Tony Millington: Wales goalkeeper as much remembered for his crowd-pleasing antics as his net-guarding skills

Millington was a born entertainer who fostered a rare rapport with spectators

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The Independent Online

Welsh international Tony Millington was a courageous, athletic goalkeeper – but perhaps it is for his flamboyant showmanship between the posts that he will be recalled most vividly.

Millington was a born entertainer who fostered a rare rapport with spectators. Regular antics included accepting sweets, sometimes even a pie, from fans and eating them during a game. Once he even grabbed an ice-lolly from a salesgirl and licked it while taking a goal kick.

He was renowned for handstands when his team scored, for swinging from the crossbar in quiet moments – and there was one occasion when he sprinted from the field during a pre-match warm-up, returning with a chair which he presented to an elderly spectator on crutches.

But for all his clowning, Millington was no slouch at his job. Arguably he overdid the spectacular dives at times, but at core he was a solid performer who deserved his 21 full caps, earned between 1962 and 1971.

Having turned professional with West Bromwich Albion in 1960, he played 40 times for the Throstles without becoming established, before stepping down a division to join second-tier Crystal Palace in October 1964.

Millington didn't linger long at Selhurst Park, accepting a March 1966 switch to third-flight Peterborough United. He reached his peak with Swansea City, for whom he made more than 200 appearances, helping them to win promotion from the basement division in 1969-70.

After joining Northern Irish club Glenavon in 1974, his career was ended by a car crash and he was confined permanently to a wheelchair. He later became Wrexham's disability officer.

IVAN PONTING

Anthony Horace Millington, footballer: born Hawarden, Flintshire 5 June 1943; died 5 August 2015.

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