Former Arsenal goalkeeper and Norfolk estate manager dies

Former Arsenal player Alan Miller at Wells Beach Cafe. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Former Arsenal player Alan Miller at Wells Beach Cafe. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A former Arsenal goalkeeper who became a Norfolk pub landlord and estate manager, Alan Miller, has died.

Mr Miller, who played for a number of clubs, including West Brom and Middlesbrough, was 51.

He made 103 appearances for the Baggies and 64 for Boro, helping the Teesside club to promotion to the Premier League in 1995.

As a tall teenager, Mr Miller was an obvious choice to go in goal when the regular goalkeeper failed to show up back in Loughton, Essex. From that man of the match performance, the rest was history.

Mr Miller also had spells at a number of clubs, including Birmingham, Plymouth Argyle, Arsenal, and Blackburn Rovers. He also earned a handful of caps for England at the under-21 level.

Aston Villa's Dwight Yorke drives his second goal past West Bromwich Albion's Alan Miller during tod

Alan Miller in goal for West Bromwich Albion during the FA Cup 4th round match at Villa Park. - Credit: David Jones/PA.

During his time at Blackburn Rovers, he suffered a back injury, with a second slipped disc. This injury meant Mr Miller would hang up his football boots in 2003 and he headed to Mallorca to run a bespoke holiday service for seven years.

But it was his interest in horse racing that brought him to Norfolk.

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He had owned a couple of racehorses as a footballer and a horse-racing friend had taken over the Nelson pub in Burnham Market, which he renamed The Jockey.

The opportunity arose for Mr Miller and his partner Nerida Britton to take on the pub, which they did for five or six years before they both started to work at the Holkham Estate.

Mr Miller moved to Holkham and went on to become business development manager at Holkham Hall.

In his role, he oversaw the transformation of Wells Beach Cafe. He watched it become a thriving venue for beach-goers, dog walkers, cyclists and more.

ARSENAL GOALKEEPER ALAN MILLER, APORTRAIT.

Alan Miller during his time at Arsenal. - Credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive/PA Images

As a dog lover, Mr Miller put a heavy emphasis on the café's friendliness for four-legged friends, with its own dog-washing facilities – and now dogs even have their own 'bar'.

The venue also won the national Kennel Club's Be Dog-Friendly Award.

He also put into practice what he learned from footballing greats - Graeme Souness, George Graham and Bryan Robson - as he went onto manage a young team at the Wells Beach Café.

Wells-next-the-Sea Beach Cafe on Beach Road.

Wells-next-the-Sea Beach Cafe on Beach Road. - Credit: Google Maps

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