A statue for former PSL boss Trevor Phillips would be fitting

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Trevor Phillips (Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)
Trevor Phillips (Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

Should the PSL ever decide to erect a statue at the entrance of their long-standing headquarters in Johannesburg's teeming Parktown suburb it would be totally appropriate if it was shaped in the image of the organisation's initial and eloquent CEO, Trevor Phillips.

This was a view supported by long-time and still operating PSL official, Professor Ronnie Schloss, who worked harmoniously with the amiable, but forthright and uncompromising English-born Phillips and saluted the colleague who died this week at the age of 79 after returning to the country of his birth.

Phillips spent two spells as the administrative head of South African soccer's professional organisation after it was reshaped in 1996, firstly for a period of three years and then again from 2002 to 2007.

"He came here with vast experience, both in business and soccer affairs, while controlling the economic segment of the English FA and occupying other prominent business posts," said Schloss, "and was just the man we needed to lay the foundation of the blossoming, revamped organisation."

Phillips, for sure, never minced his words and complained only that some of his decisions first needed to be ratified instead of automatically and speedily being processed and put into action - reflected by the dry, tongue-in-cheek complaint he made once that while he was chairperson he still needed permission to change a used globe in the office.

In truth, Phillips skilfully rounded his way 'round anyone who tried to teach him his business and threw light on the trickiest of testing problems.

He suffered at times from a kidney problem while in South Africa and although unconfirmed, news from England is that this in conjunction with the dreaded coronavirus might have contributed to his death.

"I spoke to him on the phone only a couple of weeks before his death," said Schloss, "and he gave no indication he was not well while showing a lot of interest in South African soccer and how the PSL was faring."

Hail the first CEO of the PSL and maybe go ahead with erecting that statue. There have been numerous CEOs of the PSL since his tenure, but none quite with the craft and genuine professionalism of the man who was known here as "The British Bulldog." 

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