New South Shields manager Kevin Phillips will be looking to use pop-group Little Mix as a source of inspiration during his first role in management.
By Amos Murphy
Little Mix amongst inspirations for Phillips in new look South Shields side
Returning to the North East to take up his first role in management, the new South Shields boss Kevin Phillips has arrived at the Northern Premier League club keen to shake things up.
Speaking exclusively to Non League Daily, the recently-appointed Phillips admitted he will look to take inspiration from British girl group Little Mix during his time as South Shields manager:
“Yeah I don’t mind Little Mix, I’m a fan of all pop music and anyone with a link to South Shields is more than welcome at the club anytime”.
Phillips references the connection between the club and honorary president Jade Thirlwall, who is one of over 750 unique South Shields shareholders.
Today marks exactly a year since Jade Thirlwall became our honorary president!
It's an honour to have Jade involved. She's so proud to be from South Shields and her interest in club matters has been hugely welcome.
We can't wait to see what the next months bring 👀🙌 pic.twitter.com/v0wBO19kEq
— South Shields FC (@SouthShieldsFC) August 12, 2021
When asked whether or not he was aware of the link before joining, Phillips was open and honest about his Little Mix knowledge:
“I’ll be honest I only found out when looking through Wikipedia”, continues Phillips through a rye smile, “It turns out South Shields has quite a few famous people.
“I’ve just got off the phone with Phil Brown, who is also from the town, and he wished me the best of luck”.
Phillips gives shoutout to his ex (managers)
With over 570 career appearances to his name, Phillips arrives at South Shields with plenty of experience, and after finally making the jump from player to manager, the 48-year-old was quick to offer a shoutout to his ex-managers:
“I played under some top-class managers, international managers, and it’s been an eye-opener even on my first day at the club.
“I can now see why managers lose sleep. As a player you only have to think about yourself, but as a manager, you have 20 or so players to constantly think about”.
Having been coached by the likes of Peter Reid, Ian Holloway and Alex McLeish during his playing career, Phillips believes it would be “silly” of him not to call upon their experience:
“There are plenty of managerial inspirations I’ve worked under, not just as a player but as a coach too, so I’ll definitely be ringing some of those guys up and getting some advice”.
Return to the North East too good to turn down
Representing nine different professional clubs during his 20-year stint as a player, Phillips has experienced almost everything in football.
However, it is with Sunderland where the dominative striker enjoyed some of his best years, and Phillips is relishing the opportunity to return to the North East:
“Geoff (Thompson) the chairman gave me a call, explaining his vision for the club and why he wanted me to be involved.
“What he’s done during his time since taking over, how they’ve progressed so far is actually quite impressive, the investment he’s made in the ground and the players in terms of making them full time, which is rare at this level”.
Tasked with taking South Shields into the National League North, and potentially the Football League after that, Phillips understands the pressures associated with the role, but he just couldn’t resist a return to the North East:
“Driving back up to the North East with my car packed full was a pretty emotional experience.
“A big thing for me was the area, as it’s somewhere I know well and feel comfortable in”.
Phillips keen to replicate style as a player into managerial philosophy
Renowned for his goalscoring attributes during his playing days, Phillips wasted no time in breaking down how he expects his teams to play:
“If you create an environment at a football club where the players feel excited about coming into training each day, that gives you an edge over the opposition already.
“We will be a pressing team when it’s right, I want to win the ball back as soon as we lose it… defensively like any manager would, I want to be organised be structured out of possession”.
It won’t be easy for Phillips, not least because his new side currently trails leaders Matlock Town by six points in the Northern Premier League, despite boasting two games in hand over the Derbyshire club.
But, with a former England international at the helm, it would be no surprise to see Philips enjoy yet more unbridled success in the North East.