Goodnight and Good Luck – Joe MillerPosted: 02/01/2014
Well, it’s been coming for a while but with the game against Guildford now past the time is finally here for us to bid Goodnight and Good Luck to Joe Miller.
What have we lost:
At the moment we’ve lost one of the form players in the EPL; Miller is currently the highest goalscoring British forward in the league and in the top 10 of British point scorers.
On a more general level, we’ve lost a forward with a playing style that has always been popular in Basingstoke. Miller is a superb hockey player on his day that plays really skilful hockey with a good dose of grit. As comfortable taking the body as he is scoring, Miller also found favour on this blog for his exploits on the penalty kill.
Where has he gone:
For the benefit of those that have been under a rock or on their way to Mars and haven’t heard, Miller signed a contract with the Telford Tigers in November. He has been working a 6 week notice period for the Bison.
Who replaces him:
Miller’s replacement has actually been playing with him for the last few weeks in the form of Ciaran Long. Whilst it’s the financial misfortunes at Slough that allowed Ciaran to join the Bison, it’s probably as close to a like for like replacement as Sheppard could have found.
You’d think this would be easy for me to write in terms of what to say but I’ve deliberately avoided writing anything or even thinking about this piece until this point.
When it was announced that Miller was leaving, I was somewhat more accepting than some people were of it. This is British hockey, this sort of things happen. I’m not here at this point to get into the moral whys and wherefores of clubs approaching players under contract (rather than the other way around, there’s a difference) but I was just interested as to what the Bison would do. I even jokingly floated the idea to some that we should just sit Miller for the duration of his notice but we all knew that wouldn’t happen. Whatever peoples’ feelings about Telford (and some have noticeably soured) the feelings about Miller have been almost uniform; they have been overwhelmingly understanding and positive.
Miller has been the upmost professional for the last 6 weeks, going out every night and busting his backside to leave the Bison in the best position possible, which given that at the time of writing is top of the table can’t really be argued with.
Some players might not have tried as hard, maybe held back, maybe even checked out altogether but Miller went full throttle for his remaining time and didn’t disappoint. The deal that he was offered however was one that couldn’t be turned down and whilst many bemoan it happening, understand why Miller has made this decision.
Players move on, clubs move on; it’s the nature of the beast at this level but I think if the great Tigers return doesn’t work out as Miller hopes, that the door isn’t really fully shut for him in Basingstoke.
All the best, Joe.