Date: 10th November 2007 at 10:54am
Written by:

Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips is probably not a name that will go down in either Pompey or Man City’s history – but I always liked the fella.

Some might even say who?

But for some reason he was always an idol of mine – maybe it could be for the reason he was born in Devon, a place that I have spent almost two thirds of my life, or maybe it was the late great Alan Ball’s ravings of him…

As a 21 year old ‘Buster‘ was excelling with Exeter, with whom Ball had brought him through when he was the manager there and when he moved to take over at Man City he took him with him for half a million in 95.

Things did not really work out for him despite his manager having such faith in him and he had to go out on loan spells to Scunthorpe and back to Exeter get football, but he did manage 15 premiership appearances for the City – but these were spread over 3 years.

When Ball returned to Pompey for a 2nd spell as manager he again took Phillips with him, with Pompey paying £100,000 for the wingers services.

He made a brilliant start to his Pompey career, coming off the bench against QPR to score with his first touch in a 3-0 win… but once again, despite his managers obvious belief in him – having had him under his leadership with 3 clubs – he just could not establish himself.

He had a loan spell with Bristol Rovers in 99 before he was allowed to leave for Plymouth in 2000.

With Plymouth he was highly successful and enjoyed the best spell of his career scoring 10 goals in 114 league games for the club in a 4 year spell, before moving to neighbouring Torquay in 2004, staying with them until May 2007, retiring at the age of 31 with chronic fatigue syndrome.

What was it that made me like him so much?

I do often ask myself this, but I think it was the great Bally saying ‘he could be this countries first £10m player’ that did it for me and I always hoped that I would see this player he so raved about. However fees of less than £700,000 say that he was not really the player that many expected him to be…

I quite often see ‘Buster‘ in my local Tesco and have often wanted to say to him how much of a fan of his I was but I am too cowardly to say anything to him, it is also quite odd ‘idolising’ a fella that is only a few years older than you!


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21 Replies to “He played for them too! – City: Martin Phillips”

  • He should have bloody played for Tesco, he was a poor player who never did it in any league.
    Bally really got it wrong with him didnt he?

  • bally certainly did, but i still liked ‘buster’ nevertheless… everytime he played – only played about 20 odd games for us didnt he – i hoped we would see him burst into life, he threatened too until he either over ran it or put in a poor cross… in fairness to him tho he did have a really good time with plymouth!

  • Buster Phillips – Who would have thought it … Once referred to by a mate of mine as ‘Bally’s Love Child’ – I think the Devon air has finally got to you Rug 😉 – Seriously… Great to be reminded of him though as it is with any Pompey player and this one especially as it is in complete contrast to the Walshy article and we said that it wouldn’t always be the ‘superstars’ or the ‘favorites’ that we focussed on – Nice one

    One thing that made me belly laugh from the article was Bally thinking that Phillips could become the first £10 million footballer – It’s not meant to be a slur on Buster but I looked it up and found that
    Between british clubs, Alan Shearer broke the £10m barrier (beating Stan Collymore’s £8.5m move from Forest to Liverpool) when he moved from Blackburn to Newcastle in August ’96 – Just think Buster could have been working on Match of the Day now, had he realised his potential and the ‘promise’ Bally had lavished on him !!

  • this article annoyed me…whilst reading it (and some other things), i missed 3 west ham goals…3! oh, and my limited knoledge of pompys past means i have no-idea who he is.

  • wasn’t it him who scored against Norwich when we had 10 men, and then the referee played 12 mins injury-time for the gits to score?

  • pretty sure he only scored the 1 pompey goal and that was against qpr on debut… yet sotragematt, Chix mentioned him in his walshy article.

  • I was there for his debut goal for Pompey and after that I idolised him too. I think it took about a half a year before I realised that he might not ever be worth 10 million pounds. It was like an adolescent version of realising Santa is not real. Hats off to Martin Phillips, his was one of the finest debuts I’ve ever seen and I’ll never forget him

  • Another fan Pompeyscum…. You and Rug should start a fan club .. Oh Rug forgot to mention really should go up to him and say hello next time you see him in Tescos – I bet he’ll appreciate it.. Go on you know you want to … What’s the worse that could happen ?

  • Chix, he could tell me to sod off 🙂 when i was in pompey the other week i went to watch my cousin and a mate in the great south run, there i was with my other cousin, my cousins girlfriend and some of their friends and who comes strolling along to literally be standing no fewer than 10 yards away? only harry redknapp! i was told to turn round as ‘arry was there, so he was – my eyes lit up in the pouring rain and i was like a kid a christmas… they said go and talk to him, but did it? did i hell as im a coward, i get star struck – just like i do with the legendary buster…

  • Lads lets be honest Martin Phillips was poor, its only because Bally rated him so highly that he came to us.
    He was not a good signing and the fact that he went out in a whimper proves that.

  • never heard of him, although the worst player Ive seen in a pompey shirt recently has to be……doula, radouphle doula really is a faggot, a moaner!

  • bit harsh calling him a faggot and a moaner isnt it… douala didnt really get much of a go did he and in all fairness when i did see him he seemed okay to me…

  • hmmm, well when he came on up at newcastle he was ok, but the wigan away game killed it for me, ok mabye not a faggot, bt the ammount of articles on skysports with him saying, get me out of this nightmare, just made me dislike him

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