By Neil Fissler
FORBES Phillipson-Masters was the most relieved man in Bristol when the Robins won promotion back to Division Three.
City had dropped like a stone through the Football League after suffering successive relegations in the early 1980s.
They had consolidated in the basement division for one season before launching a push for promotion and everything was going to plan.
Terry Cooper’s side had kept up with the front runners all season but they needed to get something from a trip to Chester’s Sealand Road to ensure promotion was in their own hands.
But a mistake from Phillipson-Masters allowed Peter Zelem to give the home side the lead briefly. The tide however turned with Trevor Morgan scoring a double while the sending off of Chester winger David Brett also helped the cause.
“I had a nightmare. I was at fault for their goal but at least we came back strongly. We didn’t want to do it the easy way,” laughs Phillipson-Masters.
“It would have been awful if it had cost us promotion. We used to push out when we had a free kick against us and I had to do the call.
“But I was that busy making sure everyone had heard the call I stayed where I was. I played every-one on and the guy scored.
“The minute we equalised Glyn Riley came running over to me and said, ‘It doesn’t matter we are back in it’.
“The most disappointing thing was we didn’t win the title, even now I look back and think we were good enough. Terry Cooper filled us all with confidence. And it was good to go back so quickly after being relegated.
“When I look back we were all on pretty much the same amount of money, on the same type of contract, there was no ill feeling between any of the players.
“It was good for team spirit, you normally get one or two earning a lot more or having this and that. It upsets the team.
“We were very lucky. We really wanted to get promoted. I think during the close season we were all together and worked hard.
“We had a lot of confidence in each other, and said we were going to get promoted. We had such a good squad and set of lads that it would be have been a real shame if we hadn’t won promotion.”
1. Paul Stevens: A sales rep for Remploy for 13 years. He now works for Mizuno and is head of UK Sports.
2. Kevin Meacock: Settled in Brisbane, Australia and is currently director of youth coaching at Brisbane Force and also coaches at the University of Queensland.
3. Russell Musker: Spent a decade as manager of Taunton, before moving onto Totnes & Dartington and then Stoke Gabriel while working in a carpet warehouse.
4. Paul Williams: Lives and works in his native Devon after playing for Exeter, Saltash and Bath.
5. Gary Williams: Returned to Bristol where he went into licensed trade at the Horse & Groom near Ashton Gate with his father Alan who also served Bristol City. Now lives in Spain.
6. Clive Middlemass: He managed Carlisle and Burnley before working as chief scout at a number of clubs, latterly Derby.
7. Rob Newman: Managed Southend and Cambridge United, he also worked as assistant manager of Bournemouth then scouted for Wigan and now Manchester City.
8. Alan Nicholls: Forced to retire after badly breaking his leg playing for the reserves, and is now based in Yorkshire where he runs a High Mast company called Outdoor Highlighting.
9. John Shaw: Settled in the Bristol area and is working as a painter and decorator.
10. Forbes Phillipson-Masters: Lives in Dorset, where he was a painter and decorator but has now become involved in building and developing.
11. John Palmer: After returning to play at his hometown club Weston-super-Mare, he is now living and working in Clevedon.
12. Alex Lockhart: The physio is now running his own practice, the Lockhart Physiotherapy Clinic in Abbots Leigh, Bristol.
13. Jon Economou: He is still based in Bristol and joined Fujitsu after leaving the game. Has worked his way up to become an area manager.
14. Alan Crawford: Was a painter & decorator in Backwell near Bristol then coached at Blackpool, Stockport, West Brom, Nottingham Forest and scouted for Rotherham.
15. Tom Ritchie: After two spells at Ashton Gate he settled in Clevedon and is a postman.
16. Terry Cooper: Managed both Bristol clubs, Birmingham and had two spells at Exeter, then spent 11 years as Southampton’s European scout. Is now retired living in Tenerife.
17. Howard Pritchard: Works as a van driver for Frenchay Health Authority and also has his own driving school in Flax Bourton, Bristol.
18. Wayne Bray: Now lives in Brislington, Bristol and has been a carpenter for 20 years, runs his own business fitting kitchens and bedroom furniture.
19. Glyn Riley: Now based in Weston-super-Mare and started a soft furnishing business with his wife Machell.
Keith Curle: Went onto play for Manchester City, Wolves and England. Has also managed Mansfield, Chester, Torquay and Notts County.
Bruce Halliday: Spent 20 years in the financial industry and is business development manager for Vanguard in Brisbane, Australia.
Martyn Hirst: A Bristol University student, spent time working in the travel industry.
Ken Stroud: Settled in Swindon and has run the Kingsbridge House Hotel in the town.
John Kerr: Chester’s community and youth development officer but died in Spain, June 2006 aged 46.