Sam never married, and was kept company by his dog Dougal, which he kept in a bag. In September 1985, while readying himself for the bowls tournament, he took a fancy to Phyllis Pearce. Phyllis was after Percy, Sam's competitor in the tournament. Phyllis liked the thought of making Percy jealous by being seen with Sam and so she told Sam she would go to the bowling club outing to Southport with whoever won the finals. In fact, Percy had no interest in Phyllis and was so horrified at the thought of Phyllis having him all to herself that he considered throwing the game - but he was too proud to go through with it and he won.
In December 1985, Sam offered Terry Duckworth and Curly Watts the use of Dougal to catch a rat in the Builder's Yard. He tried to swindle them by passing off a ferret as a rat so they'd pay him to catch it. Also that month, Sam won a Christmas pudding in a pub raffle, but a drunken Alf Roberts sat on it at his stag party and a forlorn Sam annoyed Bet Lynch by accusing her of losing it.
Phyllis took more interest in Sam when she found out he won a fortune on the pools in the 1950s and spent it on property. Sam was now penniless as his houses were falling down but he saw this as a way in with Phyllis and made the most of it. He was Phyllis's date for her 65th birthday party, and they were having a good time until Sam saw Phyllis dancing with Percy and accused Phyllis of playing with his affections. Phyllis was upset... until he revealed that he had no fortune to bequeath, upon which the status quo was restored.
In April 1987, Sam turned up at one of Percy's Over 60s tea-dance sessions. Percy entered the group in a competition but the dancers preferred Sam to lead them and voted Percy down. Percy hit back by cancelling their entry into the competition.
Later that year, Sam briefly pursued Amy Burton but by 1988 he was after Phyllis again. Phyllis had come to like having Sam around but she still used him to get to Percy - on one occasion, she complained to Percy that Sam was pestering her, and was then pleased when Percy berated Sam when he overheard Sam telling people he never had much time for women. He last called at the café in May 1989.