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Raiders boss speaks on Phillips ‘row’

09:44 26 May 2014

Billy Phillips shares a joke with a linesman (pic: John Scott)

Billy Phillips shares a joke with a linesman (pic: John Scott)

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Brothers announce departure on forum

Raiders management have spoken out on the departure of brothers Billy and Charlie Phillips, which was revealed on an ice hockey chat forum.

The defensive duo helped Danny Marshall’s threadbare squad finish fourth in the National League last season, playing with lots of passion in the gold and blue.

But they were sometimes criticised for a lack of discipline on the ice and a website posting from dad Terry Phillips implied there had been a fall-out with owner Ollie Oliver.

Raiders manager Mick Cahill said: “It’s no secret that I like the Phillips family a lot and recent events haven’t changed that. The club already had plans to make an announcement about Billy’s position with the Raiders so Terry’s posting has only brought matters forward. We’d rather have done things our way but we are where we are.

“Billy is a terrific player who has done great things for Romford and London Raiders. His massive talent and contribution come with add-ons however and Bill has regularly been a topic of conversation with the Raiders’ management, players and coaching staff.

“We’re not the sort of club that likes to air our dirty linen in public but the downside of that is that peoples’ opinions are based on the bits they know rather than the full picture.

“It’s an occupational hazard when it comes to running an organisation that is in the public eye, whatever that public might be.

“Personality clashes are par for the course and are managed all the time.”

Raiders’ season ended in controversial fashion at Streatham when they were unable to complete their play-off first leg due to a lack of players.

But Cahill refuted suggestions that had any bearing and rubbished speculation about an incident at the end of season awards evening.

He added: “I can state categorically that events at Streatham or our Presentation Night had no effect on Billy’s place with the Raiders.

“It had already been agreed that for Bill to stay would take a massive change in attitude from everyone involved, on all sides. We’d all tried it before but we had been papering over the cracks for at least a season, probably longer.

“Bill could have walked out on us on more than one occasion, but he didn’t, and we could have released Bill immediately for gross misconduct on more than one occasion, but we didn’t.

“In the end, it just seemed too much like hard work with too many uneasy truces and if we’re all honest, nobody emerges from this without some degree of responsibility.”

Phillips, a GB junior international, certainly made an impression on the ice with his hard-hitting, hard-shooting style.

And younger brother Charlie enjoyed a fine debut campaign in the senior ranks, but Cahill says the club will cope.

He added: “Will we miss Billy Phillips? Damn right we will. He’s a great player and has done great things for us. Charlie also had an outstanding debut year. Will we survive without them? Damn right we will. Billy and Charlie will leave a gap but we’ll fill that gap as best we can and move on.

“I remember when I was GM of the Raiders I was fortunate enough to have Jason Rushton sign for me for consecutive seasons. Some say Jason is the best player ever to wear the gold and blue, but we reached a stage where we simply had to part company and I had to let him go.

“People said then it was the end of the Raiders. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now. It’s just hockey. I wish Bill and Charlie well. I also sincerely hope there’ll be a time when they’re both back in a Raiders’ jersey.”

Raiders are holding three trials this summer for spot on their 2014/15 squad.

They will be at Lee Valley Ice Centre on June 25, July 2 and July 9, starting at 10.15pm.

Players must have been registered with the EIHA last season and the trials will cost £10.

Email alan@holmesseafood.co.uk to register interest or book a place.

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