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!
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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