Kevin Phillips; a victim of his own nature

It’s the 1999-2000 season. Manchester United had just won the Champions League in the most dramatic of circumstances (although they’d have to wait a while before their next final).

Club logos were actually good and weren’t being reinvented for the sake of money; Michael Owen was on the pitch scoring goals, instead of providing “expert analysis” on the telly.

Ahh, those were the days.

However, possibly the most incredible thing about the 99-00 season is that an Englishman actually won the European Golden Shoe – the award for scoring the most goals in all of Europe.

 

Yup. Seriously.

The name of this mystical hero?

Kevin Phillips.

Yes, that’s right. The only Englishman to win the Golden Shoe played for Sunderland, scored 30 goals in the Premier League, outscoring the likes of Ronaldo (the podgy one), Raul and co.

It was a heck of a season for Sunderland – having been promoted the season before, they went on to finish in the dizzy heights of 7th place, with one of the highlights of their season being a 4-1 battering of Chelsea (although this was back when they weren’t being bankrolled by a Russian billionaire).

Naturally, Super Kev scored the pick of the goals, with an absolute screamer of a volley.

(Oh my word.)

SEE ALSO: The gentleman’s agreement that Figo refused to break

Phillips was no one-trick pony either. Headers, screamers from outside the box, poaching inside the box, left foot, right foot; the man could do everything.

But Kevin Phillips isn’t exactly the first name that springs to mind when you’re asked “who’s your favourite English striker?”

It was just unfortunate that this mercurial talent was around at the same time as other top-class English strikers – Michael Owen had just burst onto the scene (Argentina in ’98, anyone?!), Alan Shearer was still scoring goals for fun and beyond that we had Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham…

The lack of international game time meant that Phillips never really cemented himself as a ‘great’. That and the fact that he was never picked up by clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool who were all regularly competing in Europe.

Without European defences to test himself against, Kevin Phillips could never truly say that he was one of Europe’s best.

Perhaps another reason we forget about Phillips’ achievement is that he was such an unassuming character. Never one to seek the limelight, he got his head down and, in the words of striker partner Niall Quinn, ‘just wanted to achieve’.

It’s possible that this humble nature was what deterred the bigger clubs from signing Phillips; in their eyes, he probably didn’t have the “X-Factor” which perhaps more flamboyant strikers had.

Still, we haven’t forgotten you here at CLICKON Soccer Kev; and neither has YouTube.

9 of the Premier League’s best ever off-the-bench goalscorers