Published: 00:00, 02 May 2019
Michael Phillips knew he was a contender to win the player-of-the-year award after reading Maidstone's forum.
Phillips revealed he's been a regular visitor to the site this season as he likes to know what fans make of his performances.
The former Crystal Palace youngster impressed in his first full season in men's football, dividing his time between right-back and midfield, although he felt Blair Turgott should have won the award.
Phillips said: "Looking at Twitter and the Maidstone forum, I did get a little sniff it was between me, Will De Havilland and Blair Turgott.
"If I’m honest I think Blair deserves it more than me.
"I’m thankful the fans voted for me but he scored 15 goals and if he wasn’t injured for three months he would have had even more.
"He’s an unbelievable player but I’m thankful to win it.
"I thought I had a good season but I’m still upset about the relegation.
“It takes away from the celebration of winning player-of-the-year."
Footballers need to be thick-skinned to go on fans' forums but Phillips always took comments on board.
He said: "They can be a bit harsh on there but I don't blame them.
"Every game I see what people say about me.
"Listen, I’m going to be honest, you get a lot of people giving you stick but I’m the type of guy who cares what the fans say.
"If they want me to do better I have to do that because they pay to come here and see some good football and if I’m not doing it then it’s a problem.
"I go on there to see what people say about my form but I don’t take it to heart. I take it as guidance for my career, see what I can improve on."
Phillips doesn't know what the future holds but looks likely to move on.
He's enjoyed being at Maidstone, even more than Crystal Palace, but has to think about his career.
He said: "I just have to let my agent deal with everything.
"If I stay I’ll try my hardest to get them back in the National League.
"If I don’t I just wish everyone at the club, the fans, staff, players, all the best and hope you get back up.
"I’ll still follow them even if I’m not here and when they go up next year I’ll be celebrating myself.
"The club’s been unbelievable for me. I’ve played over 50 men’s games which I never thought I’d be doing at this age. I thought I’d still be in 23s football.
"I’m not going to lie to anyone, I want to play at the highest level possible, ie Premier League.
"I can’t go from National League straight to the Premier League but obviously it’s little steps.
"I want to get in the Football League and if there’s an offer on the table I’m going to be silly not to take it.
"If a league team comes in, I’d have to go for my future and for my family.
"But Maidstone will always be in my heart.
"I’ve enjoyed my time here more than I enjoyed my time at Crystal Palace.
"I was there for 12 or 13 years but I’ve enjoyed men’s football.
"It’s totally different, the experience, the players, the fans.
"In 23s football you get 10 parents turning up, that’s it."
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More by this authorCraig Tucker