I know PHP well, and it's the main tool where I'm currently working. I used it before it had OO added. I actually think they made a decent job of that. However, it is in no way a well-designed language, and it has serious problems outside of its intended purpose for building web-sites. (It's cool that they improved its GC relatively recently, but it's still super-super-basic.)
A large part of the problem with PHP, imo, is the insularity of its community. In addition, it took a long, long while to provide decent tools for collaboration; composer is a huge step up from PEAR.
When you say:
I feel sad. PHP is okay, but don't feel the need to defend it. There really are other far, far better languages readily available to you.
I love ruby. It's by far the most expressive and terse language I've ever used. And at the last count, I'd used over 20 of the damn things -- I'm old . I can write scripts in it. I can write OO style. I can write functional style. It can even curry for heaven's sake and create lazy enumerators. Yet, I'm thrilled that something like elixir has come along and blown the gaff.
Why would you dig your heals in and insist on PHP just because you can make it work?
There's a talk I used to give called: Working software is useless. The point being that software can always be made to work. Always. It just takes time. Working software is what the unenlightened think is sufficient. What the world really needs is working maintainable software. That's a completely different ball game.
You can make maintainable PHP, but it requires a level of discipline and skill I've never encountered in the PHP community. Being back in that domain, the word I used recently to describe the pace of change was glacial -- I'm the old guy, remember! Everyone's younger than me. The problem, however, is the insularity. It's always been that way, and they can't see the problem.
PHP isn't crap. You can build stuff in it just fine. But it's old and cranky and a million miles from what's really going on in the world. I hope you find it in you to add another string to your bow.