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Sunderland Legend Announces Retirement

The most golden boots of Sunderland's modern history are to be finally hung up.

Kevin Phillips has announced his intention to retire as a player at the end of the season after a frankly glorious playing career.

The striker - who is currently contracted to Championship champions Leicester City - will bow out of the professional game this weekend at the grand old age of 40, and we couldn't wish him a happier retirement.

Superkev is, quite frankly, the finest footballer generations of Sunderland fans have ever seen play for our club, myself included. How he never made it to a top club I will never know. As he retires, he remains the only Englishman to ever win the European Golden boot for his 30 Premier League goals in 1999/2000.

That's a seasonal tally the likes of Didier Dogba, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Ruud van Nistelrooy were never able to match and one that Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez have only matched once. And Phillips did it with Sunderland - SUNDERLAND. He never got the credit he deserved.

Phillips reflected on his days on Wearside in his retirement announcement, saying:

If I could pick one special moment, it would have to be pulling on an England shirt for the first time.

As a kid, growing up, all I ever wanted to do was play for my country. When I got that opportunity - when I was still a First Division player with Sunderland - it was a dream come true.

The club I'm sure most football fans associate me with is Sunderland. That was where I made my name and I've still got huge affection for that football club.

Whenever I go back there I'm always made to feel very welcome and I have to give them a huge thank you for their support.

The Sunderland fans have been amazing to me when I've gone back to play against them or been at the Stadium of Light working for Sky and I sincerely hope they stay in the Premier League this season.

The six years I had up there were awesome. Obviously it ended in disappointment with relegation but it was an amazing time, a lovely place to live and I met some great people. The North East people in general are very humbling.

There is just one thing left to say, really. Thank you Super Kevin Phillips. It was, without a single shadow of a doubt, an absolute privilege to watch you represent our football club.

*You can see Kevin Phillips in red and white one last time, and with Niall Quinn beside him no less, at Molineux next week for Jody Craddock's testimonial. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

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