It was with sadness that Newport County AFC learned of the passing of long-time supporter and former programme editor, Phil Tanner, on Wednesday 18th January 2023. He was 67.
Reading-based Phil was originally from the Michaelston-y-Fewd area of Newport and attended Bassaleg School. He had supported the club for 54 years. In fact, the first match he saw was a 3-4 home defeat to Aldershot on 27th December 1969, a match which saw County throwaway a three-goal lead with future County star Richard Walden netting twice for the Shots. Nevertheless, Phil had developed the bug and was a regular supporter at Somerton Park, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucester, Spytty Park and Rodney Parade, all despite living away from the city for many years.
Phil, who had only stopped contributing the away team player biographies to our match day programme a few months ago due to his health, after around 20 years of service, was also a former editor and wrote articles that were published not only in club fanzines like ‘Never Say Die’ but also ‘When Saturday Comes,’ the well-known national football magazine about the old club’s financial plight and the struggles the fledgling Newport AFC experienced in a bid to be accepted in the late 1980s and early 90s. His piece entitled ‘Forever Amber’ was even included in the popular magazine’s 1989 annual. His words, whatever he wrote, were always well thought out and researched and indeed thought provoking; a must read, you might say. His columns in our programme included ‘Over George Street Bridge’ and ‘Today’s the Day’ as well as many one-off, topical articles. Phil was also very encouraging and helpful not only to me, but to all members of the programme team.
Over the years, Phil was a member of the Supporters’ Club, a shareholder, season ticket holder, Club Trust member, and an OBE (Over the Bridge Exiles!) and, despite health and mobility issues, he still managed to get to many games both home and away with the help of his wife Karen. Then, when attending unfortunately became too difficult, Phil kept a close eye on events via social media platforms.
He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends, but will never be forgotten for his loyal support to the club and all his work and dedication to this very publication. RIP, Phil.
Phil’s funeral will be at Reading Crematorium on Monday 13th February at 10:45 and afterwards a small reception at the Thames Lido. His wife Karen would welcome any of his fellow County supporters to attend if they can.