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The Friday Interview

Posted on 17 November 2000  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

<P class=MsoNormal>Liverpool is a consistent theme running through Simon Davies&rsquo&#59; short career at Tottenham. <P class=MsoNormal>Gerard Houllier&rsquo&#59;s team were the visitors when he and Matthew Etherington were first shown around White Hart Lane last January and two months later the Peterborough pair both made their debuts at Anfield. <P class=MsoNormal>Now Davies is hoping for another milestone against the Reds &mdash&#59; his first live television appearance at the Lane when Liverpool arrive for what is always a cracking encounter in the Premiership on Sunday. <P class=MsoNormal>The 20-year-old has made steady if unspectacular progress since that Anfield bow in April and with his one-year anniversary at the club fast approaching, the Welsh international took time to talk to Paul Miles about his career so far. <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>The obvious link to start this interview is the fact that you made your debut against Liverpool, who we play on Sunday. What can you remember about that game?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;It was unbelievable. Anfield is one of the greatest grounds in the league, great tradition and history and to come on in front of a full house was a great start to my Tottenham career.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>I remember talking to you after the game and asking how you felt when you were given the signal to go on. What was that feeling like?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;Myself and Matthew Etherington were warming-up on the touchline and the manager waved us over and said he was putting us on. We just looked at each other and said &lsquo&#59;this is it&rsquo&#59;. When you go on you forget about it all and it becomes just another game. You forget about the crowd and get on with it.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>That was the sort of debut you dream about as a kid growing up. What were your early days like back in Haverfordwest and how did you progress?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;I played for a local team and at about the age of 11 I got picked up by Norwich City with Kit Carson. A few lads from the team went to Norwich and had a few trips abroad and when Kit left Norwich to go to Peterborough he took about 25 lads with him. I was one who went over with him and signed associate schoolboys forms from there.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>Where did Kit Carson initially spot you?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;In fact there was a local scout working for Norwich who lived in my area. Before me my brother went to Norwich. I went there as well, met Kit, he liked me and it went from there. Kit was great for me and at that stage I was a long way away from the level of football I&rsquo&#59;m at now so he was of great benefit for me.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>How did the link up with Norwich work? It&rsquo&#59;s a long way from Haverfordwest.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;I only used to go there during the school holidays because it was so far away. I just used to stay at home and play football. When I went to Peterborough it changed and I was there most weekends, playing Sundays.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <IMG align=left src="../title_images/davies2.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal><B>When did you join Peterborough?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;I signed associate schoolboy forms when I was 14, YTS forms at 16 and professional forms after a year of my YTS. During my second year I played a few times in the first team and in my third year I started playing regularly.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What was it like as a 16-year-old moving to Peterborough on your own?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;It wasn&rsquo&#59;t too bad because I moved into a house with five other lads and they were probably my five best mates there. We&rsquo&#59;d been together beforehand. I was quite happy to move there to stop all the travelling. That was killing me &mdash&#59; eight hours there and back on Sunday. I was happy just to get settled down.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>It must have been difficult moving away from your parents in the first place though.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;It is hard but as I said, I was with five other lads, all good friends and we got ourselves through it.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>Those days at Peterborough were very successful for you.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;Barry Fry offered me professional terms after only a year. I&rsquo&#59;d been doing alright and when David Billington moved to Sheffield Wednesday Baz came to me and said &lsquo&#59;here is a three-year contract&rsquo&#59;. I was dead chuffed with that because it is always a worry whether or not you are going to make it so I had a bit of security. The confidence came from there really. The next season I had a few games and we had a good run in the FA Youth Cup. Then I was given another contract. He made it clear that he liked me. The season after that I played regularly.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What can you remember about your league debut?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;It was away to Hull City. The first half was a really bad performance and Baz just chucked me on at half-time. There were only two or three thousand people there but I was dead nervous.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>That sounds like typical Barry Fry. Everyone knows of his reputation but what was he like in reality?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;He was a great motivator. I wanted to play for him and most of the other lads wanted to play for him. Basically if you did the business on the pitch he would look after you. He was a great man manager. He had Paul Ashworth there doing all the other stuff and Baz would be the first to hold his hands up and say he was no good at that but he was great at everything else.