Kevin Campbell | 1970-2024

Kevin Campbell

Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is devastated to hear of the death of our much-loved former player Kevin Campbell, at the age of 54.

A boyhood Arsenal supporter, Kevin joined our youth setup in 1985 aged 15 and soon set about demonstrating his incredible eye for goal, becoming the most prolific young striker in the country. 

He won the FA Youth Cup in 1988, scoring 61 goals that season from 53 appearances at youth and reserve level. His first-team debut followed soon afterwards, at the age of 18 – ironically against Everton, who he would also represent with great distinction later in his career. 

After successful loan spells with Leyton Orient and Leicester City, his big breakthrough at Arsenal came in the 1990/91 season. Playing up front with Alan Smith and Paul Merson, he fired eight goals in a 10-match streak late in the season to help clinch the league title, when he was still just 21. By now an England under-21 international, he had played a big part in our title-winning side that lost just one league game all season. 

Kevin Campbell and Paul Davis celebrate winning the league in 1991

He linked up with new signing Ian Wright in the following campaign, reaching double figures for goals again, and in 1992/93 he added two more trophies to his honours list, winning the FA Cup and League Cup double – the first time it had been achieved in English football. 

Kevin’s most prolific season for us was 1993/94, when the powerful, pacey forward netted 19 times, including the winner in the European Cup Winner’s Cup semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. He played the full 90 minutes in the final against Parma, as we tasted European glory on an unforgettable night in Copenhagen. 

After one more season at the club, Kevin’s Arsenal career ended in 1995, when he moved to Nottingham Forest. In all he played 228 times for our first team, scoring 59 goals. That places him joint-40th in our all-time scoring list, level with one of his predecessors in the No. 7 shirt, Liam Brady and one ahead of the current incumbent, and fellow youth team product, Bukayo Saka. 

Kevin Campbell with the League Cup and FA Cup in 1993

After three seasons with Forest – where he won the Division One title in 1998 – Kevin had a brief spell with Turkish side Trabzonspor, before signing for Everton. Kevin played more than 150 times for the Merseyside club, becoming a firm fans’ favourite there too, not least for his goalscoring run at the end of 1998/99 that helped his team avoid relegation. He was named Premier League Player of the Month for April of that season. 

He concluded his playing days with spells at West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City, and later enjoyed a successful career in the media, a role that would often bring him back to Arsenal, where he was always warmly received by his former colleagues. 

He remained a dear and cherished friend to many at the club, always maintaining the close links that began in his very early days at Highbury.

Kevin’s son, Tyrese, is continuing the family legacy in English football, the forward most recently playing for Stoke City in the Championship last season. Our thoughts are with Kevin’s whole family, at this incredibly difficult time. 

Watch Kevin reflecting on his Arsenal story in this interview from the 2019/20 season:

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