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News Archive > Sport > Former Argyle ace handed Blazey role

Former Argyle ace handed Blazey role

By Gareth Davies 17th February 2021

Former Argyle ace handed Blazey role
Lee Phillips, picture playing for Saltash, has joined the coaching staff at St Blazey

Former Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City and Torquay United striker Lee Phillips has joined the coaching staff at St Blazey and hailed the Green and Blacks as ‘a huge club’, writes Gareth Davies.

The Penzance-born man, now 40, burst onto the scene as a teenager on the final day of season 1998-99 by scoring for Argyle in an away clash with Carlisle United. 

However, Phillips’ feat was overshadowed by Carlisle goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scoring an injury-time winner which kept the Cumbrians in the league. Despite suffering a nasty leg break which ended his Home Park career, Phillips joined Weymouth and after that, scored goals at professional level for both Exeter City and Torquay United.

He left Plainmoor in 2008 and after dropping back into non-league, eventually finished his playing career in Cornwall with Saltash United and cut his coaching teeth under Matt Cusack and Dane Bunney before leaving Kimberley Stadium on the eve of this campaign.

“St Blazey are a huge club,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Voice after his Blaise Park arrival was confirmed. “I’m Cornish as I was born in Penzance and my parents live in St Ives. When I was growing up, I knew what a big club St Blazey were in the South West.

“I knew what was going on down there and I am friends with Shaun Vincent and Matt Hayden. They were doing a fantastic job and they put a good team together but things happened and the opportunity arose to join the club.

“Laffs (Phil Lafferty, manager) made contact with me and I have been out of football since leaving Saltash. I know Laffs really well and he is a well-respected manager and coach, so when he came calling, I knew it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“I am absolutely delighted with the opportunity and can’t wait to get going down there. I have been around the football scene and played quite a bit over the years. I would like to think I could get the best out of players and I think I am good at that.

“I try and get the best out of centre forwards and at Saltash, we had a great group of strikers and a top goal scorer like Ryan Richards.

“He has gone on to get a future move, not just because of me, but I would like to think I helped and I can bring that to the lads when we get started and put a team together.

“There is a big buzz about the place, lots of things are in the pipeline and people are taking about us. I am looking forward to getting into it with the strikers.”

Phillips hopes that his experiences of many years spent in the professional ranks can also ‘inspire’ players at St Blazey to follow in his footsteps, while helping the Green and Blacks put trophies back into the Blaise Park trophy cabinet, which has remained bare for well over a decade.

He added: “I want to inspire younger lads and my experience of playing higher up, being a local lad, shows that things can happen, if you do well in Cornwall. You can get spotted like I did and went onto Plymouth when I was a young lad. If you are playing well for your club then who knows? As long as Laffs, me and Jay (Isbell) are making the younger players come through, to get regular games, that will be important for them to progress.

“We obviously want to win the league and win as many things as we can but obviously if the opportunity for a player to move onto a professional club  comes up, I don’t think anyone would stand in their way.”

With all the excitement around Blazey due to the arrival of a new managerial team, Phillips was keen to play down talk of pressure of expectations at Blaise Park.

  “Whenever a new manager goes into a brand new set-up, to build a brand new team, there will always be pressure,” he remarked.

“Laffs has been there and done it, while Jay has come through all that too and I thrive under pressure.

“I don’t think we have anything to worry about regarding pressure and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“When you go to a club as big as St Blazey, it’s only natural to feel pressure, but the enjoyment and wanting to start straight away outweighs that.

“Obviously we want to start but because of the current covid-19 restrictions, we can’t and we are chomping at the bit. When we are given the green light to start, we will be down there straight away.” 

By Gareth Davies 17th February 2021

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