Austin 18', 40'
K. Davis 1'
Holmes 21', 33'
Sonnie Davis 90'
Attendance : 19,455
Southampton XI v Promotions XI
St.Mary’s, Tuesday 17th May 2016
> Promotions XI score 4
> All stats meaningless!
> Kelvin's son scores from the penalty spot
> Rickie Lambert beats MLT in a penalty shoot out at half time
Super Kelvin Davis Testimonial Match – Report
‘Who’s was the last testimonial we came to?’ my mum asked me as we stood in the Kingsland waiting for the delayed kick off.
I knew the answer, but I had to check my memory just to be sure. Before I answered my friend said the name that was rattling around my head.
‘Matt Le Tiss.’
And in those three (does Le count as a word?) words I think our group of eight realised the significance of what Kelvin Davis had achieved. Not since, perhaps our greatest ever player walked out of the change rooms for the last time in 2002 has any player earned the right to a testimonial at Southampton. OK, so our circumstances over the past 10 years have probably had a lot to do with that, having dropped to League One and then risen quickly back to the Premier League and now punching above our weight. We’ve found it hard to keep hold of a lot of our top quality players over Kelvin’s 10 years with the club. He’s seen the likes of Lambert, Lallana, Schniderlin, Shaw, Clyne, Lovren, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and let’s not forget that little known Welsh kid called Bale (whatever happened to him) leave for some of the biggest clubs in the world. We’ve also seen a stream of players come and go that did a great job at the level we were at at the time but weren’t going to cut it in the Premier League, the likes of Billy Sharp, Richard Chaplow, Dean Hammond and so on. But keeping hold of Kelvin Davis has been an instrumental part in seeing this club rise from the ashes of administration to fight with England’s superpowers once again. And, it’s not like Kelvin didn’t have chances to move on, but the man stayed loyal and fell in love with this special club – something that was very clear in his emotional speech at the end of the match – more on that later.
Kelvin Davis has always had a reputation as a bit of a character in the dressing room and so a testimonial for the man was something I was very much looking forward to. I remember some great testimonials in my time supporting Saints for the likes of Dodd, Benali and Le Tiss. Always fun occasions, not about the football, but about having fun, showing the character of the men we roar at week in week out. Past memories include Dave Beasant putting the ball up his shirt running it up the pitch into the opposing goal and the ref allowing it to stand and Dean Gaffney from Eastenders scoring a goal at the Dell. I assumed Kelvin’s testimonial would be equally fun filled and it started exactly that way. After Ralph Krueger (Southampton’s Canadian Lizard King) had presented Kelvin with a few snaps in a frame he’d clearly picked up from The Range on the way to the ground the players took to the pitch and before the ref had blown his whistle Kelvin had a dip from the half way line – he scored and the goal stood – 0-1 to the Promotions XI.
This report isn’t about a football match, it’s about an occasion, a celebration of a great club servant and so excuse me if I don’t dissect every missed opportunity and piece of skill, I’m going to talk about what last night meant to so many. See, although the occasion was celebrating 10 years of Super Kelv, it was about so much more, it was about celebrating those men that put Southampton back on the biggest stage in England, the men without whom we wouldn’t be sat here this week, the season over in sixth place in the league. It was great to see so many stalwarts and bit part players of our promotion campaigns turn out again – particularly in that beautiful sash kit that is so synonymous with our rise. It was fitting that Nigel Adkins returned to the dugout to oversee proceedings for the Promotions XI side. The warm reception that this man got from the St Mary’s crowd was one of the high points of the evening and throughout the night Adkins name rang out around the ground. He lapped up the attention and rightly so – a truly good man that is a massive part of where this club is today.
The highlight for many was always going to be the return of Sir Rickie Lambert. Having the opportunity to sing his name again as he strolled around the pitch, peeling off the last defender and knocking down balls for others to score was one of the best moments of my Saints supporting life. The man will live forever in the hearts of those that watched those promotion campaigns and it was great to have a proper chance to say goodbye. Of course the match officials and Steklenburg hadn’t read the script, we all wanted to cheer a Lambert goal and sadly it didn’t come. Weirdly Steklenburg put on his best ever performance in a Saints shirt by actually pulling off some saves, including one from Lambert that may have actually crossed the line. And, then Sharp went down in the penalty box the St Mary’s crowd roared, this was the moment, Lambert would step up and slot away the resulting spot kick. But no, the ref waved Sharp to his feet and played on. The crowd booed and a chorus of ‘We always get shit refs’ rang out.
