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Ralph Milne
Personal information
Full name Ralph Milne
Date of birth 13 May 1961 (1961-05-13) (age 48)
Place of birth Dundee, Scotland
Height 5ft 8in (1.72m)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Dundee Celtic BC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1977–1987 Dundee United 179 (44)
1987–1988 Charlton Athletic 022 0(0)
1988 Bristol City 030 0(6)
1988–1991 Manchester United 023 0(3)
1990 West Ham United (loan) 000 0(0)
1991–1992 Sing Tao
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Ralph Milne (born 13 May 1961) is a Scottish former professional footballer whose clubs included Dundee United, Charlton Athletic, Bristol City and Manchester United. He played as a midfielder.

Contents

Career

"If I had an outstanding failure then it was Ralph Milne. He should have been playing in World Cups. He should have won a bundle of Scotland international honours. It was a tragedy that that boy was not playing for his country all the time. He had tremendous talent - and I failed with him. He did not have the right attitude to the game and I could not instil that into him."[1]

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Dundee United

Milne is Dundee United's all-time top scorer in Europe with a tally of 15 in the two competitions - the UEFA and European Cups. Whilst the latter stages of the player's career were perhaps hampered by off-field activities, no Dundee United supporter will forget Ralph Milne's contribution to early 1980s successes both in Europe and on the domestic front.

Charlton Athletic

He was sold to the unfashionable English Football League First Division club Charlton Athletic in the summer of 1987, but stayed there less than a year (in which he failed to score in 22 league games).

Bristol City

Milne dropped down two divisions to join Bristol City, where he was more successful with six goals in 30 Third Division games.

Manchester United

This was enough to convince Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that he was still worth a contract with a top flight club, and in November 1988 he moved to Old Trafford in a £150,000 deal. Ferguson was looking to build a title winning side two years after joining United, but had seen his side finish second in the league the previous season and now they were on a winless run in the league that saw them mid table behind unfancied clubs including Millwall, Norwich City and Coventry City.

Milne managed three goals in 22 league appearances in 1988-89, but was not a popular player with United fans and is regularly mentioned when the club's worst-ever players are being debated. On 18 November 2009, at an inaugural dinner of the League Managers' Association Hall of Fame 1000 Club, celebrating the 18 men to have managed more than 1,000 domestic league or cup matches, Ferguson remarked that Milne was his worst signing, saying "I only paid £170,000 but still get condemned for it".[2]

After his arrival, United did recover their winning ways for a while and were third in the league by mid February, but another slump dragged them down to 11th in the final table.

Ferguson decided that his gamble on Milne had not paid off, and in the summer of 1989 began scouring the transfer market for a more suitable left winger. In September 1989, he brought in Danny Wallace from Southampton. Wallace was not a particularly successful buy for United, and was soon struggling to hold down a place in the first team, but the emergence of Lee Sharpe meant that Milne was forced out of the first team picture at Old Trafford in 1989-90, making one substitute appearance in the league. During that season, as United struggled in the league but won the FA Cup, Milne was loaned out to West Ham United, where he make the final appearance of his career in a League Cup tie.

He remained on the United's payroll until 30 June 1991, when he was given a free transfer. This marked the end of a professional career which had brought much success north of the border but much disappointment at the south of it.

Personal life

Milne has admitted to problems with alcoholism and gambling addiction during and after his playing career.[3]

Milne's manager at Dundee United, Jim McLean has since stated that Milne would have had greater success in his career were it not for his problems with alcohol and discipline.[4]

Career statistics

Club Season League Cup Lg Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dundee United 1979-80 13 2 0 0 4 0 2 0 19 2
1980-81 21 7 6 0 5 3 1 0 33 10
1981-82 35 8 4 0 8 2 8 4 55 14
1982-83 34 16 1 0 6 2 8 3 49 21
1983-84 25 5 4 0 10 3 8 4 47 12
1984-85 19 4 5 0 5 2 2 2 31 8
1985-86 18 1 2 0 3 2 6 1 29 4
1986-87 14 1 0 0 5 0 7 1 23 2
Total 179 44 22 0 43 14 42 15 286 73
Charlton Athletic 1986-87 12 0 N/A N/A N/A 12 0
1987-88 10 0 N/A N/A N/A 10 0
Total 22 0 N/A N/A N/A 22 0
Bristol City 1987-88 19 4 N/A N/A N/A 19 4
Total 19 4 N/A N/A N/A 19 4
Manchester United 1988-89 22 3 N/A N/A N/A 22 3
1989-90 1 0 N/A N/A N/A 1 0
Total 23 3 N/A N/A N/A 23 3
West Ham United (loan) 1989-90 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Total 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Career total 243 51 22 0 44 14 42 15 351 80

References

  1. ^ McLean, Jim (1987). Jousting with Giants. Billing and Sons. pp. 162–163. ISBN 1 85158 088 3 (cloth).  
  2. ^ Fergie laments 'fragile' stars Football365, 18 November 2009
  3. ^ Dundee Utd legend Ralph Milne blasts Jim McLean for ruining his World Cup dream Daily Record, 9 October 2009
  4. ^ Boozing cost Ralph chance of 50 caps Daily Record, 9 October 2009

External links


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