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Halstead Town to honour service of promotion-winner Nick Miller with testimonial raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity



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The tradition of a football club putting on a testimonial match to honour a players' decade of service, even at non-league level, has almost been consigned to history itself.

But Halstead Town players past and present will be in action at the Milbank Stadium for a season-ending game on Saturday to pay tribute to Nick Miller.

Not many, if any, would have thought this day would arrive for him when he joined the Humbugs as a 29-year-old under Mark Benterman's and Jimmy Holder's tenure.

Nick Miller goes into a tackle for Halstead Town in an FA Vase tie with Potton United in September, during his 10th season with the club Picture: Mecha Morton
Nick Miller goes into a tackle for Halstead Town in an FA Vase tie with Potton United in September, during his 10th season with the club Picture: Mecha Morton

But the tough-tackling central midfielder, who has latterly been shoreing up the north Essex side's defence, has been a dependable mainstay of their squad ever since.

And, fittingly, his 10th season at the Rosemary Lane club saw the Chelmsford-based player help to end a 17 year absence from Step 5 football by earning promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South via the play-offs.

Miller, who is not said to be retiring ahead of turning 40, will captain one of the sides in a game raising funds for his chosen charity: Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Nick Miller, front row third from left, enjoys celebrating promotion with his Halstead Town team-mates and management following their play-off final at the end of last month Picture: Russell Claydon
Nick Miller, front row third from left, enjoys celebrating promotion with his Halstead Town team-mates and management following their play-off final at the end of last month Picture: Russell Claydon

And the day – kicking off at 2pm to allow the players to watch the Emirates FA Cup Final with supporters in the clubhouse afterwards – is set to be extra special with Miller and his current team-mates also being presented with their play-off winners trophy and medals ahead of kick-off.

The Humbugs, who finished 4th in the table, upset the odds to claim promotion via the play-offs with a 2-1 victory in the final at Buckhurst Hill – against a second-placed side that had ended 27 points ahead of them.

Halstead Town chairman Carl Pearse is hoping for a good crowd to come out and support the testimonial day in Miller's honour while raising money for a good cause.

"We always have a charity event on FA Cup Final day and said to Nick he could chose this year's charity," he said.

"He chose Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity for personal reasons as one of his nieces had treatment there."

Miller is set to receive a guard of honour on to the pitch alongside his two young sons.

"We wanted to do this mainly because players do not stay with a club very often," said Pearse.

Nick Miller on the ball for Halstead Town during an FA Vase tie against Stanway Rovers in September 2017 Picture: Tudor Morgan-Owen
Nick Miller on the ball for Halstead Town during an FA Vase tie against Stanway Rovers in September 2017 Picture: Tudor Morgan-Owen

"Nick joined us at 29 so it is quite remarkable as normally a player would be at the end of their career joining around that age. But Nick stayed with us for another 10 years which is quite remarkable in this day and age so we thought we would honour him with a testimonial."

The line-up of the teams is still to be confirmed but is set to be 'Halstead orientated' with players he has played with down the years as well as his current team-mates.

Pearse is also pleased the game can tie in with their play-off final trophy and medals finally being awarded with the league having apologised for not being able to do them at the final itself.

Entry to the testimonial match on Saturday at their Rosemary Lane base is free of charge with food available through a BBQ.

Money for their chosen charity can be given on the day but Pearse has also set up a JustGiving page that can be found here and, at the time of writing, has so far raised £250.

Meanwhile, Halstead found out yesterday evening that they are set to be playing in the Essex Senior League Premier Division instead of the Thurlow Nunn League's top tier next season.

Speaking before the announcement came, Pearse said: "Everything seems to be pointing to the Essex Senior League (Premier Division) for us, from what we have seen people posting online," he said, "which is not a problem for us.

"To be honest we would not really be bothered either way."