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Monday 28 April 2014

Phillips announces his retirement

Former Sunderland striker who was top scorer in 1999/00 season to quit at 40

Kevin Phillips scoring one of 30 goals in his debut season in the Barclays Premier League

Kevin Phillips has announced he will retire from professional football at the end of this season.

The 40-year-old forward will play his final match for Leicester City on Saturday, the club's final fixture in the Championship before they are promoted to the Barclays Premier League next season.

Phillips had 20 years in the professional game, joining Watford from non-league club Baldock Town in 1994. Three years later he moved to Sunderland whom he helped earn promotion to the Barclays Premier League in 1998/99.

In his first season in the Barclays Premier League, forming a great striking relationship with Niall Quinn, Phillips was the top scorer, producing 30 goals in the 1999-2000 campaign as Sunderland finished seventh. He was the last English player to win the Barclays Premier League Golden Boot.

As debut seasons go in the Barclays Premier League it was an impressive feat. Phillips' proportion of Sunderland's goals in that season (53%) is the highest by any of the players to score 30+ goals in a single Barclays Premier League season (see table below).

Leading BPL scorers' goals as percentage of team's total

Season

Player

Goals

Team goals

%

1999/00

Kevin Phillips

30

57

52.6%

1995/96

Alan Shearer

31

61

50.8%

1993/94

Alan Shearer

31

68

45.6%

1994/95

Alan Shearer

34

80

42.5%

1993/94

Andrew Cole

34

82

41.5%

2003/04

Thierry Henry

30

73

41.1%

2011/12

Robin van Persie

30

74

40.5%

2007/08

Cristiano Ronaldo

31

80

38.8%

2013/14

Luis Suarez

30

96

31.3%

Phillips' 122 shots in that season was only three fewer than Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke managed together for champions Manchester United. Of those shots 65 were on target, 14 more than any player (Thierry Henry with 51).

In total Phillips scored 61 Barclays Premier League goals for the Black Cats in 139 appearances. After Sunderland were relegated in 2002/03, Phillips went to Southampton, where he spent two seasons, scoring 22 Barclays Premier League goals. He then enjoyed six years in the West Midlands with Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City, before moving to Blackpool.

In January last year he moved to Crystal Palace, where he scored an extra-time penalty in the Championship play-off final in May to send the Eagles back to the Barclays Premier League. He made four substitute appearances for Palace in the Barclays Premier League but was unable to become only the second goalscorer in the competition aged 40.

Having moved to Leicester in January, Phillips made 11 appearances for the club, helping to clinch another promotion.

"After scoring the winner to get Crystal Palace promoted at the end of last season there were a few voices in the back of my head saying, 'Maybe I should retire now'," Phillips said in his column for Sky Sports. "But I decided to continue for another season for the chance to play in the Premier League as a 40-year-old.

"I managed to do that earlier in this campaign – joining an exclusive group of three other players who have played in the Premier League as 40-year-olds – but now the time is right."

Phillips is set to join the coaching staff at Leicester City for their first Barclays Premier League campaign in 10 seasons.

"The manager at Leicester has offered me a position in the coaching staff, with a role with the first team for next season, which I'd like to pursue," he said.

In total Phillips scored 92 Barclays Premier League goals in 263 appearances.

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Key Points

  • Kevin Phillips decides to retire at the end of the season
  • Former Sunderland striker top-scored in the 1999/00 Barclays Premier League season
  • In total he scored 92 goals from 263 appearances in the Barclays Premier League