Phil Coleman (aka Thai Green) died in Derriford Hospital on 19 April. He was 61.
Phil was a life-long Argyle supporter whose visits to Home Park began in the early 1960s and continued on and off until his final attendance against Cheltenham two weeks before his death. Throughout his life, wherever he lived, he avidly followed the fortunes of Argyle, suffering as all true supporters do the rollercoaster of emotions generated by the highs and lows of the team's league position and results. In recent times, he was a subscriber to 'Argyle Player' and was resolutely undisturbable during the match commentaries that enabled him to participate at one remove in the agony and ecstasy of each game that he could not attend personally. Several years ago, he began teaching English in Thailand, hence the soubriquet which he used to engage in debate and comment on Pasoti. Like many other supporters, his views were often contentious, subjective, flawed, inconsistent and combative, but, also like the others, he enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate and bore goodwill to most, if not all, his interlocutors. In so engaging, he enjoyed the shared passion which lies at the heart of being a true supporter. Like so many others, he agonised in recent times over the consequences of the abysmal mismanagement of the previous regime that saw Argyle reduced to its current historically low position. Again, like many others, he contributed as he could to try to help alleviate the financial burden of the innocent staff victims of Argyle's financial disintegration. He welcomed the rescue by James Brent and was optimistic about what lay ahead.
Unfortunately, in 2010 he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer resulting from exposure to asbestos, typically 30-40 years previously. Sadly, as many Pasoti members will be aware, although comparatively rare on a national scale, there is a Mesothelioma 'hotspot' around Plymouth as asbestos was widely prevalent in Devonport Dockyard and on the ships of the Royal Navy. Ironically, in Phil's case, it was impossible to determine how he had been contaminated as he had never knowingly lived or worked in an asbestos environment.
Throughout his final illness, he enjoyed exemplary support and care from medical professionals, especially at the medical practice in Wadebridge where he lived, from Macmillan nurses whose outstanding support and skills are justifiably legendary, from the Oncology team at Derriford and, in his final few days, from the entire team at Brent Ward. Phil benefited to the very end from that highest quality of care for which, at its best, the NHS is the envy of the world.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn, his life partner of 40 years, whose support and efforts enabled him to enjoy the varied and often complicated life that he did. Although not a football supporter herself, she accompanied Phil to the last couple of matches at Home Park as he was by then too weak to attend on his own. Phil was pleased that she claimed that she had actually enjoyed the experience of being part of the 'Green Army'!