Sunderland: Kevin Phillips would star for Mowbray in the modern day
Sunderland have created many cult heroes since the turn of the century, but arguably one of their greatest-ever players was signed just before in 1997.
Having just been relegated to the Championship after a miserable campaign under Peter Reid, he moved to the transfer market to try and bolster his squad in the hopes of making their stay in the second division as short as possible.
Would you take Kevin Phillips back now?
Although it did take a couple of years, in 1999 they absolutely demolished the league on their way back to the Premier League. It was then when this aforementioned signing truly began to shine, as Kevin Phillips became a Black Cats hero.
In their first season back in the Premier League they managed to fly up to a seventh-placed finish, no doubt aided by the goalscoring exploits of the £325k marksman.
He became the first Sunderland player since Brian Clough in the early 1960s to score 30 goals in a season. This campaign saw him become still the only Englishman to ever win the European Golden Shoe .
They would maintain the same position the season following, where he would again notch 14 Premier League goals in another solid campaign. Instantly he was lauded on Wearside as one of the greatest goal-scorer in their modern era, and despite his growing pedigree, stuck around at the Stadium of Light despite their diminishing finishes.
It only took until their relegation in 2003 that he finally left , revealing that he had twice attempted to depart already.
He exited renowned across the area as a “ legend ”, which is what his former club dubbed him on their Twitter account.
Despite having a strong start , Tony Mowbray will be wishing he had a player of his ilk up front for him now, especially given the ever-growing absence of Ellis Simms. They have scored just 19 goals in their 15 Championship matches, but with Phillips up front, he would surely propel that number and their 13th-placed league position too.
He would be perfect for the current side, as he was arguably one of the greatest players the club has ever seen. Supporters would relish the opportunity to see him in action just one more time.