Salisbury City have completed the signing of utility man Chris McPhee as player-coach, following the 29-year-old’s release from Torquay United earlier this week. Having stated his intent to land a coaching role, McPhee’s move benefits both player and club: Salisbury gain a player with vast Conference and Football League experience, vital to a side that finished mid-table in the Conference South last season.
Indeed, Salisbury boss Darrell Clarke gushed: “I am over the moon to bring someone of Chris’ ability and experience into the squad. Players of his calibre do not become available too often, and we have beaten off several high-profile clubs to get his signature. It’s a huge bonus that Chris will also be assisting me and Mikey [Harris, assistant manager] on the training ground. I’d like to thank the Board for their continued support, and we’re all very excited about starting the season.”
McPhee’s versatility could also prove pivotal to Salisbury’s success: he featured mainly in central midfield for Torquay last season, but has also operated as a forward for previous clubs and even represented England at “C” level at right-back and centre-half. Experience playing in many different roles allows McPhee to provide cover for many positions in Salisbury’s small squad.
The man himself told the club’s official website: “It’s been a strange summer, as I thought I would probably be going out on loan somewhere this season. After speaking to Salisbury, I believe this is the best move for my future and I am excited about working with the Gaffer and Mikey. The season can’t come soon enough and I’m really keen to get started. I am delighted to be able to help push this club forward both on and off the pitch and develop the young players at the football club.”
The fact that clubs higher up England’s football pyramid – including Newport County and Hereford United – were thought to be interested in McPhee’s services means that some may view his decision to join Salisbury as illogical, an opinion the ex-Brighton trainee disagrees with: “Some people may say it’s a step down, as I could have played at Blue Square Bet Premier [England’s fifth division] level. But I’m 29 and by 35 I want to have all my coaching badges and look at managerial roles further down the line.”