Kevin Campbell: A legend taken too soon

Rest in peace, Kevin Campbell. Gone, but not forgotten.
Kevin Campbell of Arsenal
Kevin Campbell of Arsenal / Getty Images/GettyImages

At times, the world loses a shining star, too suddenly, and their passing is massively felt - even by those who never knew them.

When the news of Kevin Campbell's passing broke on Saturday morning, tributes poured in from around the footballing world and beyond - a showing of just how big the loss of Campbell is.

Those who watched him play will tell you how terrific he was on the pitch, and those who knew him will tell you how he lit up any room he walked into.

His passing has come as a tremendous shock to the world, given its suddenness, and has left a gaping hole in hearts around the globe. Though hours and days may pass, we shall never forget Campbell, who gave so much joy and hope to so many.

An Arsenal legend

Andy Linighan, Kevin Campbell, Paul Davis, Lee Dixon, David Rocastle
Arsenal Division One Champions 1991 / Getty Images/GettyImages

Campbell came through the Arsenal academy and would go on to spend a decade with the Gunners, in what proved to be a glistening career.

The striker played 210 games for Arsenal, scoring 55 goals and contributing 20 assists too in teams which proved very successful at the highest level, while competing with elite players like Ian Wright.

Come the end of his Arsenal career, Campbell had a First Division (now the Premier League) title, FA Cup, Football League Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup to show for his efforts, which is not bad going for any player!

In 1995, Campbell left Arsenal to join Nottingham Forest, for whom he scored 31 goals in 85 appearances before moving on again.

Media personality

Kevin Campbell
Doncaster Rovers v Everton - Carabao Cup Second Round / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Fans who are too young to remember Campbell's playing days may know him better as a media personality, as he has appeared as a guest and pundit across a variety of outlets, including perhaps most notably Sky Sports.

He often received praise for his insights and personality during media appearances and has been spoken about in glowing terms by his former media colleagues, like Mark Pougatch did during ITV's Euro 2024 coverage last weekend.

Fitting tributes paid

If you want proof of just how universally loved Campbell was, in the footballing community and beyond, then you need look no further than the countless tributes that have been made to him in the days following his tragic and untimely passing.

Perhaps among the most fitting was heard on TalkSport, where an Everton fan, for whom Campbell played 160 games, paid a highly emotional tribute to him.

Gone but never forgotten

While words and tributes cannot change history, Campbell lived a life, and was of a character, that means he will forever be remembered.

Whether it be inspiring the younger generation, or creating life-long memories for football fans, Campbell was admired by so many, and his passing is a true tragedy, not least because of his tender age.