David McMillan: 'I’ve half a mind to retire and half a mind to see what’s out there'

The former Dundalk striker is without a club, despite plenty of off-season interest.
David McMillan: 'I’ve half a mind to retire and half a mind to see what’s out there'

DILEMMA: David McMillan, who excelled in two spells at Dundalk, says any offer would have to make sense financially to entice him back to the pitch. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

If the League of Ireland’s record scorer in Europe, David McMillan, is to focus his career fully on Tea Lane Architects, he’ll be content with the football legacy he’s sketched.

Right now, having just turned 34, the striker is without a club and three weeks on Friday, the circuit he knows better than most will begin with gusto.

He’ll be savouring the Friday night lights, yet unconcerned if the capacity of his enjoyment is that of a converted fan.

“I’ve half a mind to retire and half a mind to see what’s out there,” said McMillan, who in November parted ways with Dundalk, the club he’s most associated with from his two spells.

“No real decisions have been made. I don’t feel under pressure to make announcements or anything like that.” 

Five clubs, either side of the border, have attempted to delay that retirement, eager to add a player still fit and engrained in that precious art of scoring.

“I’ve had quite a few phone calls during the off-season from clubs here, from clubs up north, but probably nothing that’s quite pulled me away from the other work that I’m doing.

“My brother Dane and I set up an architecture company in 2021, so I’ve been keeping myself a little bit fit but without the everyday grind of travelling up and down to Dundalk.

“Realistically, the offer would have to be strong financially to stop what I’m doing. And football-wise, it needs to be something that would pique my interest. That combination probably hasn’t arisen just yet.” 

It’s easy to understand the difficulties in replicating the highs he reached.

Most of his 14 goals in Europe were notched while Stephen Kenny was his tutor; a brace against BATE Borisov critical to guaranteeing the Europa League group stages for Dundalk in 2016.

Four years later in the 100th FAI Cup at an Aviva Stadium deserted due to Covid-19, McMillan became just the third player, after Miah Dennehy (1972) and John Ryan (1992), to notch a hat-trick in the showpiece event.

“I think I’ve been exceptionally lucky,” he said modestly after a journey that included a transfer to St Johnstone between his Dundalk stints.

“The Collingwood Cup with UCD was the start for me, so to go on play in Europe, the SPL, the top Irish level is probably beyond what I would have expected myself to achieve with the natural ability I had.” 

Speaking of natural ability, it wasn’t immediately obvious that he was facing a future Netherlands and Manchester United striker when he dueled with AZ Alkmaar on that famous European odyssey.

“Wout Weghorst is a remarkable one and his name still gets thrown around our Whatsapp group,” he revealed.

”That’s the sort of memories you have looking back, playing against those names who’ve gone to score at the World Cup and join Manchester United.” 

Don’t write off him adding to that collection.

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