Wing half James “Smiler” Mills joined the Tigers in October 1946 and was handed the captain’s armband that had previously been worn by the departed John Sheen. This was a season of great transition for City as they rebuilt a squad following World War 2, but Mills was a constant presence around which Major Frank Buckley built his team. Mills scored his only goal for the Tigers in March 1947 2-5 defeat at Rochdale. He stayed at City for the first two months of 1947/48 season, starting every game, but was dropped in October and left the club in December 1947.
Mills was born in Dalton Brook, a rural hamlet that is now part of suburban Rotherham, and played junior football for Dinnington Athletic while working as furnaceman in a steel works. He signed for local club Rotherham United in August 1937 and played 54 league games in two seasons. Rotherham retained Mills’ registration throughout World War 2 until his move to Hull in 1946.
In December 1947 Mills joined Halifax Town, in the 1948 close season he moved on again to Gainsborough Trinity, his final club.
Mills returned to Rotherham after his playing career and died in January 1994.
Date/Place of Birth: 30 September 1915, Dalton Brook
Hull City First Game: 19 October 1946, Halifax Town H (Division Three North), 31 years, 19 days old
Hull City Final Game: 4 October 1947, Wrexham H (Division Three North), 32 years, 4 days old
Rotherham United (1937-1946), Hull City (1946-1947), Halifax Town (1947-1948), Gainsborough Trinity (1948)
Hull City Record
Career: 47 apps, 1 goalsJames Mills