Student graduates as Pro Footballer

Published: 31 October 2006 at 11:54

One of Anglia Ruskin University’s most enthusiastic ex-sports science students has a bit of a dilemma on his hands – he is just too busy with his new football career to attend his very own graduation ceremony, planned for later this month (November).

Ian Miller (22) was signed up by Ipswich Town Football Club’s Manager Jim Magilton just after completing his BSc Sports, Health and Exercise degree which means that the new and highly-rated defender, formerly with Bury Town, is not available to attend what would normally be his forthcoming degree celebrations.

“My mum is not overly happy with the fact that she will miss my moment of glory but I think on balance she is happy with the way things are working out for me.”

Miller was snapped up for the first team squad just weeks after completing his three year course, which he started with West Suffolk College in Bury

St Edmunds after being signed to the highly-acclaimed Bury Football School.  He moved from his home town of Colchester to Suffolk to take up a position with the School which has strong links with the regional college.

“I studied a BTec National Diploma in Sports Studies for two years and then continued for another two years to gain a Higher National Certificate (HNC). From this I acquired a Higher National Diploma (HND) and finally a Diploma of Higher Education in Sport, Health and Exercise, before moving onto my final year of BSc degree study at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Anglia Ruskin University’s campus in Chelmsford. During the time I was studying, I was combining playing with lecturing at the college - and coaching autistic and disabled students at the same time. This was a hugely rewarding and life-enriching experience.”

“While I was studying at Chelmsford during my final year I was assisted by excellent teaching staff at the Institute of Health and Social Care who helped me to work on my dissertation on The Femininity Deficit – Women in Sport.

"I am very fortunate that I was able to participate in learning at a very high level while playing the sport I love. If I couldn’t play football I don’t know what I would do. It is my passion. I couldn’t work in an office. I have to be outdoors."

"It helps to know how things work both on and off the pitch. My degree certainly gives me an advantage in this respect."

Miller played 300 games for Bury Town over a five year period before moving to ITFC. He is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bury’s other star pupil, Simon Milton.

Signed in September 2006, his contract at Portman Road runs until June 2007.

"It is a giant leap to move from being a student to where I am today. When I recently attended A&E after breaking my nose in a game, the admissions nurse asked me what I did for a living – it was a surreal moment. I thought about saying student before volunteering the fact that I was actually a professional footballer!"