I’ve had a canny time writing about SAFC – but this was the most enjoyable few hours of the lot! Here are my top ten Super Kevin Phillips goals. Obviously, I’ve had to miss out a fair few corkers given I could only include 10 of his 130 glorious goals in red and white. Complete with videos for 8 of them!
10: Queens Park Rangers (away) 09.01.1999
This was Phillips’s first game since September after he was sidelined with broken toe sustained against Chester City. That probably makes it a more amicable goal than it might have been, but it was brilliant and near flawless technique. Gavin McCann supplied the cross which was dispatched on the volley by Super Kev. It was the opening goal in a match which ultimately ended as a 2-2 draw.
9: Manchester City (away) 23.08.2000
The fact that this goal only makes number 9 pretty much speaks volumes about the abundance of spectacular goals from such a special footballer. Kevin Kilbane worked hard to float in a left footed cross at the second attempt which was controlled on the chest by Phillips and rifled home on the half-volley. The match ended in disappointment as we lost 4-2 thanks to a Paulo Wanchope hat trick.
8: Stoke City (home) 25.04.1998
A goal which was the second on route to a comfortable 3-0 victory – but this was so much more than that. Not only was it brilliant - a first time half volley from outside the box, beating Neville Southall after latching onto a long ball over the top of the defence - but it was also his 30th goal of the campaign. It was the first time since Brian Clough in 1962 that a Sunderland player had done so.
7: Everton (home) 25.03.2000
After a bit of a mess the ball was squeezed to Phillips on the left, unmarked, he took just one touch to set himself before finishing with aplomb into the top corner – sending the home crowd into raptures. It was the winning goal in a 2-1 victory which would end an eleven game winless streak fittingly started by Everton…less said about that game the better.
6: Bury (away) 13.04.1999
Just a brilliant goal this and the last in a 5-2 rout of Bury. Allan ‘Magic’ Johnston played a delightful through ball which Phillips took in his stride and curled a 20 yarder to perfection into the right hand corner of the goal. Typical Super Kev, but then again, so are all 10 of these goals!
5: Liverpool (away) 23.09.2000
A superb performance against the team that would finish 3rd. It might after been more after Phillips picked up the ball inside his own half before driving at the Liverpool defence. He evaded one challenge from behind before taking full advantage of the rest of the defence backing off by firing a shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner past Sander Westerveld. The match finished 1-1, Michael Owen equalising for the scousers.
4: Barnsley (away) 16.04.1999
Not one of his most important goals as we all know what happened that season but it rubber-stamped a 3-1 away victory in supreme style. From the left hand side, Phillips ran at the defence before cutting inside and curling an absolutely wonderful effort into the bottom right hand corner. You don’t save those. Sounds so simple but oh so brilliant.
3: Chelsea (home) 04.12.1999
What?! Only 3rd on the list?! Quite rightfully many fans’ favourite Phillips goal and it was unbelievable. Chelsea failed to clear their lines but take absolutely nothing away from a strike that very few players could have pulled off. On the half volley, about 1,000 yards away, Super Kev unleashed an unforgettable strike that we will all be telling our grandkids about – if we haven’t already that is! As you well know, we won that game by a meagre 4 goals to 1, could’ve been 10 mind.
2: Swindon (away) 03.05.1998
For me this is the most underrated Phillips goal of all time. If I was not a Sunderland fan, and just a football one in general, this would be number 1. There is no doubt in my mind that, in terms of sheer technique and ability, this was Super Kev’s finest strike in red and white. Didier Drogba learned his best trick from this goal. At a slight angle, just inside the area, Phillips chest controls with his back to goal before, on the turn, smashing a truly wonderful volley which dipped into the bottom left hand corner. Unbelievable Jeff. We won that game 2-1, the last game before a play-off campaign which we won’t discuss.
1: Mags (away) 25.08.1999
Surely, surely, this must be the most memorable moment for most Sunderland fans. We all know the goal, ‘keeper Tommy Wright saving Phillips first effort in a 1v1 situation, with the home crowd prematurely cheering only for Super Kev to retrieve the ball and at a tight angle lob him and two defenders on the line. Absolutely superb technique but it was everything that surrounded the goal which makes it number 1. Our first win at Sid James’ since the glorious 1990 play-off second leg, in the torrential rain and just after being promoted from the first division – absolutely tremendous moment for everyone associated with the club.
Honourable mention: West Ham United (home) 06.05.2000
It needs a mention. This was Phillips’s 30th Premier League and Golden Boot winning goal, a header from close range to stick home Nicky Summerbee’s cross. Lovely.
There you have it – my top 10. No doubt I’ve missed some corkers, leave us a comment if you agree/disagree!