Notts County FC statistician Ian Mills dies

Ian Mills
Image caption Mr Mills followed Notts County at home and all over the country

Tributes have been paid to Notts County's popular statistician and superfan Ian Mills, who died on Tuesday.

Mr Mills, who collapsed after the League One team's home game against Preston, claimed to have only missed one game since 1970.

The 61-year-old, from Sandiacre, provided the press with statistics in an unofficial role during games.

Chairman Ray Trew said the club had lost one of its most loyal followers.

Mr Trew added that his sudden death was a shock to everybody.

Mr Mills said he attended more than 1,400 of County's matches.

'Passion' for club

His last game was a league game against Preston North End, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

He died later at the Queen's Medical Centre, in Nottingham.

Colin Slater, BBC Radio Nottingham's Notts County reporter, said the club was Mr Mills' "passion".

"He never missed a match, whether it be pre-season friendlies, whatever there was," said Mr Slater.

Mr Slater said the last time he saw Mr Mills was as he passed him on the way to the players' tunnel.

"He said to me 'do you want to take these [statistics] now?' and I said 'yes please, Ian'.

"His last words as he left the press box were 'I will see you at Stevenage' [Notts County's next match]."

'Nice guy'

Mr Mills was on the Notts County Supporters Club committee and was once its chairman.

He persuaded Iris Smith, the current chairman, to join about 20 years ago.

"He was a nice guy, very pleasant," said Mrs Smith. "He was wrapped up in Notts.

"It's very sad. He was inoffensive and would talk to everyone."

Mr Mills, who was an electrician, lost his job at Nottinghamshire-based machine tool manufacturer Myford when it went into liquidation last year.

He had worked for the company for over 40 years.

He also played the organ for his local church in Sandiacre.

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