Sunday, 25 November 2007

Grenville Millington - Chester's Cult Hero

Today we remember Grenville Millington. A true goalkeeping legend for Chester Football Club, whose fans voted him as there Cult Hero in the BBC Match of the Day's survey in 2005.

Millington made his Chester debut as a 17-year old in April 1969 in the final home game of the season against Lincoln City. However, this was to be his only appearance for Chester before being released and he returned to Rhyl. While with the Lilywhites he came up against Tony for the only time, when Rhyl met Swansea City in January 1971 in the FA Cup. He also had a spell with Witton Albion and played on trial for Brighton & Hove Albion, before returning to Chester in November 1973. His first game back ended in an FA Cup win over Telford United and he became first-choice goalkeeper ahead of John Taylor.

The 1974-75 season was arguably Chester's finest campaign, as they reached the Football League Cup semi-finals and won promotion from Division Four. Millington was vital to both successes as he played in every game, memorably making an outstanding save from Malcolm MacDonald in a quarter-finals giant killing win over Newcastle United.

Millington remained first choice goalkeeper until early in 1977-78, when fellow Welshman Brian Lloyd was signed from Wrexham and Millington was to barely play for the next two years. However, he regained his place early in 1979-80 and helped Chester reach the FA Cup fifth round. He was an ever-present in 1980-81 and the following season retained his club player of the season award despite Chester being relegated. This season saw Millington involved in a bizarre incident when a Football League Cup tie with Plymouth Argyle was abandoned after he collided with a goalpost - causing it to break!

The 1982-83 season saw Millington begin as regular goalkeeper but an injury in a home defeat by Mansfield Town in October 1982 marked the beginning of the end of his playing days with Chester. After beginning to focus on his coaching work with youngsters, Millington played just one more game - a 2-1 defeat by Scunthorpe United on the final day of the season - before leaving the club for Oswestry Town in the summer.

Millington returned to Football League circles the following season, when he made 13 league appearances for Wrexham. This brought the curtain down on his league career.

In the late 1990s, Millington became goalkeeping coach with both Wrexham and Chester and worked off and on for the latter until leaving in February 2006. He is now goalkeeping coach at neighbouring Connah's Quay Nomads.

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