Millership Walter Image 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1939

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Millership Walter Image 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1939

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Warsop Vale, Nottinghamshire born centre half Walter Millership was originally a centre forward in his early playing days, which started in amateur football with Warsop Main Colliery and Welbeck Athletic in 1925, and Shirebrook in 1926 before in January 1928 he was invited for a trial at Bradford Park Avenue and was promptly signed by them in February 1928, making his Football League debut in a 2-1 victory at Nelson the same month in Avenue’s Third Division (North) Championship season. However it took over a year for Millership to get his breakthrough into the Avenue first team, with a regular berth from September 1929, and within months he was attracting attention for his goals, which included a goal in the FA Cup fourth round upset of Derby County and another in the 1-5 fifth round defeat against League Champions Sheffield Wednesday on 15th February 1930. Despite the heavy defeat, Wednesday manager Bob Brown was sufficiently impressed with Millership to sign him for the Hillsborough club the following month for a fee of £2,600, by when he had scored 14 goals in 34 appearances for Avenue.

Millership played six games at inside right in the remainder of the 1929-30 season as Wednesday retained their Division One title. However, for the next three season Millership’s first team opportunities were limited as he was kept out of the side by ace inside forwards Jimmy Seed, Harry Burgess and latterly Ronnie Starling. In the 1931-32 season he had the fine record of 14 goals in only 17 appearances including four goals in a 7-0 FA Cup 4th round victory over Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in January 1932 and a League hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers the same month.

Millership’s big chance in the Wednesday team came when it was decided to play him as a centre half towards the end of the 1932-33 season as a temporary replacement for the injured Tony Leach. Millership revelled in the pivotal position, his sturdy play earning him the nickname “Battleship” from Wednesday fans and by the end of 1933 he had made the position his own. He was Wednesday’s first choice centre half for the next five seasons, playing in the 1935 FA Cup Final victory over West Bromwich Albion at Wembley, a season in which he was an ever present and Wednesday also finished 3rd in the League, and he came close to earning an England cap, playing in an international trial in March 1935. Later the same year he also won the FA Charity Shield as Sheffield Wednesday beat Champions Arsenal 1-0 in the annual fixture in October 1935.

Millership lost his centre half place to Harry Hanford in the last full season before World War Two (1938-39), however he played 15 games as a stand in centre forward, scoring 9 goals when Doug Hunt was injured.

Millership captained Wednesday throughout the War playing in 155 wartime games, scoring 12 goals. He played in the 1943 War Cup Final defeat to Blackpool. He also played as a guest for Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield United during the War. Millership played on in non-league football after the War signing for Denaby United in May 1946. It was at this time that Millership can claim to have discovered the 17-year-old Derek Dooley who scored a hat trick for Lincoln City reserves whilst playing against Denaby. Millership was quickly on the phone to Wednesday to inform them of Dooley’s talent and he was signed in great haste by Wednesday manager Eric Taylor. He retired from the game in 1948.

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