Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips is appointed manager of seventh-tier South Shields with ex-England striker ‘licking his lips’ at prospect of his first stint in the dug-out as club push for promotion from Northern Premier League
- Ex-England striker Kevin Phillips handed his first managerial role
- 48-year-old has been appointed boss of seventh-tier club South Shields
- Mariners care currently third in Northern Premier League as they aim to go up
- They fired Graham Fenton over the weekend and appointed Phillips
- Former striker has coaching experience but has never managed a club
Former England striker Kevin Phillips has been appointed manager of seventh-tier club South Shields.
The 48-year-old, who memorably won the Premier League Golden Boot by scoring 30 goals on Sunderland’s return to the top-flight in 1999-2000, was appointed by the Northern Premier League club over the weekend.
Phillips also played for Watford, Southampton, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Leicester in a goal-laden career as well as winning eight caps for his country.
Kevin Phillips has been appointed manager of Northern Premier League club South Shields
The Mariners are currently third in the league table with ambitions to win promotion into the National League North this season.
They fired Graham Fenton on Sunday and announced the recruitment of Phillips – who has previously coached at Leicester, Derby and Stoke but never managed a team – shortly afterwards.
He is due to take a watching brief when South Shields travel to Ashton United on Tuesday before taking training for the first time on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s trip to Warrington Town.
Phillips said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to come on board having been given the opportunity to manage South Shields.
‘This is my first taste of management so I’m eager to get going and I’m very, very excited.
‘I’d like to thank [Chairman] Geoff Thompson for giving me this opportunity. I’m very grateful for it and am looking forward to working with Geoff and everyone connected with the club.
Phillips was a prolific goalscorer for several club, notably Sunderland, in his playing days
‘The club is very ambitious and is an exciting place to be, which is demonstrated by the investment which has been made in the team and the facilities.
‘I’m really looking forward to being part of it and hopefully helping the club move forwards.’
He added: ‘I’ve never been shy in saying I’d love a crack at management when the right opportunity arose, and Geoff completely sold this club to me.
‘The club is in an area I know very well and have a great affection for, and coupled with that it has great ambition and a vision to grow.
‘I’m licking my lips to be part of it.
Phillips won eight caps for England, including a match against Brazil at Wembley in 2000
‘I want to win games and be successful, and I hope myself and the players will enjoy the ride together.
‘It’s about winning football matches and trying to find a style that is exciting to watch, on the front foot and giving players the freedom to go and play.
‘There’s a lot of hard work in front of us but it’s important to have an enjoyable environment in place so that the players come into work, enjoy what they do and get the most out of themselves.’
Thompson said: ‘We are incredibly excited about the prospect of Kevin joining us and leading our first-team.
Phillips will be managing here – the 3,500-capacity Mariners Park in South Shields
‘His pedigree, background and experience in the game are substantial and I’m sure he’s going to make a massive impact on the club.
‘I’m sure everyone connected to the club will join me in welcoming Kevin with open arms, and I very much look forward to working with him over the coming years.’
In total, Phillips scored 282 goals in 660 matches during his career, with 130 of those goals coming at Sunderland.
With South Shields just eight miles by car from Sunderland, no doubt fans of Phillips’ former club will be tempted to come along and support him.