In summer 2003, Kevin Davies joined the Bolton Wanderers after being released by Southhampton. In his first season with the Wanderers, Davies found his form, scoring ten times and starting in every single match to earn Bolton's Player of the Year Award.
And so the saga of Davies and the Wanderers began.
During a match against West Ham United at the Reebok in 2008, Davies scored his 100th career goal despite a dislocated finger and returned to the team a month later to help Bolton retain the status as a Premier League club. Since then, Davies has stuck to Bolton like glue, even being named the captain in early 2009. The story of SKD and Bolton has been an epic one; one of a captain sticking with his team despite various offers because of a dream to end his career in the town he loves so much. Of course, there's been moments when we may have groaned he was playing, but there were countless of storybook moments that only our very own superman could have orchestrated.
No one is shocked then, at the fan response to the club's late March announcement that Davies would not be offered a new contract. After ten years with the club, it's a shame to see Davies go the way he's being forced to go. Davies has a history of averaging 2 years per club before he joined Bolton a decade ago; but his prolonged stay with the Wanderers has won him a place in the heart of many, including my own.
Kevin Davies has always been a bit of a hero to me. Year in and year out, despite the results we did or didn't get and the players that came and went, he was always there to work his hardest for the fans and for the club. In a world where sports has primarily become a money game, Davies seemed to be one of those rare athletes that played the game for the sole purpose of the rush he got from being on the pitch. I've never met the man in person, but sending a game worn jersey to a fan who is literally an ocean away makes the man a class act in my opinion (yes, I'm biased since it was me to get the jersey, but never mind that). From what I've read and witnessed, that wasn't just a one time deal; Davies has made Bolton his home, worked to give the town more than just a clean sheet here and a win there, and he's been welcomed with open arms because of it.
Sure, his skill and talent could be replaced-easily even-but the thing that concerns me is, will we ever be able to replace his heart? In case any of you slept through biology class (can't be blamed if you did, really), the heart is the pivotal structure of any organism, beating regularly and dependable so that the other parts can do their job. Without the heart, what's left but useless pieces that go to waste? Kevin Davies is very much the heart of this squad and I worry that his downfall-all thanks to the club, in my honest opinion-is effecting the players mentally. Someone, anyone, needs to step up respectfully, and replace Davo after his departure. A team with no heart is one that no fan, myself especially, wants to stand behind.
To know that the last time I saw Davies play, I was unaware it would be the last time absolutely breaks my heart. Instead of being given this hero's send-off, we've watched him sit on the bench and be stripped of everything he worked for. Promotion or not, I understand Dougie Freedman is doing the best for this team, but sometimes there's more important things than winning. I'd take a hundred years more of the Championship for the chance to see Davies play in the Reebok one last time, but the season is quickly coming to an end and the future seems bleak. So until then, leave Davies as captain, treat him kindly, thank him for everything he's done and pray that down the line, be it a week, a month or a year, someone will want to wear that Bolton logo on their shirt with as much pride as the fans do every week, and with the respect and happiness that Davies did this last decade.
Thanks for everything, Captain.