Football History

Lee Phillips was born in Penzance on 16 September 1980.

As a boy he showed great aptitude for sport and it was to rugby that he devoted his early years.

Playing for St Ives, Lee impressed the likes of Bath, Harlequins and Saracens but decided that he would not be able to make a living in the amateur game and so instead turned his attention to football.

He explained: “I played rugby for England Under 15s, was voted the best talent in Cornwall and it was thought I’d go far in the sport.

But I made my decision to go for football and then a few months later rugby went professional.

Some people think I made the wrong decision but you can’t go through life thinking like that.”

But rugby’s loss was football’s gain and Lee was immediately spotted playing for his county side and signed up by Plymouth Argyle.

At 15 years old he became the youngest ever player to play for Argyle’s first team and a glittering future beckoned.

“They told me that I was going to be the club’s first million pound player.

At 15 that was just too much pressure and I crumbled.

It affected me in a big way.

I still get angry when I see the pressure they pile on kids these days,” he said.

Lee was scoring masses of goals for Plymouth’s youth and reserve teams, with the occasional call-up to the first team, then disaster struck when he broke his leg at the age of 16.

He was out of the game for eight months but even that was not long enough, as he found out to his cost when he broke it again playing for the youth team.

After another lay-off, Lee’s progress was also disrupted by a series of managerial changes and being forced into playing on the wings rather than in his natural position of centre forward.

He said: “I still feel that some of the managers there messed up my career.

It was the best thing that could have happened when I was asked to go on loan to Weymouth.

Initially I went on loan for three months and did really well but my manager called me back to Plymouth and promised I’d be back in the first team.

There were a few clubs interested in me but he called me back and I didn’t even get on the bench.

So when Fred offered me a way out of Plymouth I was delighted as I just want to play.”

Lee signed a three-year contract with the Terras in 2001and, apart from a brief spell on loan to Newport, has been with the club ever since.



1. Who has been your favourite strike partner?

Steve Claridge. He was always one of my favourite players and I grew up basing my game on him. For me to play up front with him at Weymouth was massive.

2. Name your best XI made up of former team-mates.

Danny Potter, Lee Russell, Paul Gibbs (when he was better than he is now!), Steve Tully, Steve McCall, Martin Barlow, Paul Buckle, Martin Phillips, Steve Claridge, Michael Owen, Michael Heathcote.

3. Do you have another job?

No I don’t.

4. Are you aware of your status as a heart-throb amongst the younger female fans?

No not at all – other than the fact that I read this question on the forum!

5. Do you surf? Is St Ives good for surfing?

I used to but now I wakeboard. My friend has got a boat and we do a lot of that in Plymouth. St Ives is good but everyone goes to Newquay.

6. What do you do to relax?

I watch movies, have a game of golf and I swim a lot.

7. What made you choose Weymouth to play for?

To be honest it was because nobody else was interested at that time. But Fred Davies was also a big pull for me.

8. Do you live locally?

No. I’ve moved from St Ives to Plymouth.

9. Did you learn a lot playing in partnership with Steve Claridge?

Yes I did learn a lot, especially my hold-up play. He was also really good fun to play with. He has played at the highest level and playing alongside someone like that is always going to improve your game.

10. Did you watch Football Diaries?

Yes I did but I didn’t like it to be honest. It didn’t appeal to me at all.

11. What was your favourite Terras goal?

The one against Dagenham and Redbridge is up there because it was a winner but I can’t actually remember who my favourite one was against. We were losing and a cross came in from Martyn Sullivan, I volleyed it and it went straight into the top corner.

12. Do you watch Argyle in your spare time?

Yes I do. I look out for all the local teams because I know a lot of players who play for them.

13. When you were at Newport it was reported that you said you would love to go there permanently. How do you feel about that now?

It was a good set-up there and I enjoyed it but I never said I wanted to go there permanently.

14. Do you still keep in touch with the other Cornish lads Ryan Cross, Kevin Parker and Mark Gammon still?

Yes I do. I’m supposed to be going out with them in a couple of weeks actually.

15. What do you listen to in the car when you’re commuting to and from Weymouth?

Me, Jamie Impey, Steve Tully and Martin Barlow travel together and it depends on who’s driving. I’ve got a complete variety in my CD collection – dance, pop, R and B and older stuff – the Beetles and 70s and 80s stuff. Anything really.

16. Who is your all-time favourite player?

George Best – he was a different class. Watching old games of his, he seemed so laid-back.

17. That goal against Dagenham and Redbridge – was it as good for you as it was for us?

Course it was! It was brilliant. We thought they would beat us and it was a great result.

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