Early 1995. Yours truly was approaching graduation in Manchester. And whilst not important in the grand scheme of things, my WFC support during the university years had been limited to trips to Tranmere, Bolton, Burnley, alongside cramming in trips to the Vic during the holiday periods. So what was I missing out on? Well, a half decent run in the F.A. Cup and an impressive showing in the First Division that saw the Hornets just squeezed out of the play-off positions. Both of these achievements were founded on a fantastic run of nine clean sheets from the first game of 1995 and only ended with an unexpected home defeat to Sunderland towards the end of February.
Strikers get all the glory when they’re banging in the goals, so it’s only right that a big chunk of credit for this defensive run goes to Kevin Miller. Don’t get me wrong, Colin Foster and Keith Millen performed admirably that season. But Miller was showing us early signs as to why Crystal Palace would end up paying £1.5million for a Division Two goalie in 1997. In fact, then in the Premier League, Palace were the last of the sides unable to breach Miller’s defences, during a 0-0 draw in the Fifth Round of the F.A. Cup at Vicarage Road. Not satisfied with that effort, after the disappointing Sunderland result, it took Palace all the way into extra time, before they eventually broke the duck at Selhurst Park in the replay.
Kevin can’t have it all his own way though. He was missing for one of those games, the 3rd Round cup tie at Scarborough. Another 0-0 draw, Perry Digweed the custodian on this occasion. However, he didn’t miss out too often and made over 150 appearances in league and cup during the three years he spent with the Hornets. Kevin enjoyed a very long professional career, with his final appearance in the Football League coming as recently as 2007 for Torquay United. Kevin has remained in the South West, still turning out for Bodmin Town. Of course, all Watford fans will know his finest moment of the 21st century came last summer, as part of the Watford team that triumphed in the London Masters at Wembley Arena (From The Rookery End were there and spoke to most of the squad, including Kevin).
But as 20th century achievements go, that run of clean sheets in 1995 must be one of the best during the years book-ended by the two management spells of his almightiness, Graham Taylor. So, the latest entry into From The Rookery End’s 100 Objects is Kevin Miller’s Daz white clean sheets (other clothes washing products are available).