The Big Interview: David Miller was part of remarkable dynasty of former Clarets - read part three
Craig Salmon talks to former Burnley midfielder David Miller about his extraordinary family football dynasty
The odds of any talented youngster going on to become a professional footballer are considered to be a ‘one in a million’ shot.
That is unless you are a member of the Miller-Scott dynasty then your chances of ‘making it’ rocket to almost guaranteed levels.
Three successive generations from the family have all appeared for Burnley at first-team level.
Indeed such is the prolificacy of their footballing kindred spirit, you get the feeling bookies would shy away from offering odds on the next member of the family’s lineage to make a living out of the beautiful game.
Under normal circumstances David Miller would be feted within his own family circle after becoming that ‘one in a million’ kid who made it as a pro.
Having played for his hometown club Burnley, Miller went on to enjoy a distinguished career playing for clubs such as Preston, Wigan and Stockport County.
But his exploits with a football at his feet could be described as merely routine when compared to his immediate relatives.
Miller is just one-fifth of an extraordinary family affair which has seen his father, his brother-in-law and his two nephews all wear the famous claret and blue at some point during their lives.
Of course, most famously, Miller is the son of the late Brian – one of the greatest footballers in the history of the Clarets, who was an integral member of the club’s Championship-winning team in 1960 and went on to represent England.
Brian and his wife Mary would also have a daughter called Gillian, who would go on to marry Derek Scott.
He had signed for the Clarets as an apprentice, moving to Lancashire from his native Gateshead, in County Durham, in 1974.
An athletic, marauding full-back, Scott went on to play 285 times for the Clarets making his debut in the top flight at the age of 17 in 1975 away at Everton.
A few years later he would be joined in the dressing room at Turf Moor by his wife’s younger brother and both would have to listen to teamtalks delivered by Brian, who had by then become the club’s manager!
A good few years later, Gillian and Derek’s sons – Chris and Paul – would go on to become professional footballers at Burnley.
During the managerial reign of Stan Ternent, Chris played 15 times in League One during the 1998-99 campaign while younger brother Paul made two substitute appearances in the Championship in 2004.
“I don’t know if anything like that has happened anywhere else in the world,” Miller said.
“To have five members of the same family to all play in the first team of one club is remarkable. It probably won’t ever happen again. It is unique.
“I think with Derek marrying my sister, he obviously has football in his blood so there was a good chance that his two sons would be decent footballers.
“I would have been about 12-years-old when Derek and my sister met.
“Derek had already made his debut in the first team and he was a strong and athletic player, who could get up and down that line.
“I think he played 300 games for Burnley and then had two or three seasons at Bolton Wanderers.
“He was a very good full-back, who gave everything he had when he played. When he finished playing he became a policeman.
“Chris is also a policeman and Paul is a plumber, but they both had two or three years as professional footballers and played in the first team at Burnley.
“My dad was obviously the best of the lot . Even though I was too young to ever remember seeing him play, I knew what he was like as a player.
“He was a very hard player, but fair.
“The fans used to call him Brutus because he was such a strong, physical player where as I was more of a ball player.
“Did I influence Chris and Paul in their careers? I would say no.
“But I do remember once taking Chris with me when Stockport were playing Nottingham Forest in the cup.
“He would only have been about 13-years-old and I think we ended up losing 3-2.
“But I remember in the car coming back, Chris saying to me, ‘What I noticed Uncle David is you never seemed to give the ball away’.
“He noted that even then at that age, so he must have had some kind of game intelligence.
“I remember saying back to him, ‘Good players never give it away Chris’!”
The fact that all five played for Burnley is remarkable enough, but Miller admits that is not the only coincidence with regards to his family.
“My sister Gillian is six years older than me, but we were born on the same day – January 8,” he said.
“She obviously married Derek and when I made my debut for Burnley against Sheffield Wednesday in the old Second Division in 1982, I came on for my brother-in-law!
“There are quite a few coincidentals with regards to mine and my dad’s career.
“He scored on his debut for Burnley and I did.
“He played in the 9-0 win over New Brighton in the FA Cup and I played in the 9-0 win over Penrith also in the FA Cup.
“And we both had to finish playing with anterior cruciate knee ligament damage.”
Miller made his debut for Burnley as a 17-year-old in 1982 and left in 1985 .
Relegated from the top division in 1976, Burnley yo-yoed between the old Second and Third Divisions for around a decade.
But they dropped to the bottom rung of English football in 1985 after the ill-fated experiment of appointing flamboyant ex-Manchester City boss John
Bond, who arrived at the club under much fanfare the previous summer.
“I think the problem with John Bond is he didn’t do his homework in terms of what the town of Burnley is like,” said Miller.
“He came in a little bit flash like he was still in charge of Manchester City.
“The thing was with him, he only seemed to concentrate on attack and not defence.
“I once remember him gathering a few of us together and grabbing hold of this cup and then proceeding to smash it on the floor. He said, ‘Look it’s easy to destroy’.
“His mentality was defending was easy; it was the attacking side of the game, in other words the creativity in the final third which he wanted to focus his management on.
“He was sort of saying it’s easy to put 10 men behind the ball and destroy .
"In fairness to him, he wanted to be creative and he was a good coach in that regard.”
Burnley would go on to spend seven years in the wilderness of the Fourth Division – almost dropping out of the Football League altogether in 1987.
Miller admits it is incredible to see the club in the Premier League now when he thinks back to how the clubs was when he was on the playing staff.
“It is an absolute miracle to see where they are now,” said Miller, who is married to Debbie and has a daughter Harriet (32) and a son David (29).
“Sean Dyche has performed an absolute miracle to get the club where they are now.”