“The Bayview” has brought you a number of pieces over the last two years on the Scottish invasion at Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer.
With a Scottish manager and assistant, former Fife player and coach Gordon Forrest heading to their academy system, and the addition of players Kenny Miller and Barry Robson, there’s been a bit of interest in the Canadian side.
The Scottish experiment hasn’t worked and the Whitecaps have failed to make this year’s playoffs, meaning heads will roll as a result. Robson is long departed after he couldn’t see eye to eye with management and some of his teammates, and manager Martin Rennie is expected to be fired next week, likely also signalling the end of Fifer Paul Ritchie’s time at the club.
That all leaves the fate of Scotland and Rangers legend Kenny Miller in the balance.
Miller’s had a tough time of it in Major League Soccer and although the Whitecaps announced a six month contract extension for him earlier in the year, taking him up to June 2014, the general feeling over the pond is that Miller will return back to Scotland, with today’s opponents Rangers continually linked with giving their former hero a third stint at the club.
So will we see Miller taking on East Fife in Rangers colours later this season? It’s looking increasingly likely.
Miller joined Vancouver in July last year and struggled to find his feet in the North American game, managing only 2 goals in his 14 appearances.
Many fans expected both parties to cut their losses and go their separate ways, but Miller came back for the 2013 campaign, and with a full pre-season under his belt, he looked like the Kenny Miller of old and it was a joy for this exiled Scot to see.
This season saw Kenny grab 7 goals in 12 appearances for Vancouver, but therein the latter stat there lies the problem.
He’s played great, looked sharp, missed his usual share of chances, but buried some beauties, including a couple of ‘goal of the year’ contenders. He was playing with a smile on his face and enjoying his football again.
But then came the injuries, not helped by 12 hours flights across the Atlantic and back to play for Scotland. Miller has had a nightmare time this year with groin injuries.
Miller had quit the international scene to try and extend his club career, telling us at AFTN that “it was a wrench to make that decision”.
At least he went out on a massive high with that goal against England, a goal which he told us was “not a bad way to finish off”, adding:
“When you’re a kid growing up you watch these Scotland-England games and you always dream about playing your part in it and for me to play in the game, in front of 80,000 at Wembley, and to score, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Only unfortunately it wasn’t a winner!”
Despite his best intentions a third groin injury of the year forced him to miss the season run-in, depriving Vancouver of a vital player in their now doomed playoff chase.
It was also revealed this week that he has also had tendonitis on his knee for most of the year and has flown to Sweden to see a specialist and will miss tomorrow’s last game of the season for Vancouver.
Whether he will be back, only he will know for certain right now. The club say they expect him to be, but his wife Laura regularly tweets about missing Scotland.
It could be that we will be writing about him again next year in “The Bayview”, only this time as one of East Fife opponents to watch. Or maybe we can sign him ourselves!
[You can follow the fortunes of Kenny Miller, Vancouver Whitecaps and Major League Soccer on AFTN’s Canadian site at – www.aftn.ca]