halftime draw etc.

 

True Latics Legend.

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The one thing that really stuck with me watching Milligan was the FAC semi final against United at Maine Road. running through the middle of the pitch being chased by what I recall 3 united players and he just stepped on the ball and turned on a 6 pence and ran the opposite direction leaving the United players chasing a shadow :lol:

 

Top top player who with Nicky Henry ran the show in the middle of the park for a good part of our history.

Edited by davegtt
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Milligan was a great player first time around. Tough tackler, rarely gave the ball away, kept it nice and simple, win the ball pass it on to a blue shirt, pity we can't sign anybody like that now..........

 

Anyway love that goal he scored at the RRE, leaves the keeper stranded and when hes about to put the ball into the empty net give the keep the come on stop me :lol: its on one of the old highlights videos, the keeper must boot the ball at him cos as the Latics palyers are celebrating the ball fizzes past Milligans head!

 

To me just before and when he got his Everton move he went a bit billy big time and in my 'umble was never the same player again which was a shame, still I like Milly cos I'd seen him play at every level for Latics and its great when you see a young player make it through the ranks. His brother Terry played in the youths/reserves too.

 

Ohhhhhhhhh and the cheeky flick in the 3-3 at Maine Road, quality.

 

Shall we keep any references to Redfearn allegedly lamping him when he was at Everton out of this thread?

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In my opinion, Milligan was the most important member of our great team during the promotion/ pinch me years. His "Yard Dog" partnership with Nick Henry in the centre of midfield is legendary however Milligan was far and away the leader of the pack.

 

He didn't have the skill and goal-scoring ability of Ritchie; the pace and poise of Barrett or the trickery and crossing ability of Holden but he seemed to be able to do everything to a very high standard. He even chipped in with several vital goals as well as leading the side with drive; passion and determination. Latics at that time played for 90 minutes, week in week out and the man still motoring at the end was Milligan.

 

In an era where our motto was "we're going to score one more than you", he could defend, start attacks, break up opposition play; set up goals and even get on the end of moves with his late and perfectly timed runs into the box.

 

I've watched the old DVDs of that era many times and I have truly believe that he was our most important player. An unsung hero but a Legend all the same.

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As a 14 year old, I went through a period of turning up at Boundary Park at 1:30 on a matchday and getting players autographs. One day in the 1991/92 season, a mate brought a camera with him and I got my picture taken with every player. That summer, I did work experience in the photography department of the Police HQ and they allowed me to develop the pictures in a very large size.

 

I wandered down to Boundary Park in the July of 1992 when the players were back in training, armed with these super-large pictures. At the end of training, I approached Milligan to get the picture of he and I signed. He saw the other pictures and asked if I wanted them all signed. Well, that's what I was there for. He took them all off me, told me to hang around and 20 minutes later, came out with every one signed. He was a top guy and he became even more of a hero of mine after that day.

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In a team with Adams, Holden, Ritchie, Bunn et al Milligan did the donkey work without really catching the eye. They say the best referees are the ones you don't notice, the only time I really noticed Milligan was when he didn't make the tackle or gave the ball away, both of which happened rarely.

 

As I have grown up my favourite position in football is the defensive midfielder, Keane, Viera, Dunga.etc.. I wish I could appreciate again watching Milligan control games for us, set the tempo and allow the forwards to get on and do their thing.

 

Shows how much football has changed in the last few years, it was pretty much the same team week in week out and we played the same way, didn't worry about the opposition we just got on and did our thing because we knew it would work if we tried hard enough. We would also put teams to the sword rather than settle for a 2-0 we would chase the 3rd then the 4th.

 

They were happy days as a latics fan, little did we know the boom and bust to come.

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Cant believe no one has yet mentioned the most famous never given penalty, with the most blatant handball in Oldham Athletic's history.

 

Last day of the season v Southampton right at the very death. In Royles book, I recall Joe mentioning asking him afterwards and that Milly just nodded. Can also recall mentioning Joe say Milly was probably one of his best bit of business whilst at Latics - after the signing of Irwin. As he got Milly, sold him for a million before re-signing him for £600,000 and then selling him off for another substantial fee. Good bit of business indeed.

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As a 14 year old, I went through a period of turning up at Boundary Park at 1:30 on a matchday and getting players autographs. One day in the 1991/92 season, a mate brought a camera with him and I got my picture taken with every player. That summer, I did work experience in the photography department of the Police HQ and they allowed me to develop the pictures in a very large size.

 

I wandered down to Boundary Park in the July of 1992 when the players were back in training, armed with these super-large pictures. At the end of training, I approached Milligan to get the picture of he and I signed. He saw the other pictures and asked if I wanted them all signed. Well, that's what I was there for. He took them all off me, told me to hang around and 20 minutes later, came out with every one signed. He was a top guy and he became even more of a hero of mine after that day.

 

It is little gem-like stories such as this which make the Legend of the Week threads so popular.

 

Great story which put a real smile on my face. :)

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It is little gem-like stories such as this which make the Legend of the Week threads so popular.

 

 

I'll add one!!

 

a few years ago i dropped her ladyship off at siansbury's here in sale to get the shopping... didn't fancy trooping around so said i didn't have 50p for the ticket so would wait in the car etc.....

 

a short while later i spot in my mirror said LOTW running into the same shop.... dilemma time!! what do i do? say hello to one of my all time hero's and get stuck with the shopping or sit it out in the car????

 

i chose the later! and what a decision that was........

 

within a minute or so he came out with a paper as the wife was making comments about heavy shopping, boot not open etc etc....

