The Stacey West XI – Midfielders (Pt3)

Phil Turner

Phil Turner was one of our own, a former apprentice who came through the ranks at City and ended up playing in the top fight with Notts County.

He impressed in schoolboy sides for the Imps and ended up making his debut against Wigan Athletic in 1980. He picked up Young Player of the Season on three occasions during his Sincil Bank spell, and could probably be labelled as the 1980s Lee Frecklington, although more pertinently Freck should maybe labelled as the new Phil Turner.

He quickly settled into the middle of the park, forming a lethal partnership with Glenn Cockerill as Colin Murphy’s side earned promotion from the fourth, then almost got into the Second Division. He remained the season after when Bournemouth were beaten 9-0, but internal wrangling ultimately cost us a place in the second tier, again.

He was a virtual ever-present in his final three seasons with the club, having missed a chunk of the 1981/82 season with an ankle injury. It didn’t affect him on his return though, he slotted calmly into the centre of the park, making 237 league appearances, scoring 19 goals.

Turner was a committed and talented player, the perfect balance to Cockerill’s flair and panache. I suppose in this day and age he might be played as a defensive midfielder, but as I said yesterday he played midfield when it was one role: midfield.

In 1986 he went the opposite direction to Bobby Cumming, moving to Grimsby to become Cumming’s team-mate for a season. We got Gary Lund in exchange, a fine forward but one who couldn’t stop us falling out of the Football League.

Turner later moved to Leicester for £42,500, then to Notts County where he spent seven seasons, earning their Player of the Year award twice. Ironically, he became a team-mate of Lund’s and of a young keeper named James ‘Jimmy’ Walker. He retired in 1996.