Other highlights of the first half included a brief cameo from Jason Puncheon, who left after 10 minutes to rest up for Crystal Palace’s cup final. Of course the Saints crowd enjoyed his appearance singing songs about taking a shit. As Puncheon left the pitch he joined in the fun throwing a toilet role into the crowd. The rest of the game was peppered with outbursts of songs from the crowd about Puncheon being on the loo. The Saints XI scored a couple of goals against Kelvin that were roundly booed and Lee Holmes scored two goals for the Promotions XI – one of which was a bit good. If Puncheon’s reaction to the crowd was good Dan Harding’s was even better. As the crowd sang out that ‘…he turned down the skates.’ Harding stopped playing and applauded the crowd.
Half time arrived and so did the moment everyone in the ground was waiting for. Well everyone apart from one of my mates who buggered off to the toilet! He missed the moment when Le God walked back out onto the St Mary’s pitch in full Southampton 2002 kit, alongside Lambert and Davis for a penalty shoot out competition. Thankfully the queues in the bogs were short (obviously!) and he made it back to see the competition itself. MLT stepped up first, the crowd expected and Le Tiss shot wide. Lambert stepped up and showed that he could take penalties for the rest of his life and never miss one. The competition ended as Kelvin Davis became only the second goalkeeper in history to save a Matt Le Tiss penalty… A fitting end.
As the second half got underway both teams had made a number of changes – Kelvin Davis wasn’t on the pitch. The biggest concern for the second half was that Harrison Reed and Paul Wotton were up against each other in midfield – had this been a genuine game legs would have been broken I’m sure! In fact, Paul Wotton tried to do Saints a favour, taking out Sadio Mane on the edge of the box, unfortunately the challenge wasn’t enough to injury Mane until the end of the summer transfer window! The crowd sang out for Lee Barnard ‘…he’s short and he’s feckin’ hard, he’s wanted by Scotland Yard…’ Barnard took that song pinned it to his chest and wore it like a badge of honour as he applauded the crowd. With about 20 minutes to play (I can’t remember exactly when, sod it this was an exhibition match) the St Mary’s crowd stood as one to applaud Super Kelvin Davis back onto the pitch – this time to play for the Southampton XI. At the same time Sir Rickie Lambert made way and his name rang out once more in a chorus of ‘He wants to come home…’ the truth is he probably does and I’d take the big hunk back in a heartbeat! Rickie made way for Sonnie Davis (Kelvin’s son) and from this point on it was all about the duel between father and his (I’m guessing) 12 year-old son.
The crowd wanted Sonnie to be gifted a goal, but there was no way Kelvin was letting that happen. Kelvin pulled off save after save from young Sonnie and you could tell Kelvin’s thoughts were, if you want to score past me son you’re going to have to earn it! And fair enough, because the lad had ability. He sprayed the ball about nicely and took up good positions. Sonnie’s team was awarded a penalty and there was only one man/boy for the occasion. Sonnie stepped up struck it surprisingly hard and the ball spanked the underside of the bar and bounced out, the crowd were disappointed… But Sonnie’s chance came in the final minute, he was bundled over in the box by Cuco Martina (that big bully!) Sonnie stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and lashed it in like he’d been taking lessons from Lambert his whole life – he probably has. That kid has a future!
At the end Super Kelvin Davis gave an emotional speech. A few things were very clear. This man loves this football club. This man is loved by this football club. And, this man needs to play a big part in the future of this football club, what that part is I don’t know, but he’s a uniting force and that needs to be bottled and kept here forever.
Southampton Football Club has been blessed with a number of excellent goalkeepers since I started going in the mid-80’s Shilton, Flowers, Jones, Niemi, Forster, Boruc. Kelvin Davis is not at all out of place on that list, a great of this club who now rightly takes his place alongside the likes of Ted Bates, Mick Channon, Terry Paine and Matt Le Tissier as a club legend. Thanks for the memories Kelvin, it’s been great!
Wednesday, 18th May 2016
Maarten Stekelenburg (Paulo Gazzaniga 46') (Kelvin Davis 77')
Maya Yoshida (Florin Gardos 46')
Virgil van Dijk (Alfie Jones 46')
Ryan Bertrand (Jason McCarthy 46')
Victor Wanyama (Harrison Reed 46')
Oriol Romeu (Jake Hesketh 46')
Steven Davis (Sadio Mané 46')
Dušan Tadić (Juanmi 46')
Charlie Austin (Shane Long 64')
Graziano Pellè (Sam Gallagher 46')
Unused substitute: José Fonte
Kelvin Davis (Bartosz Bialkowski 46')
Danny Butterfield (Frazer Richardson 46')
José Fonte (Aaron Martin 46')
Radhi Jaïdi (Chris Perry 46')
Dan Harding (Francis Benali 84')
Richard Chaplow (Jonathan Forte 46')
Jack Cork (Paul Wotton 46')
Jason Puncheon (Lee Holmes 8')
Rickie Lambert (Sonnie Davis 77')
Billy Sharp (Lee Barnard 46')