 

i threw the bags in the car.. and spotted him reading his paper in some sort of 4x4... BMW I think????

 

the next bit, the wife and i differ on when the story is told!!!

 

 

well...you know when you know someone? you just troop over to them, open their car door and say hello don't ya????

 

well..... i did exactly that!!! oh look it's mike milligan...... over i go, tap on window (passenger side!) and open door!!

 

now, I'm not the smallest of people in the world and by the reaction from mike and the way he threw his paper at me ( come on fella! what's a rolled up newspaper going to do???) i firmly believe that in hindsight it wasn't the cleverest of moves on my part!!!!!

 

he started to shout and holla....and it was only when i used the words......" you're mike milligan aren't you???? hi ..i'm Steve an oldham fan!" that he suddenly calmed down... laughed his nads off and jumped out to shake my hand!!!!!

 

needless to say we talked about everything 'latics' for a good ten mins or so....

 

to put a date on it......... he had just been given the heave ho from Norwich, and if I'm correct was either at b'pool or had moved on from there too..............

 

 

he was very humble IIRC... and i really had to express to him that players in 'that' team will always be heroes to fans like us!! i also (and disagree with me if you like!!) told him him and his buddies, had also the distinction of putting a town on a football map.... if not generally speaking too!!

 

the wife then got bored and began shouting over " is he bothering you?" my recollection is that he shouted back " NO!" she disagrees and says that he couldn't get away quick enough!!!! women!! no idea whatsoever!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

great bloke.... people like wellens can only dream to emulate people like milly.... top guy!!!

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I spoke about my recollections of Milly as a player above.

The only time I ever saw him off the pitch was one Saturday morning, Latics were away that day.

I had been to a party out of town the night before and stayed over, while driving back the morning after, 4 of us where in the car just approaching a roundabout off the A580 (East Lancs Road).

 

I spotted Mike Milligan and Roger Palmer waiting at the roundabout obviously waiting to be picked up.

I said look who's there and one of the lads wound his window down and started chanting OoooooHhhhhhh Roger Palmer at the top of his voice, quickly followed by the rest of us, we then preceded to go round the roundabout about 5 times all the time chanting OoooooHhhhhh Roger Palmer.

 

Roger seemed a little embarrassed about the whole thing but Milly found it highly amusing and was creasing himself laughing.

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Top player in a top team. No prima donnas, just a great team of workaholics led by probably Latics' greatest unsung hero of all time. He was never going to set the world on fire and become a household name, but probably the first name on anyone's team sheet. I was close to tears when he went to Everton, despite the £1M we got for him. He was never quite the same when he came back, but a true legend. Thanks for everything you did for the club, Milly.

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Mike Milligan

Oldham Athletic record:

Appearances: League 278(1), FA Cup 21, League Cup 30(1)

Goals: League 23, FA Cup 1, League Cup 2

Debut: As substitute v Liverpool, League Cup 2 (h) 9 October 1985, lost 2-5

Also played for : Manchester City associate schoolboy, Flixton, Everton, Norwich City, Blackpool

 

Athletic's captain in the Final of the Littlewoods Cup at Wembley in April 1990 earned his first one-year professional contract at the age of 18, with part of his wages being paid by the European Social Fund and Greater Manchester Council. Mike Milligan along with another reserve-team player Brian Marriot, boosted Athletic's list of professionals to 21, thanks to the money from the EEC. Athletic were the first sports club to apply for the grant, and it certainly paved the way for a permanent career for Milligan, although centre-half Brian Marriot failed to graduate at senior level at Boundary Park.

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Milly was a great latics servant and probably an absolute get to play against.

I even have a signed blackpool shirt :unsure: that Milly wore, whilst playing for the lashers.

Definately an unsung player by some of the fans, but i'm sure all the players who played with him recognised his worth to the side.

Original Yard Dog!!!

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Brilliant player, second only to Ritchie in my fave evers. Second goal in the reply v Southampton 1990 absolutely superb

 

didnt he do a 'grass cutter' at BP once??? notts county rings a bell (?) but i swear the ball never rose above the grass by a foot from well outside the area????

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didnt he do a 'grass cutter' at BP once??? notts county rings a bell (?) but i swear the ball never rose above the grass by a foot from well outside the area????

 

Against Everton, kind of half volley?? The one against Notts was that Ian Marshall one perhaps, although not quite a grass cutter more of an exocet missile.

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In my opinion, Milligan was the most important member of our great team during the promotion/ pinch me years. His "Yard Dog" partnership with Nick Henry in the centre of midfield is legendary however Milligan was far and away the leader of the pack.

 

He didn't have the skill and goal-scoring ability of Ritchie; the pace and poise of Barrett or the trickery and crossing ability of Holden but he seemed to be able to do everything to a very high standard. He even chipped in with several vital goals as well as leading the side with drive; passion and determination. Latics at that time played for 90 minutes, week in week out and the man still motoring at the end was Milligan.

 

In an era where our motto was "we're going to score one more than you", he could defend, start attacks, break up opposition play; set up goals and even get on the end of moves with his late and perfectly timed runs into the box.

 

I've watched the old DVDs of that era many times and I have truly believe that he was our most important player. An unsung hero but a Legend all the same.

 

Inspiral, that just reminded me of one of my favourite times/feelings at BP. During that era, the "we're gonna score one more than you" era. As a 16-ish year old boy I can remember standing in the Chaddy End singing "score in a minute, we're gonna score in a minute" and genuinely KNOWING it was true! And playing toward the Chaddy End in the second half we'd sing "Score in the Chaddy, we always score in the Chaddy" .

 

Brilliant, brilliant days!

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