Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Tuesday March 16 2010
When Peter Reid signed the un-heard of Kevin Phillips in 1997 many Sunderland fans were sceptical on if this player could make himself a name for the club. Looking back I was one of those fans who naively wrote his chances off as he was signed from Watford after facing injury and a transfer fell through with Ipswich Town.
Sunderland signed him for a mear £350,000, which later rose to £600,000 after their relegation from the top flight and we asked a lot from Phillips to fire us back towards the Premier league.
His SAFC career started slowly as he picked up some niggly injuries but then his form changed dramatically and he started coring goals for fun. He scored a record breaking 35 goals in one campaign and broke Brian Clough's record of scoring more than 30 goals in one season. Sadly this season saw Phillips score two goals in the 4-4 draw in the Play-off finals as we lost on penalties 7-6 after Mickey Gray missed his crucial spot kick.
This only spurred on 'SuperKev', as the fans referred to him as, and this made him stronger and more deadly up front. In the 1998/99 season he started in great from before he was ruled out with a toe injury for four months of the season. When Phillips returned Sunderland were still top of the league and he managed to score 23 goals in 25 league games and was called up to the England squad for his performances.
Many pundits and commentators predicted Phillips, who used to be a right back at Southampton would struggle to hit the same form in the top flight. Phillips rammed this criticism down everyone's throats as he picked up player of the month in October. Super Kev continued this goalscoring form and ended up with 30 Premier league goals and won the Premiership and European golden boot award.
In the following season Phillips managed 14 goals and broke the all time post-war goal scoring record in January 2001.
Kevin Phillips had a reord of a goal for every two games and broke all records with his 113 goals in 209 appearances for Sunderland AFC. This fact alone should have everyone standing on their feet if he makes an appearance on Saturday afternoon.
Once a legend, always a legend and he will be greatly missed when he hangs up his red hot boots once and for all. From everyone at Vital Sunderland we thank you SuperKev and you will always be welcome back as a manager or coach if that is your choice once retired.
My Favourite Kev Goal
Date:Tuesday March 16 2010
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