When Clar­idge came call­ing for Phillips

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Football Www.kentonline.co.uk/sport -

Michael Phillips has told how he turned down the chance to play for Sal­is­bury boss and for­mer Premier League striker Steve Clar­idge, writes Craig Tucker.

The pair will meet again when Ash­ford travel to the Wes­sex Premier League lead­ers in the FA Vase quar­ter-fi­nals on Satur­day.

United mid­fielder Phillips re­mem­bers say­ing no to for­mer Le­ices­ter for­ward Clar­idge when he was boss of Wey­mouth in Con­fer­ence South in 2003-4.

He had seen his Foot­ball League ca­reer with Gilling­ham wrecked by a botched knee op­er­a­tion and was at­tempt­ing to work his way back into the game when Clar­idge came call­ing.

Phillips, 33, said: “When I came out of re­tire­ment I went on trial at Wey­mouth and Steve Clar­idge was the man­ager.

“Yeovil also looked at me but he wanted to sign me.

“I’d have loved to have gone there but it was too far from home and I didn’t fancy all the trav­el­ling, so I turned it down.

“He was a Clar­idge.

“I don’t know if he’ll re­mem­ber me. Maybe he will if I score the win­ning goal.”

Phillips was in the Maid­stone side who shocked Sal­is­bury 2-0 in the FA Tro­phy first round just over three years ago.

The Wilt­shire club were top of Con­fer­ence South and on their way to pro­mo­tion, with Stones two lev­els below them in Ry­man League Divi­sion 1 South.

Clar­idge’s side are on the way back af­ter go­ing bust in 2014 – but their fi­nan­cial plight was news to Phillips.

He said: “That was a good day, beat­ing them in the FA Tro­phy.

“I didn’t ac­tu­ally know till a few weeks ago what had hap­pened to them. I thought they were still a Con­fer­ence club.

“We’ve done well to get this far, what­ever hap­pens, but we don’t want to chuck it away now.”



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