SuperKev: will the next generation have a chance to see his skills?

Ross Crawford, Palace fan
Ross Crawford, left slightly unbalanced by SuperKev’s goal

John McCormick writes:

Salut Sunderland has always welcomed good writing, from supporters of any team. This post continues that fine tradition  and, as our leader is away, gives me the honour of introducing a contributor from one of  next season’s new arrivals. You’ll already have no doubt read that Sixer was not too bothered by the playoff final result and I’ll be adding my own view in a week or so.
In the meantime,  Ross Crawford, young enough to have missed the 92 cup final  (the one we don’t talk about) and probably also Kevin Phillips’s 1998 Wembley appearance, gives his unashamed, unbiased and unfettered account of a more recent season when SuperKev once again proved his worth.

Over to Ross:

In my younger days I was given little option about what team to support, growing up with my father and step father both being Palace fans. Palace are my local club, and they have always played a big part of my life.  Being a Palace fan is quite exciting. Very rarely do we find ourselves in mid-table security. We are often fighting for survival amidst financial trouble, or thriving for promotion.

Games that optimise this can be seen with our thrilling 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, where the loser would be relegated or our famous 2-1 loss against Sunderland in the play-off semi-final second leg, securing a place in the final and future promotion with a little help of a shove on Mart Poom from Neil Shipperley.

Yet, with all our recent financial insecurities with our club in a precarious position placed into administration just 3 years ago it seems hard to believe the progress that has been made with our new owners. Very few would have thought, come the start of the 2012/13 season Crystal Palace would finish the season as a Premiership team.

The idea of “very few”, admittedly included myself and every other Palace fan.  Enter Dougie Freedman, a Palace hero, who at the beginning of the season lost his first three league games; a miserable start following a miserable end to the previous season. It looked as if Palace would be fighting relegation for the Third successive season.  Then something strange happened. Our defensive-minded negative tactics were transformed almost instantly into performances of, quite frankly, skilful and attractive football, with Wilfried Zaha and new signing Yannick Bolasie terrorising Championship defences, Glenn Murray beginning to find the feet through which he would eventually finish with 30 league goals, and our promotion prospects looking great after a prolonged 14 game unbeaten run.

Exit Dougie Freedman, a Palace villain, to be replaced by Ian Holloway. I among many was happy with our replacement. Holloway is charismatic and known for his attractive style of football. However our form soon dipped and quite frankly so did our automatic promotion prospects, and towards the end of the season we were almost out of  the Play-offs completely. But we made it!

However, as a Palace fan you learn to expect the unexpected. Brighton in the Semi -finals was a daunting prospect. Brighton were heavily favoured as were Watford in the final. The feeling of beating your fiercest rivals away from home can only be felt by football fans, Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland anyone?

Enter our hero, Kevin Phillips. Without doubt, at 39 years old, there were doubts that Super Kev could still hack it. How wrong this assumption was.  Kevin Phillips came in January and was a game changer. Whilst Glenn Murray was providing plenty on the goal front we had no real back-up options, with Jermaine Easter out of form and ineffective and Aaron Wilbraham, 33 and untested.

What we got with Kevin Phillips was a proven goal scorer. Even if he has lost that slight edge of sharpness over the years, one thing he has not lost is the ability to put the ball in the back of the net; 6 goals in 14 games (only two of which were starts).

Phillips is probably the most underrated English striker of the last decade and it is a great surprise he hasn’t received more international recognition. His goal in the Play-off final summarised his character and ability perfectly; a short run up, nerves of steel, straight into the top left hand corner with the utmost precision. I firmly believe had any other player taken that penalty we would have seen another outcome to that game.

Palace penalty
This isn’t just a bunch of Palace fans. One of them is Ross. Spot the nerves going!

And so Kevin Phillips writes his name into Palace folklore as he has done with Sunderland previously.  Rumours of a one-year contract offered to Phillips means he could be in line for one last crack at the promised land, and who would put Phillips, at the tender age of 40, past making an impact in the Premiership one last time.


Ross on Ross:

I’m a lifelong Palace fan, Age 22,

Portsmouth University history graduate.



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10 thoughts on “SuperKev: will the next generation have a chance to see his skills?”

  1. Still love Super Kev, best player I’ve seen in red and white. Shame we didn’t build a better team around him and win something. Came into the England set up a bit late though, like Andy Cole, they were never going to get the chances a younger striker would. Michael Owen was always going to get a few seasons at it which was understandable, but I always thought Phillips and Shearer was the best partnership at the time. Good luck to him next season.

  2. One of the things that didn’t help the Palace cause was the derisory sum paid (after tribunal) by Spurs for their then prodigious talent; John Bostock. Bostock was just released last week for nothing. If ever there was a better example of Premiership bullying and greed, I’ve not heard of it.

    It will be a tough time for Palace next season but it’s better than languishing in the middle of nowhere. Actually, that;s my recollection of Selhurst………….as much as you can be in the middle of nowhere when in London, that is.

  3. Sorry to be hogging this post but consider this. SKP made his England debut in the same match as Emile Heskey (Heskey replaced him as a sub). SKP earned 8 caps. Heskey was given 62. Where’s the justice?

  4. My mate travelled business class (he got it free) to Dubai last week. SKP was 3 rows behind. Said mate is a Watford fan!

  5. I’ve supported Sunderland since the late 1940s, and I can say without hesitation that Phillips is one of the best players that I have seen in an SAFC shirt. Apart from being a superb finisher, his link up play was top class, and , for a little guy, he was great in the air. A total professional,always in great shape, and a team player in every sense.

    IMO, England missed out on him. Most of his appearances were late substitutions, and he never got a real chance to gel with Shearer, who was the resident CF at that time.

    Phillips is the sort of unique player who will score goals for as long as he plays football [ a comparison is Sheringham ] based largely on his superb positional sense, and great first touch.

    I hope he goes into coaching.

  6. Phillips and Quinn together in their Sunderland pomp were sensational , the dream partnership and also effective as individuals when partnered with someone else. The fact that Super Kev was European top scorer one season and the only English winner ever of the European golden boot when with us speaks volumes about how good he
    actually was. That he virtually got zero England reconition at that time only demonstrates to me the bias against non fashionable clubs at the F.A and Sunderland in particular .It certainly existed under Cappelo and he’s unsettling of Bent, jury’s out on Hodgson as there’s only Johnson from a Sunderland point of view that’s on the fringes of the England team unless Colback continues to improve next season .

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