With thanks to goals442 at YouTube – any clip from today would presumably be short-lived. Enjoy the great man at the height of his career, playing for Sunderland AFC, and for others …

It cannot be allowed to pass without mention. If anything was calculated to bring a broad smile to Monsieur Salut’s all-too-often unsmiling face, it was Kevin Phillips scoring a playoff final winner at Wembley.

Super Kevin Phillips.

At 39, the man who gave us so much pleasure in the red and white stripes of Sunderland, in that unforgettable partnership with Niall Quinn, took Crystal Palace past Watford for their shot at the Premier League.

Phillips scored in the 105th minute, at the end of the first period of extra time, after his teammates had failed repeatedly to take the sort of chances he so often converted for us. It was a penalty but a cracker at that – “better than some he took for us,” Ian Todd remarked at the Blackcats list – as the ball flew into a top corner.

The man who said anyone who misses a penalty should be sent home without pay has probably never had to take one under that pressure.

Crystal Palace is not a club I especially warm to. Rotten ground. Rotten area of London. And a blatant foul on Mart Poom allowed them to take the 2004 playoff semi-final to a penalty shoot-out – the Jeff Whitley penalty shoot-out! – that they won. But they clearly deserved their win today, have a likeable manager and may even surprise us next season (or go down with 15 points as we once did).

But as soon as I remembered Phillips would be on the bench and likely to play some part, I switched my allegiance for the afternoon from Watford.

Apologies to pals who support the Hornets. I’ve endured the pain of losing at Wembley (two cup finals, FA and Milk, and a playoff final). SKP has been on the beaten side in three playoff finals. And yes, I know Kev once played for you, too, but it’s not the same as being on the pitch now. As I have said elsewhere today, I will always root for a team SKP is playing for, unless the team is Sunderland.

So bravo SuperKev. Maybe we’ll see you back at the Stadium of Light one day as a coach. The strikers we’ve had since could do with a spot of advice.

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

11 Responses to “SuperKev: the reason Crystal Palace beat Watford – and he’s our hero” Subscribe

  1. Gareth May 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    His lack of effort in his final season still irritates. Fair play to him though.

    • vince May 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      They shifted him to play deep and changed his role…he had no Quinny…he was in a deflated team……he was not great but he battled on I don’t think the team payed well that season either.

      • salutsunderland May 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

        I’m with Vince, Gareth. I thought often that season that he was unwittingly showing he could be a pretty good midfielder. The team was so rank bad that he was doing stuff all over the park. I don’t equate that with not trying, even though I agree he wasn’t doing his day job.

        • Goldy May 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

          I’m with Gareth. I followed home and away in those days and his head disappeared up his backside. Body language was off and his effort declined. When McCarthy came in for the final ten games, his role in the side altered from what is was under Wilkinson yet he still didn’t make an effort.. McCarthy has said as much.

          It was a kick in the balls when we sat bottom of the Championship and he went to West Brom as well, though I got over that when we won the league that year.

          Still, his greatness outweighs all of that so I love him again. Was chuffed for him today.

  2. vince May 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Kevin Phillips …bless his cotton socks.I did want Watford to win…just for our long suffering fans benefit…..Selhurst Park the worst of away grounds for next season.But as you say when Superkev came on you had to back him.

    He said he may sign out on that game and who could blame him at 39…what a way to finish…he really is a legend.

    I remember when we bought him and everyone said Kevin who?…we signed a Watford full back as a striker?…typical Sunderland.

    How wrong we were proved to be.

    God bless Kevin Phillips. I hope he has a great career wherever he goes.

  3. Goldy May 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    He was made a fullback in his youth days at Southampton. He played upfront for Watford and was recommended by Roeder (I think) as a better alternative to his strike partner David Connolly who was on Reid’s radar.

    • William C May 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Yes Goldy, it was Glenn Roeder. He signed him from Baldock Town, where KP had been playing mainly at full back. What a wonderful career he went on to have?

  4. Drummer May 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Did fantastic for us overall and that European Golden Boot was in absence of a team trophy the next best thing .As was stated previously it didn’t end all that well but he’s best years were our best years (recently ). Pleased he got a genuine winners medal at Wembley and scored the winner,legend .

  5. William C May 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    He truly is a legend [ over-used term, but appropriate for him ] One of the best players that I have seen in a Sunderland shirt. Not just a striker either. His link up play and airial ability were exceptional.

    He was definately the best signing Peter Reid ever made, and I think that he was unlucky not to get more international caps. It semed to me that he never really got long enough on the pitch to establish himself.

  6. Eric012 May 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I remember he was struggling to score for England and they were awarded a penalty in a meaningless friendly. He could have smashed it in, broken his duck and gone on to score many more. Step up Goldenballs however, and SuperKev barely played again and obviously never scored. He is 2/1 to become Prems oldest ever scorer. He will do it so GET ON!

  7. Gareth May 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    It’s thought that Shearer actively sought to spoil his England career. Rumours he was forced out because he wasn’t one of the card playing gamblers in the squad.

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