So, as we finalize our team of One Good and One Bad (4-4-2 formation). Michael Conroy chose two forwards. Just confirm this is not a best and worst, it’s more of a one I liked, one who pissed me off!
The tale goes that our scouts went down to Watford to watch David Connolly who was rapidly turning into a very bright prospect. Glenn Roeder was reluctant to sell Connolly and pointed our scouts in the direction of a player they had signed from Baldock Town. £325,000 later Kevin Phillips was on his way to Wearside. I feel privileged to have been a Sunderland fan during the time that Kevin Phillips played for us because I have never seen a striker as potent from all around the box. His trademark was that curling shot from the left of the box that looped into the right hand corner at pace, but he was dangerous from anywhere. For a diminutive lad he was also great with his head. You would marvel at the fact that he somehow managed to defy gravity as he hung in the air waiting for the cross coming in. Everyone knows the statistic about him being the only Englishman to win the European Golden Boot. The generation before me will point at his record goalscoring season for us and mutter that Clough's previous record was set before Boxing Day. The fact is I never saw Clough play, but I saw Superkev. During his spell with us in the Premier League I also witnessed Sunderland finish 7th in the top flight. Not only did they finish 7th but it was great fun to watch. We were banging goals in for fun despite Rodney Marsh saying before the season started that Phillips would struggle to get more than five or six at that level. Phillips travelled around a lot after he left us; especially spending time in the Midlands, but you always felt that he was still ours and that he still felt it too. Recent months and several appearances in the Stadium of Light have demonstrated without doubt that our love for him still burns bright and the feeling is reciprocated. Even without all of this, that goal against the Mags at Sid James Park would probably be worthy of getting him on the good teamsheet anyway. 113 goals in 208 appearances are phenomenal stats for us and the records he broke en route to those goals satisfy any statistical arguments for his inclusion the memories he gave us satisfy the emotional arguments. He put the ball in the Geordies' net.
I disliked Brett Angell even before he signed for us and his time at Sunderland was so anonymous that we couldn't even find a decent pic of him in red and white. My dislike was anchored in bitterness though. He always scored against us, whoever he was playing for. He was like the lower league Frank Lampard in terms of scoring against us. When we signed him for £750,000 in 1995 (a princely sum for a second-tier striker in those days) my dislike turned to optimism. If he could score that regularly against us, then we were sure to be signing something of a star player. Prior to Sunderland his goalscoring record was excellent averaging a goal every other game just about. His record brought the admiring eyes of Everton where he managed 1 goal in 18, roll up Sunderland. Within days of Angell signing the man who signed him, Mick Buxton was sacked. Peter Reid came in and never really took to Angell. His form and confidence were shattered and when he went out on loan to Sheffield Utd and West Brom it served only to highlight the fact that we had perhaps signed a player that had reached and was past his peak. We eventually sold him to Stockport for a paltry £120,000 where he managed to help them to promotion and a League Cup semi-final. He ended his second stint at Stockport with 42 goals from 108 games; including one against… yep you guessed it. Ten league appearances without a single goal for us. He did score one in the League Cup but to be honest I can't even remember anything about that. I've always said that Sunderland ruin players, in this case we just temporarily stalled him in between spells when he didn't play for us.
THE FINAL TEAM
D BENT/I WALLACE; K PHILLIPS/B ANGELL
Stay Safe, Haway the Lads