Steve Davis (Interview)

 

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Stephen Davis was born on the 30th October 1968 in Hexham; Davis started his career as a trainee with Southampton in August 1986, turning professional in July 1987.

In November 1989 he went on a three-month loan deal to Burnley before returning to The Dell in February 1990.  He then made his Southampton debut in a 4–1 victory over Norwich City on 27th February 1990.

After a short run in the Southampton first team, Davis only made two further appearances before a short loan spell at Notts County.  In August 1991 he returned to Burnley on a permanent basis for a fee of £60,000.

At Burnley he helped the club to the Division Four Championship in 1991-92 and to promotion via the play-offs in 1993-94.  Burnley were relegated the following season and Davis was sold to Luton Town for £750,000 in July 1995.

After over three years with Luton Town, Davis returned to Burnley in December 1998 for a fee of £800,000.  He became club captain and in 1999-00 he helped them back to the First Division.

He remained at Burnley until July 2003, when he moved on to Lancashire rivals Blackpool on a two-year deal.  In June 2004, Davis joined his final club York City on a two-year deal before he retired.

Davis returned to Burnley in a scouting role in October 2005, as manager Steve Cotterill hoped to prepare him for a coaching role at the club. In January 2006, he stepped up to the role of first team coach and reserve team manager.

In November 2007, he was made assistant manager of the club following the departure of Dave Kevan. This role only lasted a few days before Steve Cotterill was dismissed and Davis took over as caretaker manager.

His first job was to take the team to Leicester City for a Football League Championship match. An early Andy Gray goal gave him a 1-0 win in what he described as one of the proudest moments of his career.

Owen Coyle then arrived at the club to become full-time manager and Davis went back to become first team coach as the Clarets won promotion to the Premier League.  In January 2010, Davis became caretaker manager again for a matter of days before joining the backroom staff at Owen Coyle’s new club Bolton Wanderers.

Steve Davis is now back in football and currently working as head scout for Fleetwood Town in Sky Bet league One.

Interview

Who was your biggest influence in football?

My Mam and Dad who always supported me, gave great advice and also allowed me to leave home at 16 and go to Southampton to follow my dream of becoming a footballer. Jack Hixon the famous scout was also a great support and mentor throughout my career until he sadly passed away a few years ago.

What is your best football highlight?

Promotions obviously stick out but probably winning the 4th Div championship in my 1st full season in a 1st team. Getting a Championship winners medal and also getting into the PFA Select team voted for by your fellow professionals topped off a great season for me and also the Club who had waited a long time to get out of the 4th Division

What is your football lowlight?

Successive relegations with Burnley and then Luton.  Also leaving Burnley as a player with my last game at Selhurst Park in front of 1500 v Wimbledon.

League Debut?

League debut for Burnley was as a sub v Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.  Debut for Southampton was v Norwich winning 4-1 with Matt Le Tissier scoring a hat trick

Best Goal You Scored?

Your first is always memorable and mine was v Wigan in the old Rumblelows Cup when I scored from 25 yards. My 1st league goal v Wrexham was special.

But my best was for Luton v Hull in the FA Cup, getting the ball on the half way line, playing a 1-2 with Phil Gray and taking it around the goalkeeper to score. Warren Joyce was manager of Hull City at the time! Thankfully it’s on YouTube so I have a copy!

Toughest Opponent?

Mick Harford was someone who you knew you had been in a game with. He had an aura about him that defenders could sense and feel.  A few partnerships also gave me a tough afternoon, Morrison and Forsell at Palace, Freedman and Blake at Forest were another that stick out

Who is the best manager you have played for and why?

I played under a few good managers who had their own ways and styles but Stan Ternant was the best.  A leader of men who knew when to give the players responsibility and also when it was time to lead, he was unpredictable at times which always kept you on your toes.

Jimmy Mullen enjoyed great success with the Club, getting us to the brink of the Championship play offs, who knows what would have happened if we had got in.

Who was the best player you played with and why?

John Pender. He was a great leader and man and we both formed a good partnership when I first came to Burnley permanently. We complemented each other well and enjoyed 2 promotions together. A skipper who lead by example.

Whilst at Burnley you became caretaker manager twice and you still have a 100% record in that post, what was it like to manager Burnley and is it a position you would be interested in the future?

Again it was a massive day for me at Leicester City topped off with the win, to have played for, scouted for, coached and managed Burnley Football Club albeit for 1 game again was a very proud day.

As far as managing the club in the future, I don’t think that will happen, things have moved on from then my career has taken a different route at the moment at least and don’t envisage being in a management role anytime soon.

Burnley FC has been a big part of your playing career, what was it like to be part of the management team to win at Wembley and get them back into the top flight?

It was a great day for the Club and a proud moment for me also, to play a part in the success. To have helped the Club from the old 4 th Division into the Premier League is something I’m very proud of.

How difficult was the decision to leave Turf Moor and join Owen Coyle at Bolton Wanderers?

It was very difficult and one that wasn’t taken lightly. A few factors were involved but looking back now and with the benefit of hindsight I would have stayed at Burnley

 Owen Coyle is now managing in the MSL, did you have the chance to join him in the States and what do you think of the level of football in the USA?

I didn’t have the chance to join Owen at Houston. The MLS is an emerging League, which is attracting big name players who are nearing the end of their careers.

Having watched a few games on the TV the standard looks comparable to the bottom end Championship/top end League 1 in my opinion. It obviously has a long way to go to reach the heights of the Premier League but is growing all the time

There have been a number of great players to play in Claret & Blue over the years, how does it feel to be described as a Clarets Legend?

It is very humbling to be put in that bracket. The Club has a great history and has produced many great players over the years. I am very proud and privileged to have played a part in the Clubs history both on and off the pitch from the 4th Division to the Premier League.

To stand alongside the many fine players that have graced Turf Moor is a real honour and one I could only have dreamed of when I left home at 16 to go to Southampton to pursue a career in football.

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