Around the Clubs

Phil Holt: Legend becomes a Lifer

June 9th, 2021

Phil Holt is a name synonymous with the development of football across the North Coast – and he has just received the highest honour, that of life membership with Northern NSW Football.
Not bad – and yet richly deserved – for a lad born on the other side of the world, and who as a player, was overshadowed by an overly talented dad.
“I was born and bred in Wales and my father was a very good player who was offered a contract with a 1st Division side in the UK,” Phil said.
That’s not to say that Phil wasn’t handy himself on the pitch, settling in Australia in 1964, and as a 20-something playing in Sydney for Gladesville United.
From there he headed in ’87 to the Mid North Coast where he turned out for Sawtell in the Over 35s relentlessly and enthusiastically until 2000.
But it was off the park where Phil shone and continues to do so.
Wendy Schafer, on behalf of North Coast Football, penned the nomination for life membership.
That tribute shines a light on Phil’s contribution at the highest levels, and it’s been a staggering commitment.
From a committee member at Sawtell through to President of NCF and serving on the board of NNSWF – there isn’t much that hasn’t been tackled.
“It’s in the blood,” he admitted.
“On the management side when I got down to Newcastle there were a lot of old fashioned ideas and I thought, we’ve got to improve this.
“I think I helped change the thinking of the board – to improve our game, to improve our management.”
Dear to his heart all along has been the heartbeat of the sport – junior football.
In her nomination of Phil, Wendy noted he was ever available as a ground announcer or master of ceremonies at Youth Nationals and State Championships.
“Every weekend players take to the pitch to participate in the game of football, not knowing that there are people like Phil, in the background, supporting them and making decisions on their behalf to deliver a game that can be enjoyed by so many, no matter what their age, ability or skill level,” Wendy wrote.
Phil, who now lives at Sapphire Beach, said he was “humbled, stunned” by the life membership.
But this is no full-stop to the sport he cherishes and which has become part of his DNA.
He said the game needs to strive for continual improvement, as the moment you are pleased with where you are at and pause … you’ll go backward.
“It’s fabulous today that so many juniors play it. The challenge is to keep them in the game,” Phil said.

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