Martin Phillips


It’s September 1995 and Exeter City are drawing 1-1 with Fulham with the game ticking over into the 93rd minute. The Cottagers are all over City and had just hit the post when the ball was cleared to a 19-year-old academy graduate inside his own half. Steaming across the halfway line, City’s number 11 galloped towards the Big Bank before letting rip on the most audacious shot, curling it into the top corner. It was at that moment the boy wonder, Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips, announced himself to the world. The Grecians had known about his talent for years, with Martin put in the first team as soon as he turned 16. Having over 75 impressive professional appearances before his 20th birthday attracted the attentions of various top teams and Manchester City swooped first in November 1995, signing Martin for a club record sale of £500,000. Martin struggled though to break into the Premier League side, going out on loan multiple times before leaving permanently in 1998 to join Portsmouth. Despite scoring on his debut against QPR, Martin still couldn’t find that consistent run of form to nail down a place in the side, and he was allowed to leave to return to Devon in 2000. After four years at Plymouth and then three at Torquay, Martin retired in 2007 aged just 31 due to a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. While he was a great talent who never quite fulfilled his potential, Martin will always have that moment against Fulham in front of anadoring Big Bank.