Kevin Phillips has admitted today that of the clubs he was seriously linked with this summer, he’d have preferred to go to Middlesbrough.
Rangers and Boro were linked with Phillips on-and-off throughout the closed season, and Southampton moving for him was something of a surprise.
Kev made it clear at the end of last season that he felt he needed to leave SAFC for a “fresh challenge” and said today “Being honest, I would have gone (to Boro) because my house that I bought in the north-east was nearer to Middlesbrough’s training ground than it was Sunderland’s.
“That would have been ideal but obviously it wasn’t to be.”
Phillips had always said that he’d have preferred to stay close to the north east, saying at the end of last season that “In an idea world I’d like to stay in the north east…but obviously it isn’t an ideal world.”
And he revealed one of the catalysts of his eventual decision to leave Sunderland: “In the pre-season after the second season we finished seventh, we never really went out and spent the money and bought the big names that I was promised and the supporters were promised. That was the time to go and get the big-hitters because I’m sure they would have come to the Stadium of Light.
“I felt then that maybe is was time to get out. I could just sense it then.”
“The first four years were fantastic. The last two years weren’t so memorable, but they were still enjoyable.”