Legend has it that, on transfer deadline day, 1980, Arthur Cox was presented with a choice by Ian Gaunt, his chairman: he could buy either Phil Bonnyman or John Stirk, since the money did not exist to get both players. Cox bought the pair, thus inflaming the belief that "Mad Arthur" was profligate with other people's money.
Bonnyman, nevertheless, represented a fine buy. He was an excellent header of the ball, had good close control and could shoot with both feet, but he lacked pace and had never got the hang of tackling. Fans' admiration of his classy play was tempered by the belief that, on occasions, he simply couldn't be bothered to turn it on - gifted players have faced this silly accusation since football was invented.
His personal high point was probably Chesterfield's Anglo-Scottish cup defeat of Glasgow Rangers, a club that had failed to recognise his potential as a young man. On a night of triumph, Phil (installed as captain for the day) scored twice as John Greig's side were swept away 3-0 in the Saltergate leg of the quarter final.
Phil was an early casualty of Chesterfield's growing financial crisis. An offer came in from Dundee United, but he opted to stay in England and became part of a Grimsby team that showed well in the Second Division in the early '80s. The departure of Manager Dave Booth precipitated a decline in the Mariners' fortunes and Phil left after relegation to Division Three in 1987. Phil served his ex-Grimsby boss as player and Assistant Manager at Feetham's but a severed Achillies tendon put an end to his time there.
After leaving Darlington Phil returned to Scotland, serving as the Assistant Manager at Dunfermline and Hamilton, before becoming Community Officer for the latter. Phil became manager of Highland League Huntly in the summer of '97, leaving one year later to become assistant manager to John Rudge, at Port Vale. Despite being sacked shortly afterwards, he continued to scout for Vale, before being appointed Assistant Manager of Forfar Athletic in December 2000.
Phil left Forfar to attend university. Having worked for Equity & Law as a mortgage adviser he now works for a company called Sipit, who design, manufacture and construct homes from structural insulated panels.