Edgar Davids, Alan Partridge and Me


It’s a shame to see that Edgar Davids won’t be coming to The Racecourse with Barnet (although we know that even if he was still their manager that would be no guarantee of him actually being at a game this far north!)

Obviously, it’s a shame because it would be interesting to see an international legend in his twilight years. It’s also a shame because after his disgraceful attack on Stephen Wright, it would have been fun to see what sort of reception he got, and how he reacted.

Edgar Davids’ handiwork
But I’m also glad that he’s not coming. It might have ended in terrible embarrassment. Would I have been able to resist blurting out during the post-match press conference that I’ve seen more of him than I should have done?

Occasionally post-match interviews create awkward situations for me. I had to fight hard when interviewing Dean Spink not to suddenly announce that I’d named my three-legged cat after him. It wasn’t a tribute, to be honest.

I was fostering the cat until the Cats Protection had enough room to house her, and I knew I was too soft and would probably decide to keep her. To attempt to avoid that happening, I decided to give her the worst name I could imagine, and as I felt a grown man couldn’t possibly live with naming a cat after a footballer I decided to name her after Wrexham’s new signing, who I hadn’t even seen play yet for us. I’m sure you’re well ahead of me by now. I kept the cat and she was saddled with a silly name. I managed to survive Spink’s career without telling the big target man that I’d named a pet after him, and to be honest Spinky the three-legged cat lingers in the memory more than Spinky the footballer does!

Spinky. The cat, not the player
Spinky. The cat, not the player

Other interview-related egginess that comes to mind surrounds a high profile player of ours from a few years back who would give lengthy cliché-strewn answers to any question. I’d often start to lose concentration as he scrolled through the usual comments about the lads doing good but it being a game of two halves at the end of the day, and on more than one occasion became slowly hypnotised as I gazed at his impressively big nose, only realising at the last moment that he’d stopped talking and was wondering if I’d ask him anything else!

I also had a little post-match issue at Salisbury with Jefferson Louis. According to the stats the big man had scored two goals in a 4-1 win: in reality he was nowhere near getting a touch on the second but wheeled away convincingly in celebration and managed to pull off the confidence trick! I seemed to be one of the few who’d noticed this, and unwisely opted to start my first ever conversation with him by joking about how he hadn’t scored two goals at all. He was a big bloke, a fact which was brought clearly home to me as he suddenly loomed over me, growling angrily and asking me what I meant. On second thoughts, maybe he did score two!

But all this is nothing compared to the outburst I feared when I finally bumped into Davids again. Our paths have crossed once before, you see. I got a ticket to see Holland play Switzerland at Euro 96, and on entering Villa Park found I was seated in the first row. Before the game the Dutch team were warming up and a youthful Davids decided to use the advertising hoarding right in front of me to do some stretches. He put his foot on the top of it and then, how can I put this? He, er, popped out of his shorts.

Whether, in the style of Alan Partridge, his underpant lining had perished, I don’t know. What I do know is that brief moment is still with me eighteen years later. I don’t know if it’s because I need to seek some closure and move on with my life, or feel compelled to say something to avoid one day having to point out what I saw on a psychologist’s doll, but I fear I might not be able to control myself if Davids re-entered my life.

Edgar Davids makes an impassioned complaint about the quality of sports underpant manufacturing standards.
Edgar Davids makes an impassioned complaint about the quality of sports underpant manufacturing standards.

Of course, there’s no guarantee he’d have turned up to talk to the press afterwards. The always welcoming press at Alfreton told me on New Year’s Day that the Dutchman had been a charm personified before the game, promising to fulfill all sorts of post-match duties. A couple of hours in Derbyshire later he decided he’d just hop straight into his car and go home.

But what if he did turn up? Once he walked into the press conference, I might not be able to resist shouting “Edgar, I’ve seen your………….”

On balance I’m glad he won’t be at The Racecourse today.


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