Kalvin Phillips has broken his silence on his father’s troubled life and how Marching on Together was sung by other inmates during Mark Phillips’ time in prison.
Leeds United’s homegrown star is destined for big things. Having made his debut in April 2015, the 24-year-old was moved to a holding midfield role by Marcelo Bielsa.
Since then, Phillips has not looked back. With four England caps to his name and one of the first names on the Leeds team-sheet, he is rated in the £50m bracket.
Much is written about Phillips’ strong relationship with his mum, Lindsay, and grandma, Val. However, very little is known about his father, Mark.
However, in an in-depth interview with The Times, Phillips has revealed his father is currently doing jail time at Wealstun Prison.
“He’s been in and out my life since when I was young,” Phillips said. “He’s been in prison, out of prison. He got into the wrong crowd, drugs, fighting, anything you can name.
“I look at the background of my dad. My Dad wasn’t brought up in the best situation. He never knew his father really. He got the name ‘Chalky’ because he was the only black guy in his school and in his neighbourhood.
“A lot of people still now call him ‘Chalky’. It’s crazy. He had a kid at 13, my step-sister, we’re very close.
“He and my mum had a relationship where they were OK for a certain point and then my dad would go off and just do whatever he did.
“My mum would lose patience with him and then my dad would go into prison, come back out, come back to my mum and then do exactly the same thing.”
Phillips ‘Marching on Together’ tribute
Wealstun Prison, where Mark Phillips is currently doing time, is located a stone’s throw from Leeds’ Thorp Arch training base.
Phillips also revealed the touching moment from his dad once Leeds secured promotion back to the Premier League.
Phillips added: “I drive past him every morning. It’s crazy really. I’ve been to see him a few times but I don’t really like going in there and seeing him in prison. I’d rather speak over the phone. I speak to him every couple of weeks.
“He is proud of me. He’s Leeds. He’s lived in Leeds all his life.
“He rang me a couple of weeks after we’d been promoted, and said, ‘Listen to this.’ All the people who were waiting for a phone-call in prison were there, all singing ‘Marching on together’, banging on the walls. It was mad!”