With thanks to goals442 at YouTube – any clip from today would presumably be short-lived. Enjoy the great man at the height of his career, playing for Sunderland AFC, and for others …
It cannot be allowed to pass without mention. If anything was calculated to bring a broad smile to Monsieur Salut’s all-too-often unsmiling face, it was Kevin Phillips scoring a playoff final winner at Wembley.
Super Kevin Phillips.
At 39, the man who gave us so much pleasure in the red and white stripes of Sunderland, in that unforgettable partnership with Niall Quinn, took Crystal Palace past Watford for their shot at the Premier League.
Phillips scored in the 105th minute, at the end of the first period of extra time, after his teammates had failed repeatedly to take the sort of chances he so often converted for us. It was a penalty but a cracker at that – “better than some he took for us,” Ian Todd remarked at the Blackcats list – as the ball flew into a top corner.
The man who said anyone who misses a penalty should be sent home without pay has probably never had to take one under that pressure.
Crystal Palace is not a club I especially warm to. Rotten ground. Rotten area of London. And a blatant foul on Mart Poom allowed them to take the 2004 playoff semi-final to a penalty shoot-out – the Jeff Whitley penalty shoot-out! – that they won. But they clearly deserved their win today, have a likeable manager and may even surprise us next season (or go down with 15 points as we once did).
But as soon as I remembered Phillips would be on the bench and likely to play some part, I switched my allegiance for the afternoon from Watford.
Apologies to pals who support the Hornets. I’ve endured the pain of losing at Wembley (two cup finals, FA and Milk, and a playoff final). SKP has been on the beaten side in three playoff finals. And yes, I know Kev once played for you, too, but it’s not the same as being on the pitch now. As I have said elsewhere today, I will always root for a team SKP is playing for, unless the team is Sunderland.
So bravo SuperKev. Maybe we’ll see you back at the Stadium of Light one day as a coach. The strikers we’ve had since could do with a spot of advice.