Linfield FC announced the sad passing today of our legendary, flamboyant and popular forward Billy Millen after a serious illness courageously borne at his adopted home in Sydney, Australia.
He achieved immortality and legendary status on account of his 2 goals against Manchester City just over 50 years ago but using as our resource, the treasure trove that is the personal notes and archives of the former chairman, the late David Crawford, Linfieldfc.com takes a closer look at the career of one of the greatest names in our proud history.
Billy Millen was born on March 30, 1949 and he grew up in Ballymacarret, East Belfast.
He was a right half with the Orangefield school team and played with the Ledley Hall boys club.
He won a Bunting cup medal with the 86th Old Boys.
He was with Distillery in season 1964/65, although he spent 4 weeks with Linfield during the course of that season.
He was transferred to Arsenal in September 1965 for £4000 and he signed for Linfield from Arsenal in December 1967 for a £2500 fee.
He made his Linfield debut against Ards on Christmas Day in 1967, scoring once in a 2-0 away win.
A day later, he scored 4 in an 8-1 home win against Derry City.
His Linfield career details are as follows
1967/68 - 26 appearances (4 as sub) - 12 goals
1969/70 - 38 appearances - 8 goals
1970/71 - 28 appearances (1 as sub) - 9 goals
Billy emigrated to South Africa in 1971/72 signing for Arcadia for a £2000 fee.
1972/73 - 42 appearances (3 as sub)
1973/74 - 26 appearances - 7 goals
He played in 5 European games - away to Vitoria Setubal of Portugal in September 1968, home and away against Red Star Belgrade in September / October 1969 and most famously against Manchester City home and away in September 1970.
In addition, he made the following appearances for the Swifts
1968/69 - 1 appearance v Larne in a 4-3 win on November 30
1970/71 - 3 appearances
1972/73 - 2 appearances and 2 goals
1973/74 - 5 appearances and 3 goals
He won the following honours
1970/71 - Irish League winners medal
1970/71 - Ulster cup winners medal
1969/70 - Irish Cup winners medal in 2-1 win v Ballymena at Solitude
1970/71 - Gold Cup winners medal in 2-1 win v Glentoran at the Oval on 17/3/71
1972/73 - County Antrim Shield winners medal v Bangor
Inter league cup cap v English League in 1970/71
He was a sub in the Irish cup final defeat to Crusaders in 1968 and he picked up a County Antrim Shield runners up medal in May 1968 after a final replay defeat by Glentoran.
He picked up further runners up medals in 1969 - in April to Coleraine in the Top Four final and in May to Crusaders in the County Antrim Shield final.
He picked up an Irish cup runners up medal in the 1973 final following a 3-2 defeat by Glentoran in the Windsor Park final but he scored in both legs of the County Antrim Shield final against Bangor in May 1973 - winning 4-1 at home and 5-0 away..
He played in the Gold cup final winning team against Portadown (2-0) at Castlereagh Park on May 26, 1973 and he played in the City Cup final winning team against Coleraine at the Ballymena Showgrounds on New Year's Day in 1974. Linfield won on penalties.
Billy was a Member of the Northern Ireland squad under Billy Bingham.
In 1969 he lived at 29 Douglas Street
In 1973 he lived at 33 Kingscourt Street
Billy's brother in law is legendary Linfield keeper George Dunlop
Billy was the joker in the dressing room and was nicknamed Nijinsky as he was very fast.
In August this year Billy was awarded Life membership of Linfield FC to coincide with and mark the 50th anniversary of his 2 goals against the English giants, Manchester City.
Billy passed away in Australia earlier today and his family are in the thoughts and prayers of everyone who was privileged to be in attendance on a September night in 1970 to witness an achievement that is unlikely to ever be repeated.
Billy wrote a chapter in the proud history of this great football club and he will be greatly missed by all his former team mates.
He fought his final battle bravely and may his soul rest in eternal peace.