If Barry Phillipson performs at his best at the FA Cup Final at Wembley this weekend, then fans will be totally unaware of his existence.
Sports masseur Barry, who runs Rugby’s Smart Therapy Studios, has the important job of making sure that referee Andre Miller is totally warmed up and ready to cover virtually every inch of the pitch in the meeting between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.
His involvement will remain strictly behind the scenes unless the game goes to extra time or the unthinkable happens and Mr Miller is afflicted with cramp. Then he will be out on the pitch in an instant to work his magic and revive tired limbs.
After years of tending to the needs of referees and officials he is extending his activities towards the players in what he is himself describing as ‘a memorable May.’
His sports masseur tour kicked off last weekend with a trip with the Manchester United Legends from Old Trafford to Ibrox and a game against Glasgow Rangers Legends.
“This was my first trip with them and I was obviously delighted to be asked by the head masseur at Manchester United, Garry Amrer,” said Barry.
Tomorrow Barry heads off to London to make preparations for his 10th FA Cup Final. He will be keeping a watchful eye on all the officials, right down to what they eat and drink. Over the years Andre Marriner has become a close friend. “I would be concerend if you ever saw me on the pitch, because it would mean the referee had gone down.”
The following week Barry is back in London for the play-off finals where Smart Therapist Chirag Govind will be shadowing him at Wembley in preparation for him to hopefully one day taking it on himself. Then he moves on to the UEFA Champions League Finals in the capital.
“It is so rare to have two finals played so closely together and I am delighted to be able to attend as the European refs’ masseur for the second time,” added Barry.
The memorable month concludes with the Championship Play off Final and England v Republic of Ireland.
“With the FA Celebrating its 150th year I am so honoured to be playing a small role in so many great games and events,” said Barry.