I am sure you all recognise former Ranger Charlie Miller, the other picture shows Charlie’s most famous pair of boots. Unfortunately for Charlie he wasn’t wearing them at the time. The boots were given to David Beckham by mistake, and he wore them when he scored from his own half against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in August 1996. The boots Beckham wore that day had “Charlie” embroidered on the tongue, having been made for Charlie Miller.
It’s an example of the status Charlie had at the time and he looked to be heading for a long Rangers and Scotland career. Indeed in the October 1995 edition of Four Four Two, Charlie was one of four featured players in their “The Boy’s A Bit Special” feature. The heading for each player began with the letter ‘C’, Charlie’s was “Cocky”.
“Superb first Touch. Wonderful close control. An Unnerving ability to flat-foot defenders. Remarkable turn of speed. Great engine. Passes like a dream. Bags of confidence. Cocky. And Adored.”
That was the opening paragraph for the youngster from Rangers Supporters Association Boys Club who had broken into the Rangers side that included Gazza and Laudrup. Just over two seasons later Charlie was at Leicester City on loan and a short time later moved to Watford for £450,000.
Not a lot of games in two years and then he was back in Scotland with a settled period at Dundee United. After which Charlie decided to try his luck abroad and had a decent few seasons in Norway, a brief stint in Belgium and is now seeing out the end of his career in Australia with Brisbane Roar.
Five league championships, two Scottish Cups, two League Cups, a Norwegian Cup. At one end of his career SPFA Young Player of the Year and then last season the A-League’s Foreign Player of the Year. He gained one solitary cap for Scotland in a friendly international against Poland in April 2001, he was a Dundee United player by that time.
Even though Charlie has had a career that most people could only dream about, I am sure in his quiet moments he must think what might have been.
I couldn’t finish without touching on the others in that “The Boy’s A Bit Special” feature.
“Cute” James Quinn (Blackpool)
A man of many clubs he was most noted for his spells at Blackpool and West Brom, who paid £500,000 for him in 1998. He also spent a couple of season in Dutch football with Willem II. His last club was Northampton Town and he retired in 2007.
“Curly” Peter Smith (Brighton)
They were stretching the ‘boy’ bit here, as Peter was 26 when he moved from Kent League club Alma Swanley to Brighton. He spent six seasons at Brighton before moving into non league with Woking and Canvey Island.
He was arguably more famous after his playing career when he had a cameo role for three years in Sky One’s football soap Dream Team. Peter is now working for the PFA’s commercial department.
“Combative” Peter Lipcsei (FC Porto)
Hungarian internationalist midfielder Peter Lipcsei made his name initially at Ferencvaros before Bobby Robson made the move to take him to Portugal. Another player who failed to live up to his early promise, after a good start at Porto, he spent the next season at Sporting Espinho that saw them relegated.
A further spell at Ferencvaros was followed by a brief stint in Austria at Austria Salzburg before returning to Ferencvaros for a third time where at the age of 37 he is still a registered player. unfulfilled potential perhaps, but he did gain 58 caps for Hungary, in what was admittedly not a golden age for Hungarian football.