Former Bolton Wanderers and England forward Kevin Davies is to receive the prestigious Sir Tom Finney Award at Sunday evening’s annual Football League Awards.The Award is presented by The Football League to a player who has had an outstanding career in its competitions, and was renamed permanently in honour of Preston North End and England legend, Sir Tom Finney, following his death in 2014.
Sir Tom’s talent, loyalty and commitment marked him out as a truly exceptional player and a model professional. The Football League is proud to honour his memory by presenting this award to those players who, like Sir Tom before them, set standards for others to aspire to.
Kevin Davies said: “It is a huge honour to accept the Sir Tom Finney Award. I would like to thank The Football League for the accolade and also all the clubs that I had the pleasure of playing for. After making my debut for Chesterfield at the age of 16 I would never have believed that I would go on playing for the next 22 years.
“To win the Sir Tom Finney Award is particularly special for me. He was a true legend and fantastic ambassador of the game. To be associated to such a special player gives me an enormous sense of pride particularly as my last professional game was for Preston North End gaining promotion at Wembley.”
Davies retired as a player in September 2015 after a prestigious 22-year playing career, in which he amassed 820 career appearances. The first of the appearances came for Chesterfield in a League Cup tie against West Ham United in 1993, aged just 16.
The forward went on to become one of the most respected professionals in the game, scoring 150 goals during spells with Chesterfield, Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Millwall, Preston North End and, most notably, Bolton Wanderers, where he became a fans favourite during a 10-year spell. His legendary status with Trotters’ fans was confirmed with 85 goals in 407 appearances.
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Kevin won promotion via the Play-Offs on two occasions – once with Chesterfield and once with Preston North End – and reached a League Cup Final with Bolton in 2004. Aged 33, Kevin became the oldest England debutant since the 38-year-old Leslie Compton in 1950 when he faced Montenegro in Euro 2012 qualifier.
Fittingly, Kevin Davies finished his career with Tom Finney’s beloved Preston North End making 73 appearances and scoring six goals for the Sky Bet League 1 club.
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League, said: “The Football League is delighted to present Kevin Davies with the Sir Tom Finney Award. Not only was Sir Tom a fantastic player but he was also a gentleman and a role model. This award acknowledges someone who follows in his footsteps and it couldn’t go to someone more deserving than Kevin Davies.
Thanks for all the lovely messages and @football_league for a great night and congrats to all the winners tonight ⚽️— Kevin Davies (@Kevin__Davies) April 17, 2016
“In his career, Kevin became one of the most respected professionals in English football, displaying both great skill and dignity. I’m sure Sir Tom would have been delighted that a former Preston North End player is to receive this accolade.”
The Football League Awards take place on Sunday evening at Manchester Central when among the awards to be presented will be those for the best player in each division of the Sky Bet Football League.
For the first time this year the Awards will also recognise the best 11 players and manager from across the 72 clubs, with the ‘Football Manager Team of the Season’ to be announced on the night.
Fans can watch the Awards ceremony live on The Football League’s YouTube channel from 8:45pm at http://po.st/FLAwardsLIVE.