Kevin Phillips

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Kevin Phillips is an English striker who was born in Hitchin on 25th July 1973. Phillips began his career at Southampton as a right back, but was released as a youngster. He moved to non-league outfit Baldock Town in 1992, and also worked at B&Q as a shelf stacker. Phillips was converted to a striker at Baldock, where he was extremely prolific. His form earned him a move to Watford in 1994. Phillips found the step up no issue whatsoever, scoring 9 from 16 in his first season at Vicarage Road. He continued to perform well in 1995/96, despite Watford's relegation to Division Two. Phillips missed over half of the 1996/97 campaign through injury.

In July 1997 Phillips signed for Sunderland. He became an instant hit with the fans at the Stadium of Light after netting 4 from his first 5 matches, starting with a goal in his debut against Manchester City on 15th August. Phillips formed a terrific partnership with Niall Quinn up front, and helped the Black Cats reach the play-off final in 1997/98. He scored 35 from 47 in all competitions, as Sunderland narrowly missed out on a return to the Premiership following a penalty shoot-out defeat to Charlton in the play-offs. The following campaign Phillips helped Sunderland to a record breaking Division One title win, scoring 25 goals from 33. One of the many highlights that term came at Bury on 13th April 1999 when he netted 4 goals in a 5-2 win.

Phillips adapted to Premiership football with ease, grabbing a brace in the second match of the season against former club Watford on 10th August 1999. Weeks later he scored the winner in a famous 2-1 victory at Newcastle. Phillips scored a hatrick at Derby on 18th September 1999, earning him a first England call up a month later. He made his international debut on 10th October in a 2-1 win over Belgium. Phillips went on to play 8 times for England, but failed to score once. He continued to flourish at club level however, and tore Chelsea to pieces in a 4-1 thumping at the Stadium of Light on 4th December 1999. Phillips ended 1999/2000 as the Premier League's top scorer with 30 goals.

Phillips helped Sunderland to a second consecutive 7th placed finish in 2000/01, scoring 18 goals in total. He was less prolific the following two seasons as Sunderland's performances declined, but still made a number of important contributions. In January 2001 he broke the Mackem's post-war goal-scoring record. Phillips scored just 9 goals in 2002/03 as Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League.

In August 2003 Phillips signed for Southampton for £3,250,000. He made his debut on August 16th as a substitute against Leicester, scoring in a 2-2 draw. Phillips enjoyed a great start to his Saints career, netting early goals against Tottenham and Steaua Bucharest. On 27th September 2003 he was sent off after petulantly kicking out at a Middlesbrough defender in the closing stages of a 1-0 home defeat. He then entered a goal drought, failing to net in 14 matches. Despite this, Phillips's performances were generally good and he continued to work hard for the team. After scoring in a 2-1 win over Leeds in January 2004, the former Sunderland man entered into a great run of form. He bagged a brace against Manchester United, scoring two long range efforts at Old Trafford in a narrow 3-2 defeat. Phillips also netted in wins against Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves. He ended 2003/04 with 14 goals to his name.

Southampton were relegated at the end of 2004/05, but Phillips still enjoyed a decent season, scoring 13 goals. The most important of those came on 13th November, when he netted the winner against rivals Portsmouth. Word circulated that Phillips had a bust up with other members of the St Marys dressing room towards the end of the campaign, which would explain why he bench for the final few matches. He left the club in the summer of 2005, explaining he was never completely settled on the South Coast.

In June 2005 Phillips signed for Aston Villa for £1,000,000. He enjoyed a reasonable season at Villa Park in 2005/06, scoring in his debut against Bolton on August 13th 2005. Phillips also netted in a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Birmingham. The former Saints man sustained an injury in December and struggled to get back into the starting eleven in the second half of the campaign.

In August 2006 Phillips signed for freshly relegated Championship outfit West Brom. He helped the Baggies reach the play-offs in 2006/07, scoring 22 goals, including a hatrick in a 5-1 win over Ipswich on 14th October 2006. Phillips also netted against former club Southampton in February 2008. He performed even better in 2007/08, with 24 from 38 as West Brom finished in 1st place and won promotion back to the Premier League. He was offered a new one year contract at the Hawthorns in the summer of 2008, but rejected the deal, as he wanted to stay for another two years.

Phillips for Birmingham on 9th July 2008. He scored on his Blues debut on 9th August 2008 against Sheffield United, and helped the club to a Championship promotion. He scored in the final day 2-1 win at Reading, which secured the clubs place in the top flight. Phillips was in and out of the Birmingham line up during 2009/10, but still proved to be a useful performer on occasions. He scored goals against Arsenal, Wolves and Bolton. He appeared less frequently in 2010/11 as Birmingham were relegated back to the Championship.

In the summer of 2011 Phillips signed for Blackpool. He made a great start at Bloomfield Road, with four goals in his first four matches.