Career: 1950 - 1951
Senior Games: 30
Senior Captain/Coach: 1950
VFL/AFL Clubs: Richmond 13 Games
Pat Phillips returned to The Club as Senior Coach in 1950 after a short stint at Richmond where he played 13 Games in 2 seasons.
Parochialism was well entrenched in the fifties. The values of loyalty, commitment and dedication that prevailed were admirable and were applied to many facets of life. In fact, it would be fair to say that they were a style of living for the times. One adopted a parochial attitude to all manner of involvement; family, country, home town, football club, occupation, lodge or church. It was almost mandatory to promote your chosen groups where possible and, should they come under any sort of attack, to defend them. Most things were black or white and it was regarded as weak or even dishonourable not to stand up for what you believed in. Generally this did not create a great deal of angst. You could be loyal to your family and still retain an allegiance to a different football team without having too much disharmony. Workmates from different towns might share a little light hearted banter about their chosen places of abode without affecting their ability to work effectively together.
But religion was a different matter altogether. Religion demanded a stronger, less tolerant approach to those with differing beliefs. Many will remember those old school days and the fights that occurred between kids from schools of differing denominations. The emotions ran deep and they were adopted by children who were taking their lead from adults. This parochialism in turn was often a source of irreconcilable differences between individuals who would otherwise be good friends.
During this time an undercurrent of disharmony existed within the Chelsea Football Club. Players and committee members who worked amiably on football matters were often brought into conflict over differing religious beliefs. Religion was also sometimes a factor in the decision making process. Such was the case with the replacement of senior coach Pat Phillips at the completion of the 1950 season.
Pat’s season was far from poor. He had steered the team to fifth position and proven himself to be well liked by the players. A good leader, and a very handy mobile forward flanker, he continued the development of a young side that certainly benefitted from his guidance. But he was from the wrong religious background and was replaced.
To give credit where it’s due, Pat took the dismissal on the chin and continued playing the following year.