Phil Starbuck

Up 4 the game

I’m cleaning my dirty football boots in front of the TV. The Match of The Day theme tune is playing. A dream was born as I watched Liverpool run onto the pitch. Like most young lads, I wanted to play football in front of a massive crowd on TV. I dedicated myself to seeing the dream become reality. Football became my life, the reason I existed. I would do anything to become a professional footballer and play for Nottingham Forest in the old 1st division. I was more than up for the game!

Desperate 4 fame

During my teenage years I got into all county and area representative teams. I thought I had a great chance of making the big time. I longed to be famous: signing autographs, the money, and all the material things you could think of. I believed I had the talent, desire and drive to become famous. I remember standing on the terraces at the City ground watching Nottingham Forest play thinking of how I would of love to play on that pitch.

At the age of 16, I left school without any qualifications and signed a four-year contract at Nottingham Forest under the legendary Brian Clough. It was another step to fame. I was certainly up for that.

Oh 4 a name

I was proud to tell people about Mr. Clough. I enjoyed telling funny stories about him but what I really wanted was to be the name that others talked about. A 1st team regular and a local hero – a council boy made good. I remember the first time I saw my name in the programme, Number 10 Phil Starbuck and then in the paper, and to top it all, I was on Match of the day away at Everton. I will never forget watching myself later that night – it was a bit surreal. As the program started I remembered that night when I was cleaning my boots. I felt so proud; there I was on the TV. People were starting to talk about me, I was beginning to get a name. My desire to make a name for myself continued to grow.

Not 4 the blame

As a teenager playing for Forest youth, I soon began to learn that football was a win at all cost business not a game! We were told to “go down” in the penalty area if anyone touched us. It was all about winning and we would do anything to get a win – even if it meant to break the rules of the game. If we could get away with it, we’d do it.

“It wasn’t me” is something I’m sure we’ve all said. It seems easier to blame somebody else rather admit to your own errors. A day came when I knew I had to take responsibility for my life, my actions and my errors. I began to realise I was to blame for my wrong thoughts, words and actions. Later on in my life I met a person who never did anything wrong yet took the blame for everything everyone ever did wrong.

Half time…

I thought you might like to hear about some of the stuff that Brian Clough made me do…

We were away at Southampton and Mr Clough wanted me to get some experience so I was sat on the bench with him. The referee was just about to blow his whistle for the game to start. He told me to run on to the pitch and tell Peter Davenport to get him a goal. (Pete was playing his last game before joining Manchester United). Mr Clough said if he didn’t get a goal he would be walking home. I ran on to the pitch in a packed stadium and told him, the referee was less than happy!

Another time it was the FA cup at Huddersfield and the photographer kept walking past Mr Clough. He was getting annoyed so he leaned over to me and said, “Starbuck, if he comes in front of me I want you to chin him and if you don’t I’ll chin you.” I never saw anymore of the match I was too busy watching the photographer.
I would do whatever Cloughy asked me to do because I wanted to please him.

Never the same

My Pop died when I was 17, I was devastated. He was a massive part of my sister Mandy’s life and mine. Nothing would ever be the same. I went to say my last goodbyes to him at the chapel of rest. Seeing him in his coffin, I started to ask; What will happen to me when I die?

Is there a heaven? Is there a God? I came to realise that the way I lived my life and the things that I’d done were stopping me having a relationship with God. I’d tried most things the world had to offer, but they’d left me feeling empty. I decided to give Jesus a try. I gave my life over to him and his plans. I wanted to play his game. He became the ultimate manager who was always fair and wanted what’s best for my life and my future.

The Bible tells me the old Phil has gone and the new Phil has come – I’m a new player. I will never be the same with Jesus in my life. The desire to make a name for me has gone and I want to make Jesus famous! I still love telling the stories about Mr Clough but I enjoy telling the story of Jesus even more. I’ll do whatever God wants me to do – I want to please him.

Come join the game

You may not know that you are available for a free transfer but you are. All you need to do is to sort out the deal by making Jesus Christ the Manager of your life. By agreeing to play for Jesus you will make the best decision of your life. He wants to be involved in your life. He’ll train and develop you for the game of life. He wants what’s best for you and will give you what’s best for you. If you want to sign for Jesus and secure the contract of your place in heaven and eternity then take a look at the contact on the right.

I Jesus, promise that your place on my team will be guaranteed and that I will never leave you on the terraces. Your new faith in me will be the start of an exciting and fulfilling match. I will be there to encourage, coach, inspire, correct and discipline. I love you with an ever-lasting love. Your future on my team will be secure. All you need to do is follow the game strategy below.

  1. acknowledge that you’ve lived life your own way and missed Gods standards and goals for your life.
  2. believe that Jesus is the ultimate manager of all time and that He died on a cross for you taking the punishment for your wrong – a real substitute – and that he’s alive today.
  3. confess that you’ve joined Gods team and that you’re playing for Jesus now. You’re a new player with a new desire to please Him.
    Say these words to seal the deal:

“Jesus, I acknowledge that I’ve played for myself and that I’ve missed the target of your standards. I believe that you’re the Manager of Managers; that you died for me and rose from the dead. I confess I’ve thought, said and done things wrong. I’m inviting You to become my God. Forgive me and be my manager. Amen.”
If you’ve said these words, I welcome you to God’s team. You won’t regret it, but there is a training schedule to sort out for your newfound faith. Why don’t you contact me on the number below and it would be an honour to lead you through your game plan.

Many many blessings,
Phil Starbuck

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