Firstly, allow me to preface this by admitting that Davis isn’t our best player. He’s not the most skilful, the fastest, or the most tactically minded. His passes aren’t precision perfect and his shots have been known to sail closer to the Tilton bar than the crossbar.
That being said; what do I see when I look at David Davis? Well, to quote Cool Runnings; “I see pride. I see power. I see a bad ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody!”. Double negative aside, this sums up Davis’ game at the moment and was a contributing factor to his Player of the Season award last year.
It’s too early in the season to write Blues off already. I know there are murmurs of doom in the stands and online, many of them coming from myself, but we are still far, far from League One. Maybe not in points, but certainly in terms of fight and belief. It’s not going to be an easy climb up from the bottom half of the table and ‘Arry’s claims that “given time (Blues) would have been challenging for promotion” are sure to be the punchlines of Villa fans’ jokes if it’s all gone pear-shaped by 6th May. However, we’re Blues, we fight and we Keep Right On.
And make no mistake, this IS a fight.
When looking around the home dressing room at St Andrews, which of the current crop of players would you like to see leading the charge into battle?
Stockdale? Perhaps, now he’s back to full fitness, but does he command the box as much as Kusczack?
Morrison? He was pretty solid alongside Shotton, but since selling Shotts to Boro (arguably the worst bit of transfer business we’ve conducted in recent years) Morrison has looked a bit shaky and retreated into himself somewhat.
Dutch Mike? Definitely a contender.
For me though, Cotterill’s found his front line general in David Davis, and he has my full support. Davis is Blues through and through, you only have to look at his reaction to scoring against the Villa to see that. He celebrates every win with full vigour and looks genuinely distraught after every loss. Skills can be taught and tactics can be learnt but fire and passion are something you must be born with; Davis has a belly full of both. When things aren’t going our way on the pitch, I want someone to be barking out instructions and trying to raise the game of all around him whilst leading from the front. In this respect Davis is out performing Morrison greatly.
Talking of performances, Davis Davis tends to be getting a bit of a bad wrap recently. Personally I think the new armband weighs a bit heavy on him at the moment and he is almost guilty of trying too hard and trying to force the game to go our way. As a fan of the Moneyball theory however, I think it’s important we look at the stats. Many supporters fall victim to ball watching and don’t notice all of the off-ball work Davis does. Next time the opposition have the ball, take 2 seconds to look for the guy with number 26 on his back. He’ll be the one running around like a madman trying to chase down the ball before launching himself into a challenge that, whilst perfectly legal, probably won’t tickle! If you tackle David Davis, you’d better be prepared to run fast and run far, because you will be hunted down.
Anyway, back to the stats. Currently we need to stop leaking goals. This means defending as a unit with the midfield backing up the defence. There was no better example of this than the Cardiff game. It was beautiful to watch from a purest point of view, a proper traditional, British defensive performance. Davis was all over the park and I had numerous post game conversations with Welshmen about what a terrier he was.
On the whole, Davis is out performing the majority of his counterparts at other clubs. The average Championship midfielder has just 15 tackles this season. Davis has dispossessed 40 players. The average Championship midfielder has just 9 interceptions. Davis has 23.The average Championship midfielder has a mere 10 clearances. Davis, 24.
The lists go on. Hopefully you’ll agree that these are front line leading figures. Couple this with his pure grit and determination and I for one think we have found more than just a temporary leader.
Any time you may find yourselves doubting his abilities, take a moment to check out where he is on the pitch and what he’s doing off the ball. Any time you may doubt his commitment, check out his goal celebration during the Villa game last season. As fans we deserve someone that shows the same passion that we do week in, week out. More than this, we NEED someone with that fire right now.
The fight is on, and General David Lowell Davis from Smethick is leading the charge!
By Mark Watson