Pompey mourn Johnny Phillips

Johnny Phillips
Johnny Phillips

Fan who collapsed during friendly game dies

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POMPEY are mourning the loss of Johnny Phillips who died on Saturday, aged 76.

Phillips will be remembered as a local boy who came through the ranks to realise his dream of wearing the star and crescent.

He made 79 appearances for the club as a right-half between 1956 and 1960.

Phillips became an apprentice in the dockyard after leaving school and married that with training three evenings a week for Pompey.

He came through the ranks at the club, signing as a professional in 1955, and played a number of reserve games before being given his debut against Bolton on January 14, 1956.

He was known as a ‘whippet’ of a player who operated in what would be known as a defensive-midfield role in the modern-day game.

Phillips was a popular figure with Pompey fans, who showed their appreciation at someone from the city battling for their club in a succession of division one relegation battles.

He went up against some of the all-time football greats in that period, and was charged with keeping the likes of Jimmy Greaves quiet.

The final game of Phillips’ time at Pompey arrived on April 18, 1960, against Sunderland, before he was sold to Worcester City by Freddie Cox.

Phillips later played for Salisbury, Bognor and Chichester, before returning to work at the dockyard as an apprentice fitter.

He later worked for Vospers as an engineer.

The prominent Ex-Portsmouth Football Club Professionals’ Reunion Club member later went on to work as a painter and decorator and lived in the city.

Football historian and Pompey stalwart, Barry Harris, remembers a player who the fans appreciated.

Harris said: ‘Johnny was a local boy who came through the ranks and never let anyone down.

‘He was a whippet of footballer but a very good one.

‘He played against a lot of skilful players in the old first division.

‘He got through a lot of work and the fans appreciated that.

‘Johnny became a favourite with them as a local boy who made it.’