To be able to get a chat with Phil Weller was very special, though we were both far from each other, the talk happened via yet another digital solution, we used WhatsApp, and it worked wonderfully.
Phil Weller, who is he? For most known as the little brother of Keith, the legend of Leicester City. But in this grand talk we will not just talk about Keith but also go down memory lane and get to know yet another of many of the “nearly men” at this fantastic football club.
Had a bit of help to track down Phil Weller and here is our friendly chat just as it was,
Hi Phil! Had a nice talk with Tom Kilkelly about his first team appearance in the FA Cup 3rd place game v. Burnley in 74. A story published on filbertway.com a few months back. During the q & a he mentioned your name and I knew you as Keith’s brother, via photos of you and Keith. Would it be possible to have a few questions asked about your days at Leicester City, your road to professional football, and how you follow the club today and if you are still a fan, and if and who you keep in touch with from those days at the football club.
What happened next after you left Leicester, and of course talking a bit about your relations to Keith, and the times back then. Would be fantastic if you had the time. Tom said it was ok to make contact.
Hoping for a positive answer and a good story to publish on filbertway.com, as we did with Tom,
Phil Weller: Hi, yes I would be glad to answer your questions. Phil.
Fantastic, good, where did you play when Leicester signed you, what year was it, and what was your best position? There are a few more in my intro, so take your time and fantastic to get your answers, we can just go on from there;
Phil Weller: I went on trial in sept 73, left my job in London and signed pro forms in December 73, till June 75, my best position right side midfield. I was spotted playing at Hackney Marshes by what I thought was the Leyton Orient scout, but he had just been asked to scout for Leicester by Jimmy Bloomfield,
What was your age at the time you signed and did you play in the youth side and the reserves, any first team experience from friendlies or such?
Phil Weller: I was 17 years old when I signed. I played in the youth side winning the league in 74. We also played a combined match at Filbert Street against the best players from the other clubs in that division, we won 2 0 I got both goals, then we collected the trophy and medals after that game. I played in the A team and also the reserves. I was lucky to go on tour at the end of the 74/75 season to Kuwait with the first team, my only involvement with the first team.
Leicester went on tour to Norway, must have been 76 possibly, remember a player named Andy Gould scoring, but as you, never involved in first team league action with Leicester City, Keith was playing also, Jeff Blockley captained the side, this was against Odd Skien. More questions, did you play alongside Keith in Kuwait, any games down there you remember, results or such that comes to mind. In training any players that you competed with, and what must have happened to get that first team league debut, did you get close or had high hopes, any special talk with Jimmy Bloomfield or David Coates you remember?
Phil Weller: Andy Gould was a good player. He wanted to go to college two days a week to learn a trade, something to fall back on when he finished playing. But the club said no, I believe, so he just walked out. We were competing every day, no one specific, just tried to do your best, George Dewis was the youth and a side coach while Dave Coates was in charge of the reserves. Never got close really to the first team apart from Kuwait but it was a fantastic experience for me. I played with Keith in training, not in competitive matches. Games that stick out for me. Well has to be that cup game at Luton when Keith scored that amazing goal, which was voted best goal in Leicester history. Plus his volley against Newcastle. And 2 goals by Joe Waters against QPR in the cup. Joe, Tom and myself were room-mates at Lyndon lodge. Great memories!
So what happened after 75, did you leave football all together or kept on playing at a lower level?
Phil Weller: I was given a free transfer and went to Northampton Town on a 3 month contract but spent most of that time injured so that never worked out. Moved back to Surrey and played two seasons at Sutton Utd, then two seasons at Epsom and Ewell, which we got to the Athenian league cup final. I got the winner in the semi but never made the final as was injured after breaking my leg in two places I decided to call it quits.
A bit off the radar, but just curious, two players you might played with was Willie Wilcox and Malcolm Munro, they just vanished out, do you remember the two? Are you back at Leicester watching games, or are you following other teams? Where do you live today?
Phil Weller: I remember Willie and Malcolm. Last saw Willie at Birches testimonial. Malcolm disappeared of the face of the earth, said to have moved to Canada. I live in Woking Surrey now. I keep in touch with Birch at the club. I go two or three times a year, he gets tickets for me. I had the great honour to open the Keith Weller lounge at the new stadium. I only look for Leicester results, the team and the owners have been fantastic. As well as Tom, I keep in touch with my best mate Steve Sims.
We know all the stories about Keith and his life at Leicester City, but not as much of the time he spent in US and did you see him live while playing in the NASL. It was sad days when he left Leicester, he was a great player and for my generation just simply a grand hero, loved to watch him as we could see a number of Leicester City games live on telly on Saturdays over here. He often entertained Scandinavians on telly when Leicester were live on Saturdays, in the 70’s. We had live games on telly all back then, fun memories, but the NASL was never covered and have not seen Keith in games over there, just looked at a few clips on You Tube, but little to be found.
Phil Weller: Keith came back, played a few games for Enderby Town, just to keep fit. Keith went back to Boston, he was playing with the New England Teamen with Brian Alderson ex Leicester. Keith came back to Leicester after the season finished, only to lose his son Joe who had a tumor on the brain, he was 5 years old. Keith and Terry, his wife, decided to move permanently to the USA, he left the Teamen after two seasons an moved to play with Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
When he finished playing he couched the South Florida Sun. They won the league in his first season as coach, the league folded so he moved to Dallas as assistant to Gordon Jago.
From there to San Diego Sockers. They won everything. I have his championship ring which he gave me before he died.
Then to the Tacoma stars as head coach with Joe Waters as his assistant.
The league folded again and he got a job with the Sacramento Knights while his family were still living in Tacoma, that was his last coaching position before he called time as the league went bust again.
I went to all the above clubs to watch him play and coach, we were very close.
Keith was special for us Leicester City fans of that generation, he still is. Something Keith mentioned that was special with fans of his clubs in the States or any game you watched that did see him troll with the opponents as he did at Leicester?
Phil Weller: He loved the Leicester fans the most, soccer in the states never really took off then unlike today. I think for most players that went there it was for the bucks they were paying to get the best to go over.
Please feel free to add anything more, great chat, just perfect, have a nice summer and all the best to you all, Ivar.
Phil Weller: It’s been my pleasure 👍 all the very best to you and yours.