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>Did you every get on the wrong side of him? Any teacups thrown in your direction?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;Not really. I was fortunate. Perhaps apart from mine and Matthew&rsquo&#59;s last game for Posh. We knew we were coming down to Tottenham and our last game was on Boxing Day. We both had a stinker and he pulled us both off at half-time. He said &lsquo&#59;okay boys, you&rsquo&#59;ve had a bad couple of days, just come off&rsquo&#59;. It was bad way to end our careers at Peterborough and we&rsquo&#59;d both admit that. I think we lost 5-0.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <IMG align=right src="../title_images/davies3.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What about the link up with Spurs? When you were doing all those miles from Haverfordwest as a youngster is this what you dreamt about?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;We&rsquo&#59;d heard a few things through the newspapers but this time Baz called us both in and said Tottenham had put in a bid for us and did we want to go. We&rsquo&#59;d always said before that the time wasn&rsquo&#59;t right but things weren&rsquo&#59;t going well at the club, we were both getting a bit frustrated so this time we said yes. It was the right time to move on.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>Can you remember when you first came down here?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;Baz rang me up on December 28<SUP>th</SUP> and said myself and Matthew had to go down to Spurs for the Liverpool game in January. We met David Pleat and signed virtually there and then.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What were you first impressions?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;I went down to the changing rooms and onto the pitch and I couldn&rsquo&#59;t believe the size of the place. Everything about it was a different level. I was overawed by it. We went to Spurs Lodge the next day and got showed around. We would have been stupid to turn the opportunity down.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>You are now in a position so many youngsters dream of &mdash&#59; a young man in the Premiership at one of the biggest clubs in the world. What is it like in reality?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;You don&rsquo&#59;t really think about it like that because you are trying so hard to make it. If you look at the facts then I&rsquo&#59;m here, I&rsquo&#59;ve played a few games in the first team but I don&rsquo&#59;t think about it like that. You have to move on. It&rsquo&#59;s so hard to break in. I don&rsquo&#59;t really think about it, I just try to work and hopefully the benefits will come later.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <IMG align=left src="../title_images/davies4.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal><B>You have been here almost a year now. How has it changed you professionally and privately? Do you consider yourself a better player?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;It&rsquo&#59;s difficult to say. I&rsquo&#59;d have to go back to that level to find out. I&rsquo&#59;ve learned a great deal here, you do every day but you don&rsquo&#59;t know you&rsquo&#59;re learning. As a person I&rsquo&#59;ve probably come out of myself a little more. At Peterborough I knew everyone, it&rsquo&#59;s such a small, family club but here you don&rsquo&#59;t know all of the people when you are walking around. It&rsquo&#59;s different like that but I couldn&rsquo&#59;t really say if I&rsquo&#59;ve changed.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What about things like the money, that side of things?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;I&rsquo&#59;ve got my own house now but I haven&rsquo&#59;t changed really.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>The old clich&eacute&#59; is the young footballer with all the money, out on the town, living it up.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;But you would have to really be on your game to do that. I don&rsquo&#59;t think you could sustain that lifestyle even you wanted to. You&rsquo&#59;d get caught out straight away.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>It seems to have gone full circle for you. You first came to the Lane to watch Liverpool, made your debut against Liverpool and now Liverpool are here on Sunday. No doubt you&rsquo&#59;ll be hoping to feature in that.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;I&rsquo&#59;d love to. I missed the last game because of the flu and missed the Wales get together as well. I want to get back in now. We had a good win with the ressies on Tuesday and hopefully that will stand me in good stead for a place in the squad or even on the bench.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>I think it&rsquo&#59;s fair to say out of all the young lads &mdash&#59; and there are a few of you now with the likes of Matthew, Anthony Gardner, Gary Doherty, Ledley King &mdash&#59; that you&rsquo&#59;ve made the most progress.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;Matthew has done well as well but I think the manager has said publicly that the youngsters aren&rsquo&#59;t really ready yet and he&rsquo&#59;s putting us in to get a taste and then pulling us out again. That&rsquo&#59;s how I think he&rsquo&#59;s playing it.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>Are you happy with that or do you want more?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SD: &ldquo&#59;Of course I want more but it&rsquo&#59;s tough. I had a bit of a nightmare against Birmingham when I got taken off at half-time. That knocked my confidence a bit, he knows that and I think that&rsquo&#59;s why he left me out last week. Hopefully I can get back in that situation where he&rsquo&#59;ll put me back in again.&rdquo&#59;<P class=MsoNormal>To listen to Simon's interview in full, <A href="">click here</A><P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<P class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp&#59;</SPAN>