Thursday, August 31, 2006

Millar from the halfway line

An article on the offical Cardif City website reminds us of a certain Paul Millar, who played for Cardiff City in the early nineties. In particular it talks about his goal in our 2-1 defeat at St Andrews in 1995. It was a spectacular long distance shot, and the website suggests that fans began to sing "Mill-ar from the half way line" in his honour.

Not true. That chant began after a Welsh Cup match at Swansea at around the same time. It was a week before the Birmingham game, and played at the Vetch. Cardiff were having a terrible season and fully expected to lose. But most memorably, Cardiff fans were banned from travelling.

It became a badge of honour to get to the game, and all sorts of stunts were pulled. Tickets were bought at the Vetch earlier in the week, and a variety of routes were taking to avoid the Fabian Way checkpoints. People travelled to the game via Neath, or Carmarthen, and friends of mine got past the border simply by speaking Welsh to each other in a West Walian accent. Once inside the ground, familiar faces winked at each other over their Bovril.

I watched the game from the roof of the nearby Grand Theatre, which overlooks the ground. At least I thought it did. In fact, it overlooks half the ground. I could only see one goal.

So when I saw Paul Millar gather the ball on the half way and and look up before belting the ball out of my line of vision, I assumed that it was another hopeful punt up towards Phil Stant which would soon be returned with interest. Instead, Millar's eyes widened, his jaw dropped, and he raised his arms before being smothered by team-mates. I didn't know what I was celebrating, but I went mad at the top of that theatre.

Television highlights later showed Millar's wonder goal, which won the game , and we went on to beat Swansea 4-1 in the second leg, with another one-off cracker from Wayne Fereday. A friend of mine woke up in his next door neighbour's garden after that one.

Millar left Cardiff in 1995. Sales of Guiness plummetted in Cardiff. He will be remembered for that purple patch when he scored a few belters, but he remains primarily famous for his karaoke performances in the Borough Arms of a Sunday evening.

Mill-ar from the halfway line. Indeed.


Kevin Finnerty said...

Might the chant not have originated earlier when Millar scored a near 40-yarder as part of his hat-trick (the other two being penalties) in a 5-3 away win against Brighton?

That game was definitely where I first heard one of my all-time favourite dumb football chants (to the tune of 2 Unlimited's 'No Limits');

" No no no no no no, no no no no no no no Kurt Nogan!"

Eric the Red said...

I'm sorry Kevin, but the Millar chant definitely started after the Swansea game. The chant was of course ripped off from Spurs' "Nayim from the half way line".

Kevin Finnerty said...

Except the Nayim goal was scored on the 10th of May 1995, a month AFTER the Birmingham and Swansea games.

Eric the Red said...

Kevin, your attention to detail is such that I suspect that you may be Richard Shepherd in disguise.

The Nayim goal happened during the close season. City fans would have picked up the chant early the following year and given it to Millar.

It was inspired by the Swansea goal, as that one literally went in from 45 yards. The others were just long shots.

Eric the Red said...

Kevin Finnerty ?
Or is it Tony Soprano?