Recruited from Edenhope Victoria, “Fabulous Phil” played just over 50 memorable games for the Norwood Football Club. A superbly talented footballer, he made an outstanding debut in 1970, in round 1 against Port Adelaide on the Norwood Oval.
However, Carman's career was destined to be affected by controversy and by mid-season he was banned from playing for Norwood. Having initially been cleared by the Australian National Football Council to the NFC, he spent two years out of the game as a result of a clearance dispute between Norwood and Collingwood, and the Victorian club's refusal to allow him to play for the Redlegs. Carman was finally cleared to play for Norwood again in 1972 and he continued to show his extraordinary skills as a key position player or ruck-rover.
A powerful athlete, capable of taking a strong mark and equally adept on both sides of the body, the flamboyant Carman was simply unstoppable on his day. In 1974, Collingwood finally persuaded him to play in the Victorian Football League and he made an immediate impact on the competition. In his first VFL season in 1975 he won the Copeland Trophy as Collingwood's Best and Fairest and represented Victoria against Western Australia. Sadly, it was in this match that he broke a bone in his foot and missed the last nine weeks of the season. Amazingly he still finished just 3 votes away from winning the Brownlow Medal.
Always colorful, Carman played on the edge however and was reported on more than one occasion. He was suspended for two games for an incident in the 1977 Second-Semi Final. As Collingwood and North Melbourne subsequently drew that year's Grand Final, Carman then also missed the Grand Final replay.
Carman also had stays at Melbourne, Essendon and North Melbourne. His time at Essendon marred by a 20-week suspension for two incidents in a match against St. Kilda, the more serious charge was that of head-butting a boundary umpire.
After leaving the VFL, Carman coached in several Leagues, including the SANFL where he took Sturt to the 1998 Grand Final.
In 2013 he was awarded Collingwood Life Membership.
R Cialini Feb 2013
Carman, Phil Hard world of backroom deals. The Age August 13 2013