Player of the Day: Kevin Phillips

Published:
by Ashley Houghton

130-goal striker in the spotlight.

Kevin Phillips broke just about every goal scoring record he could in his six seasons with Sunderland between 1997 and 2003.

The Hitchin-born frontman, who joined the Black Cats from Watford, scored 130 goals in 235 games during his time on Wearside.

‘Super Kev’, as he became affectionately known, made an immediate impact at the Stadium of Light with 35 goals in 48 appearances in his debut campaign.

He scored four in an FA Cup win over Rotherham whilst he also notched in seven consecutive matches over the Christmas period.

To top that run, he scored in nine home games on the bounce between December 1997 and March 1998, though, he could do little after being substituted in the play-off final as the Black Cats missed out on promotion to Charlton Athletic on penalties.

Peter Reid’s side bounced back with a vengeance in the 1998-99 Division One success and racked up 105 league points with Phillips continuing his fine form.

Phillips’ 25 goals, four of which came in a 5-2 win over Bury which secured promotion to the top flight, were quite a remarkable achievement having missed four months of the season due to a broken toe.

International recognition followed for Phillips and he made his England debut, like current Sunderland defender Wes Brown, in a 1-1 draw with Hungary in Budapest.

Arguably Super Kev’s most famous season came in the 1999-00 campaign as he became the only Englishman to win the European Golden Boot award with his 30 goals in 38 games.

His hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition of Derby County at Pride Park and his winner in a 2-1 success over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park proved particular highlights.

Phillips’ partnership with Niall Quinn was receiving widespread plaudits as the pair continued to notch the majority of Sunderland’s goals – a run that would continue until Quinn’s exit in 2002.

Reid’s side finished seventh again in the 2000-01 seasons with Phillips bagging 18 goals in 42 games, breaking the club’s post-war scoring record in the process.

In Phillips’ penultimate season at Sunderland he scored the goal that ensured the Wearsiders' top-flight status in a 1-1 draw with Derby County at the Stadium of Light.

Nine goals followed in the England international’s final season at Sunderland with the Black Cats’ relegation inevitably resulting in the prolific striker’s departure.

Spells with Southampton, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Blackpool and Crystal Palace have followed in a career that has so far produced 645 club appearances and 280 goals.