Community football match set to honour long-time Banbury player and manager

A testimonial football match will be played this weekend to honour a long-time player and manager for his services to the football community spanning over five decades in Banbury.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 5:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 5:42 pm
A testimonial football match will be played this weekend to honour a long-time player and manager for his services to the football community spanning over five decades in Banbury.

At least 40 to 50 people have already signed up to play in the game which pays tribute to Banbury' s most successful non-league manager, Phil Lines, whose 500 games as a non-league player set him up for his long managerial career.

The game will be at 6.30pm on Friday September 3 at the Easington Sports Football Club. Adults are £5 and children are free to attend the event.

Former players and friends are travelling from across the UK to attend the event set for this Friday. Some of Banbury's most famous international footballers will be attending the event, including Kevin Wilson and Mick Kearns.

Phil lines in action against Ron Atkinson (Image from Ronnie Johnson)

Phil said: "I am very honoured that my footballing friends think I deserve this special evening. There are so many people in local football who have matched my efforts so let's take the opportunity to meet as many old and present friends as possible and come together with the local footballing family to raise funds for Katharine House Hospice."

All proceeds raised on the eventing will go to the charity Katharine House Hospice.

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"So, I hope you can support our Just Giving page, it is a great opportunity for our local football family to come together to support KHH."

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Phil Lines Just Giving page for KHH can use the following web link: https://justgiving.com/fundraising/victoria-allen38

Phil cut his teeth as a 14-year-old with Grimsbury Old Boys Reserves before his father Geoff and Dick Hastie formed Banbury Town FC, made up of talented young players.

In 1971 Phil was part of the Oxfordshire team which won the Home Counties League before playing a handful of games for Oxford United in the South East Counties Youth League.

Phil said: "I was told I was too small to make it at that level, I think that was a kind way of saying I was not quite good enough."

Phil went on to play for Easington Sports before making his debut for Banbury United.

He added: "I was given my Southern League debut at Kings Lynn which was the proudest day of my playing career."

That opened the way for more local youngsters to have the chance to play at that level.

He said: "Mick Walters, Mick Kennard and Brian Stone played an important part in giving many local players including myself the opportunity to play Southern League football."

Spells at Chipping Norton Town and AP Leamington followed before Phil returned to Banbury United.

Phil added: "I have been privileged to manage the clubs I did, although I never applied for a job. Like most managers, you have spells out of the game until another club comes calling. "

"When you win something you get a lot of credit but often your best work will not end in glory.

"The four years Brian Robinson and I spent rebuilding Banbury United in the 1980s was as good as anything we went on to achieve. We had no money so had to go with the best local players, who turned into proven Southern League footballers. And some of them were with us when we won the Southern League title at Buckingham Town.

"I'm very proud of the honours that I, along with my loyal assistant Brian Robinson, achieved, as well as all the valued members of my back room staff over the years.

"A big thank you to my dad, to my wife and family - and an apology - for having to put up with my football commitments for so many years. And to my brothers and sisters who were all raised in a football mad house."