We were given the opportunity to speak with Kevin Davies, a man we're obviously big fans of. When all was said and done, Kevin's answers were important, went into great detail and were certainly from the heart. As a result, we have decided to split the interview up into two parts. Below, Kevin Davies discussed his thoughts on booing, Bolton's tough times over the last few seasons, and if he's ever considered leaving the Reebok Stadium. If you missed the first part, be sure to read it here.
Lion of Vienna Suite: It's been a tough couple of years for the club and its fans. The club seems to have moved onto the right path of late but what do you think needs to happen in order for the results to finally start coming in?
Kevin Davies: It certainly has been a tough couple of years for the club. I honestly thought we would avoid relegation last year as we had the spirit and the quality to do so. Looking back, the dropped points against West Brom on the penultimate game of the season cost us dearly.
I have always heard how people say The Championship is such a tough division. I don't think it's down to the number of games. Look at us when we played in Europe: we dealt with all the traveling and Thursday night games whilst still finishing high in the Premier League.
I think there is a lot of very good teams in this league battling to get promotion. Look at the teams that have been promoted to the Premier League this season. Southampton for instance beating teams like Manchester City and drawing at Chelsea.
Yes, the games come thick and fast but we have the squad and quality to deal with that. I agree there was a bit of a hangover from last year. We have struggled to hit form and get a winning streak going. If we had done early on in the season we most probably would be in a much more respectable league position.
We were expected to be winning week in week out this season and when that is not happening, the team's confidence and belief start to suffer. I feel we are starting to show signs that this is returning and I am looking forward to a strong finish to the season.
Is it a coincidence that all three teams relegated last year have struggled this year?
LVS: There's been a long debate about fans expressing their displeasure in the form of booing. Something that we never get to see or hear about is just how or if it affects the players on the pitch. Is that something you could discuss?
KD: It has been over 20 years since I was a fan of Sheffield United. I used to love walking down to Bramall Lane with my older brother, Andrew, standing on my tip toes, watching my idols, and singing all the songs. The buzz of the local derbies against Sheffield Wednesday, pulling on the red and white stripes. I still have many of the strips I wore as a young lad.
I can't ever remember booing or shouting insults at my team or opposing teams' players. Obviously, I was very young and naive but I just wanted to watch the heroes of mine play football.
Booing is an interesting topic. Does it help the team? No. Are supporters entitled to boo? Yes.
Does it affect the players? When I went on loan a few years ago, the home players, including myself, took some unbelievable abuse. For the players at that time it was a relief to go and play an away game.
There have been grumblings at The Reebok over the last couple of years and there is nothing wrong with that. I can understand the frustration and have been with the club during the so-called "Good Times."
What we have at Bolton is a great set of lads who train extremely hard. I have never felt let down by a teammate in terms of them preparing for a game and giving 100%. You simply can't get away with it with the demands put on you, particularly in this league.
The recent Olympics rightly inspired us all, and rightly so. We cheered on the Olympians who didn't win medals as much as we did the ones that did. Were the Olympians who returned home without a medal deemed failures and get booed off the track or out of the pool? I'm sure the "failures'" families were very proud of them.
The reason why, because they will have seen first hand the dedication, commitment and sacrifices it takes to just get there. More often than not for themselves, their families and of course their country, but in some cases for a teammate too.
Look at the cyclists who went through hell to try and get Mark Cavendish a gold medal. On the day, the team did not quite get it right and just missed out. It certainly wasn't down to a lack of effort or not wanting it as much as the others.
Is a professional footballer any different? I know first hand the amount of dedication it takes. Firstly, to make it in the game and secondly, to stay there. The statistics relating to signed players that fall out of the game before they get to age 23 are unbelievable. It's over 70%.
The game and level of professionalism has certainly changed since I started my career. Back then, there was no pre-hab, yoga, ice baths, urine tests, strength sessions, body fat testing, et cetera, which players now have to go through. The players are far more professional now and have to be extremely dedicated to do what they do to forge any sort of career out of the game.
If you're not, then you need to be an extremely gifted player to stay in the game. Players playing into their forties at the top level is testament of how professional players are in this day and age.
Fans are entitled to voice an opinion and question a player's commitment.
"You're not fit to wear the shirt" and "we pay your wages" are common expressions we have all heard during a football match. I think as a team we expect to be booed off if we are under performing as a team. It is when it becomes directed at an individual that the real damage is done, particularly if everyone knows it is a talented player who is just lacking in confidence. A player can become low in confidence due to lack of form.
When you are confident you do everything naturally and can't get enough of the ball. When your not you start worrying and thinking, particularly about your first touch. You can then can start hiding a little or in most cases start trying too hard.
You can physically see that happening on the pitch and I'm sure most of you fans can too.
A player will often put on a brave front and pretend not to be bothered or read the papers. When a player is targeted, he will normally start to disengage from the club and its fans and get his agent to seek a new employer. In some cases, he may win over the fans when given a good run in the team and puts in a string of good performances.
If you are one of those fans who likes to have a moan or, putting it politely, "voice your opinion," that is fine, but just think about what that player has been through and how it may affect him and, ultimately, your team.
For me, footballers get booed because of the salaries they earn.
We all have a choice in life and we choose our own careers. Circumstances, of course, can play a huge part in whether or not we go on to achieve our dreams. I am a normal lad raised on a council estate in Sheffield, fortunate to have played professional football for 20 years and achieved my dream of playing for England at Wembley. But nothing was ever handed to me apart from my brothers old oversized smelly football boots!
I have worked hard to achieve my dreams. The reason I referred to The Olympics earlier was that I heard quite a few discussions comparing Olympians and Footballers last summer. I think it is unfair to compare the two on a financial basis.
Growing up, my dream was to be a professional footballer not because of the financial rewards but because I lived and breathed it every single day and night. All those Olympians last summer achieved their dreams by representing Great Britain in the Olympics and some now own a Gold medal to show their grandchildren. I was as proud and envious as the next person.
Is there a difference?
LVS: Finally, before we let you go, have there been other clubs that have inquired about your services in the past? If so, what was it that kept you at Bolton?
I remember sitting down with Owen and discussing it, as I was out of contract and nothing had been offered to me. Houston offered me a two-and-a-half year deal, house, car, kids' schooling, etc. I had found myself out of the first team for the first time in my Bolton career, which was very frustrating and hard to accept.
It's hard to be the captain of the team and not be able to lead your boys out on to the pitch. My pride was hurt.
We looked at the pros and cons and decided as a family. Emma just wanted me to do what I felt was right and what would make me happy. She has always 100% supported me in whatever decisions I have made.
I sat down with Owen on deadline day and he said that the only way I would be leaving the Reebok is if I could look him in the eye and tell him I wanted to leave Bolton Wanderers. He knew, Gary Megson knew, Sammy Lee knew that I had such an affection for the club that It would take something special for me to want to leave.
Of course, I could not do that and so the decision was made that I stayed.
The main reason was to fight to get back into the team and ultimately try and keep us in the Premier League. Financially, it would have been better to leave and take the security of a 30 month contract but sometimes, as I learned with my time at Blackburn, it is far more important to be happy. The contract I signed last February took about ten minutes to negotiate. Just me and Owen, no agents needed.
Every season, there has been something to battle for with this club. If you asked me after making my debut what I was expecting to happen at Bolton, I would probably just have said to get my career back on track and try and help keep them in the Premier League. The first year was amazing: Playing in the Carling Cup Final, starting every Premier League game and winning the player of the year was far beyond my expectations.