Kevin Phillips touched by Sunderland University honour

Kevin Phillips returns to the Stadium of Light to receive an honorary degree from The University of Sunderland.

Kevin Phillips returns to the Stadium of Light to receive an honorary degree from The University of Sunderland.

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SUNDERLAND Football Club legend Kevin Phillips, forever remembered by all Sunderland fans as ‘Super Kev’, gained a very different sort of cap today, when he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Sunderland.

Phillips received his award at his old club at the Stadium of Light, where the University holds its biannual awards ceremonies, in recognition of his outstanding 20-year career as a footballer, as well as his standing as a role model for young people.

The former Black Cats striker was joined by around 1,000 students who also received awards at the Stadium.

He said: “It’s a real honour to be given this award from the University of Sunderland, it’s so pleasing to be receiving it alongside so many graduates who have worked really hard to get where they are today; I think we can expect great things from them in the future.

“It’s really good to be back at the Stadium, a place where I had my best time as a professional footballer.”

Kevin Phillips is the only British footballer to win the European Golden Boot. In the 1999-2000 he was named the Premier League’s Player of the Season. He has been one of the outstanding players of his generation.

While playing at Sunderland Kevin became the first player since Brian Clough to score 30 goals in a season. He played in 235 matches for Sunderland between 1997-2003, and scored 130 goals - an average of better than a goal every two games.

Beginning his goal-scoring career in 1991 for Baldock Town Kevin Phillips has played for Watford, Southampton, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Leicester City. He has made eight appearances for England.

Most recently, Kevin helped Leicester City achieve promotion back to the Premier League. He played his last professional match for the club on May 3, 2014, and is currently the First Team Coach at Leicester City.

University Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson said: “It was a great honour to welcome Kevin back to Sunderland to award him an Honorary Fellowship. He is held in such high esteem by everyone associated with Sunderland Football Club.

“He is such a great example to our graduates of someone who believed in his own ability and was determined to achieve his goal in life, despite the challenges before him.”

A total of 973 students will have graduated during five ceremonies at the Stadium this week.