If you ever needed a striker to rely on then Kevin Phillips was your man. Recruited by 10 clubs over a span of 23 years, achieving 5 promotions and bags of Premier League goals he was a goal machine. But now the veteran striker is packing it in. After winning the Championship with Leicester City, Phillips has opted to join the coaches on the side-line. The 40 year old will play in his 652nd game this weekend against Doncaster as he and the Foxes say farewell to the second tier of football after climbing back into the top flight after their 10 year absence. For Phillips it has all been done before. The vast of amount of his success was achieved with Sunderland where he spent 6 years and won the Golden Boot in 2000 scoring 30 goals, seven more than Alan Shearer. Quite an achievement given that he was competing against some of Europe’s greatest ever hitmen for the award – Raul, Crespo, Batistuta, Schevchenko and Kluivert. With the Black Cats, Phillips scored 116 goals in 211 appearances and is still the last Englishman to win the top goal scorer award.
Following this, the striker moved to St Mary’s scoring 22 goals before switching from the Seaside to the Midlands. Here, Phillips played for Aston Villa, WBA and then Birmingham City. Most of his success around Birmingham was achieved at the Hawthorns where he scored 38 goals and made a notable impact in the team’s Championship title charge in 2008. After spending as long at St Andrews as he did in West Brom, he was unable to match his scoring record after scoring 19 in 69 appearances with the Blues. He was fading out yet he wasn’t out of favour. Phillips kicked on and breathed life into clubs on the hunt for promotion. He was a dependable goal scorer and was highly regarded by the managers he went to play under.
In the last three years of his playing career, Phillips played under Hollaway at Blackpool before moving with him to Crystal Palace where he achieved promotion here and then next at Leicester. He scored 26 goals across those three years. His most vital goal was for Palace where he scored the penalty in the final of the Play Offs last season that sent them up. He was initially on loan at Selhurst Park but then moved there on a permanent basis before moving to the King Power Stadium in January, contributing on their journey to the top spot. On top of this, he was an England international and gained eight caps with his country but failed to score. Before moving to the North East, he played at Watford and a small side named Baldock Town who play in the Spartan South Midlands Division one.
From a Baggies perspective, ‘Super Kev’ was a breath of fresh air when coming to the club as he came in at a time when the club was struggling for goals. But he was influential with his vision and was a target man who would look to create chances. This ethos will be passed on by him as a coach in Leicester’s Premier League campaign. Confidence is what is needed to survive at the top and he’s got it in abundance.
Post by Richard Waterhouse