Edgar Davids (Player/Manager 2012-2014)
After a 21-year-old Edgar Davids broke onto the international scene for the Netherlands in 1994 against the Republic of Ireland, the midfielder would go on to represent his country for almost a decade.
Davids can look back on 74 caps, six goals and even a short spell as Netherlands captain in an international career full of highs and lows.
Guus Hiddink was the man who gifted Davids with his World Cup debut back in 1998. The 45-year-old was an unused substitute in the Netherlands’ opening group game against Belgium but he got his first taste of World Cup football a week later in a 5-0 thumping over the Korea Republic.
Hiddink’s side qualified for the Round of 16 and that’s when Davids stole the Dutch headlines. The former Bee netted a last minute winner against Yugoslavia to set up a quarter-final tie with Argentina.
It was an impressive debut World Cup to say the least for Davids and it was topped off in some style after being named in the official FIFA “Team of the Tournament”. He was part of a Netherlands team that finished the competition in fourth after a third place play-off defeat to Croatia.
Unfortunately for Davids, the 1998 campaign not only proved to be his first World Cup but also his last. Netherlands failed to qualify for the tournament four years later after finishing third in their qualifying ground, losing out to Portugal and Ireland. He also featured in the qualifying rounds ahead of the 2006 World Cup however; he missed out on the big Dutch call-up ahead of the trip to Germany.
Davids became his nation’s captain after Euro 2004, receiving the armband off Marco van Basten. However, the role was short-term after a lack of regular football at Inter Milan meant he became out-of-favour with the Netherlands and to rub salt into the wounds, lost the captaincy. He briefly returned in 2005 ahead of the 2006 World Cup but after becoming surplus to requirements again, he called it a day.
All of that, of course, happened before his eventful two-year player-manager role at Barnet.
It was definitely a move that shocked the footballing world having represented some of Europe’s top names. However, living in North London, the midfielder was keen to join his local side.
Davids arrived at Underhill in October 2012, joining the Bees, who sat bottom of the Football League pyramid at the time, as a joint player-manager alongside Mark Robson. It was a rocky start to say the least for Davids as he sat at the helm of a Barnet team who suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle. However, the tables turned six days later when a 4-0 win over Northampton sparked a four-game unbeaten run in the league. Their comfortable home victory over the Cobblers marked Davids’ debut as a player, captaining the side and of course, claiming the Man of the Match award.
Robson left Barnet in December 2012 which made way for the former Juventus and Ajax man to take full charge of the club.
The Surinmane-born midfielder went on to feature 36 times in the league for the Bees, finding the net once, bagging his first and only goal in a 2-0 win over Southend in 2013.
The final day of the 2012-13 saw Davids and his Bees side relegated out of the Football League after a defeat to Northampton.
Off the field decisions ahead of the 2013-14 season saw Davids grab the headlines yet again. The midfielder confirmed that he would change his squad number, taking the typical goalkeeper number one shirt for the upcoming season. Davids’ had a somewhat difficult start to life in the Conference after he received his marching orders three times in his first 8 games that he played.
It was a very rocky first half to the season for the player-manager and when the turn of the year came around, Davids decided to cut short his time at Barnet, resigning in mid-January.
This didn’t stop his interest in the club however, he was spotted in attendance the following season when Barnet were promoted back to the Football League on the final day against Gateshead.