In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Kevin Phillips joined Sunderland in the summer of 1997, as per Transfermarkt, with the club having just been relegated from the Premier League.
He eventually managed to help the club get back in the Premier League, ready for the 1999/00 season, though that wasn’t to be the end of his ability to show the club a higher level of performance, as his best campaign for the Black Cats followed.
The club would go on to finish seventh in the league that season, a brilliant placing for a newly promoted club, with Phillips largely to thank.
He scored an incredible 30 league goals throughout the campaign, though the importance of this is highlighted best by the fact that his goals earned 25 of the team’s 58 points – 31 goals would follow that haul in the following three campaigns.
With Stewart Donald needing to replace Jack Ross, Phillips had thrown his name into the hat and even had conversations with those within the club about taking over, while openly admitting (per the Chronicle) he would “love to have a crack at it.” Amid an underwhelmed response to the recent appointment of Phil Parkinson as the club’s new manager from sections of the support online (via the Sunderland Echo), it would have been interesting to see if Phillips’ arrival would have lifted the mood of a club marooned in the third tier of English football.
By looking at some of the responses to Michael Gray‘s tweet earlier this month when he called for his former teammate to be handed the job, it does look as if some of the fans could have got behind the idea.
Take him or maybe even Keane back
— Sam Hall (@SamHall60763308) October 8, 2019
Definately Micky.. give him a shot..
— Peter Foster (@foslar71) October 9, 2019
You as his assistant ??? 🔴⚪️🔴⚪️⚽️ come back home boys x
— Lukey Dodds (@lukey_dodds) October 9, 2019
Indeed, while the journeyman striker has little senior management experience, he has shaken things up on Wearside before as the Black Cats progressed through the pyramid and perhaps the appointment of a figure the fans could have rallied behind would have gone down better amongst a fanbase to have suffered so much of late.
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