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Club News


28 October 2021

Learn more about the first black player on the books with Ipswich Town

As part of the Club's celebration of Black History Month, we have given Town supporters the opportunity to learn a little more about the first black player to be on the books with Town.

Johnny Miller, born September 1950, began his career with the Blues and progressed through the youth ranks at the Club.

We take a look at his time in the game below.

Having turned pro at Town, Johnny Miller made his debut for the Club in a goalless draw against Coventry City in March 1969. In doing so, he became the second black player to represent the Blues, after Steve Stacey had been the first earlier in the season.

Shortly after his debut for the Club, Reg Drury, chief football writer at the News of the World, wrote: This boy will surely be the first black player to play for England."

Although he would never quite achieve that feat, Miller did enjoy an illustrious career in the game.

In total he made 43 first-team starts for Town, scoring four goals, with his final game coming in a 2-0 away defeat to Derby County in March 1974.

Miller also played more than 150 times for the reserves side and bagged 31 goals.

He left the Club to join Norwich City in October 1974 for a fee of £47,500, and, less than two months later, scored twice for the Canaries at Portman Road as they beat the Blues 2-1 in a League Cup fifth round replay.

Norwich went on to finish third in the Second Division that season, with Miller playing his part as Town’s East Anglian rivals were promoted to the top flight.

In 1976 his former Town and Norwich teammate Peter Morris took him to Mansfield and he helped the Stags to the Third Division title in 1976/77.

Miller later played for Port Vale, Oakham United and Selston and was assistant manager at Blidworth Welfare. Latterly he had been working as a taxi driver in Mansfield and was a regular at Town's annual ex-players' dinner before he sadly passed away in 2016.

On his former teammate, the late Kevin Beattie once recalled: “He was such a jovial chap and a good footballer. Everyone used to look forward to seeing him in the morning because he was always cheerful.”

Below is Miller [back row, first on the left], with his Town teammates in the group photo for the 1973/74 season. 

Johnny Miller team pic.jpeg

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