Kevin Miller, a goalkeeper from Cornwall, had two contrasting spells with Exeter. In the first he played over 160 league games and was part of the 1990 championship-winning team. In the second he was in the side relegated from the Football League. Between times Kevin had a successful career at a higher-level with Birmingham, Watford, Crystal Palace and Barnsley. He rejoined City as a goalkeeping coach in 2022.
Living not far from Tony Kellow, Kevin started with his local club Falmouth Town and was working as a painter and decorator - and playing for Newquay - when he signed for Exeter City in March 1989 just short of his 20th birthday. After making his debut against Rotherham United at St James’ Park in April 1989, Kevin later took over as first-choice keeper from Dave Walter and ended his first full season as a professional as a member of the Exeter City team that won the Fourth Division championship in 1990.
Three more seasons followed as first-choice and, by the end of 1992/93, Kevin had appeared in 163 league games with his consistent displays attracting the attention of other clubs. Eventually it was to be no surprise when he left for Birmingham City to rejoin his former Grecians’ manager Terry Cooper for a transfer fee of £250,000 in May 1993. Just over a year later in August 1994, after making 24 league outings for Birmingham, a similar fee took him to Watford where he added a further 128 appearances. Kevin was transferred to Crystal Palace for £1m in July 1997 and made 66 league appearances with the Selhurst Park club, thirty-eight of these coming in his first season as Palace were relegated from the Premier League whilst reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. A £250,000 move took Kevin to Barnsley in August 1999 where he stayed for three seasons appearing in 115 league games for the Tykes.
Kevin, now thirty-three and a veteran of 496 league games, returned to Exeter City in August 2002 and appeared in every league game during the fateful 2002/03 season that ended in relegation from the Football League. He also played in six cup games to bring his Exeter City tally to 252 appearances in all first-team competitions.
As City left the Football League Kevin continued with Bristol Rovers where, in two seasons, he played in 72 league matches. Then, weeks before his 37th birthday, Kevin signed for Championship side Southampton in February 2006 and soon made seven league appearances before the end of the season. Kevin remained on Saints’ books in 2006/07 but his only games were on loan with Torquay United and it was at Plainmoor, against Darlington on 24 February 2007, that Kevin played his 628th and final Football League match.
Yet Kevin carried on playing until well into his forties primarily with Bodmin and, after threatening to retire several times, was still featuring in the SW Peninsula League in 2016. He then had brief spells managing Exmouth Town (2017-18) and Okehampton (2022) before his appointment as goalkeeping coach at Exeter City in December 2022. Speaking at the time of his return Kevin said:
“The club gave me my chance when I was a 19-year-old and I retired at 46, taking a bit of time out because football had been my life for so long. I’ve been desperate to get back in and have been managing Okehampton for the last six or seven months. Coaching is not like playing, but it’s the next best thing, the day-to-day banter side of it and being out in the fresh air with the keepers and helping improve them is as good as playing for me now so I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to pushing on. I’ve got my own style and my own way of training so bit by bit we will bring that in.
“I loved my time here as a player, it was my first club and has always been close to my heart. You see the things the club do, like giving Jay Stansfield his father’s number 9 shirt and it’s incredible.”
League 209; Cups 43 (252)