Huge mural of Super Kev unveiled on Sunderland pub wall
Black Cat hero Super Kev has been immortalised on a Sunderland pub wall in the latest Frank Styles mural.
From local stories depicted on gable ends in Hendon and animals in Barnes subway to shipyard workers in Hylton Riverside and miners in Southwick, Frank Styles’ distinctive street art can be seen across Sunderland.
Many former SAFC stars have also been turned into public art works by the artist, including Raich Carter at The Blue House in Hendon, Bobby Gurney at The Golden Fleece in Silksworth and Jimmy Montgomery at The Times Inn in Southwick.
Now, a mural in honour of Super Kev has joined the Monty piece at The Times Inn, in the shadow of the Queen Alexandra Bridge. It follows a Crowd Funder which helped pay for most of the piece which honours one of Sunderland’s top goal scorers.
The finished mural depicts the striker holding the league winners’ medal from 1999 and was taken from a photograph from the time.
Steve Lawson, landlord at The Times Inn, who commissioned the artwork said: “I’m over the moon with the finished result. It’s even more impressive in person than it is in photos.
"There’s been some debate about the image that was used as the most iconic photo of Kevin is the one where he’s holding the golden boot, but that photo is actually of him holding the league golden boot and if we were going to use a golden boot image I wanted it to be the European one. We struggled to get a nice clear one, but the winners’ medal one was a clear image for Frank to work from and it follows the winning theme of the Monty piece.
"Overall though the reaction has been really positive.”
Steve has been in regular contact with Kevin as the artwork has taken shape and there’s plans for the Black Cat hero to visit the site when tiers are eased.
Like all pubs who don’t serve food, The Times Inn remains closed in Tier 3, but Steve says the mural has still been attracting attention.
"It’s never stopped with people pulling up outside,” said Steve, a lifelong SAFC fan. “I think the artworks have really helped put the pub back on the map, I just can’t wait until we have a Sunderland home game here.”
While at Sunderland, Super Kev was the Premier League's top scorer in the 1999-2000 season with 30 goals. That won him the European Golden Shoe and he's still the only Englishman to have won that award. During his time at SAFC, Kevin, who was also capped eight times by England, scored 113 goals for Sunderland making him the club's leading post-war goalscorer.
He was chosen in a poll for the new mural, with Marco Gabbiadini coming second and Kevin Ball third.
Ten percent of the money donated for the Crowd Funder has been given to the city’s lifeline Veterans in Crisis CIC to help pay for a removal van, which can provide employment for veterans who’ve struggled to adapt to civilian life.