Simon Miotto

Simon Miotto always was a pretty unconventional footballer by 21st century standards. In an age of academies and players being signed up seemingly as soon as they can work, the Tasmanian reached professional football much later and by a remarkably circuitous route.

Miotto was a talented athlete from the start, but that went hand in hand with education. His parents were insistent that he went into further education and so he went to the University of Canberra, got an Education degree and was qualified as a teacher.

He continued playing sport and did pretty well as a triple jumper, becoming part of the National training programme at the Australian Institute of Sport. Genuine hopes of going to the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 were ended by injury in 1990 but that only led him back to football.

Coming to the game late, goalkeeping seemed to be the best avenue for Miotto to go down because obviously you can play longer.

He bought a one way ticket to Europe to try and make it happen and by 1994, he was playing at Blackpool under Sam Allardyce. A serious hand injury during that season was another hefty setback and he was released accordingly, but once his hand was fixed, Blackpool took him back in again, though Gary Megson was now in charge by then.

Looking to play first team football, in July 1998 he moved on to Hartlepool United and made his league debut there at the age of 29. He moved to Scunthorpe in 200, then to Raith Rovers a year later and then to St Johnstone in 2003 where he was a back up goalkeeper – the supporters who gave him a fans’ favourite award even though he was a non-playing sub for his time there.

In March 2004 Gary Megson, by now at West Bromwich Albion, was chasing promotion back to the Premier League and looking for goalkeeping cover, giving Miotto a contract until season’s end.

Promotion was clinched with four games to spare and Miotto was asked to stay on to work with Russell Hoult and Tomasz Kuszczak the following season. Miotto was seen as a valuable asset in the dressing room and the players voted him onto their leadership group while he also wrote a regular column in the match programme.

After that season, he moved to Denmark and, in January 2006, joined Olstykke FC in the Danish First Division and helped the club avoid relegation. From there he went to Akademisk Boldklub in 2007, then in June the following year to Koge BK, and then to Hefolge Boldklub in 2009, who got promoted to the Danish Superliga.

He returned to England in February 2010 when he joined York City as a player and goalkeeper coach. They lost the Conference Play-off at Wembley that season and Miotto was then offered the role as player / goalkeeping coach at Tranmere Rovers in League One. After a season, at 41, Miotto decided to retire as a player and coach, leaving Tranmere in 2011 to set up a sports management company.

He has subsequently been involved in transfer dealings, mentoring and helping develop young players.

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