Premier League Career: West Bromwich Albion (2005-2006), Aston Villa (2007-2010), Birmingham City (2011), Hull City (2013-2015, 2016-2017)
Curtis Davies has experienced the lows of Premier League relegation and FA Cup final agony. However, he has shown great professional distinction over the last 17 years that has served him well. Davies has spent the bulk of his Premier League career playing in the Midlands. He is one of only a few players to have played for Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. Davies is playing for another club in the region now. He is with Derby County in the SkyBet EFL Championship.
Now 34, Davies started his career as a 15-year-old trainee at Wimbledon. Released a year later, his determination to continue his career saw him write to all the local London clubs in the region, wanting a trial. That even included Millwall, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town eventually offered him a trial and after scoring twice in pre-season, he made his professional debut with the Hatters in 2003.
At Luton, he won promotion from League One in 2004-2005, missing just two league matches. He was one of five players from the club to reach the PFA League One Team of the Year and was voted the club’s Young Player of the Year. He started the 2005-2006 season with Mike Newell’s side in the Championship and scored against Millwall. That turned out to be his final contribution for the club. Days later and only 20, he joined West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
He quickly became a permanent figure for the Baggies, starting 35 matches, scoring twice. Despite his best efforts, Albion were relegated to the Championship. He committed his future to West Brom though and was appointed skipper on the eve of the 2006-2007 season. His impressive form continued, winning a place in the Championship Team of the Year. West Brom missed out on an instant return to the top-flight though, beaten by Derby County in the play-off final. A broken metatarsal in March had sidelined the youngster from WBA’s run-in and the play-off matches.
In August 2007, Davies joined Aston Villa on-loan for the season with the Villans ensuring a permanent option fee was inserted into the contract. This came after the player had handed in a transfer request. Always refreshingly honest, his debut for Villa was disastrous. Knocked out of the League Cup at the first hurdle by Leicester City, Davies said afterwards: “I was just awful. I didn’t contribute anything. I looked like a pub team player.”
Martin O’Neill gave him the time to get used to the club’s training methods and when he made his Premier League debut for the club against Derby in November 2007, it looked like the long hours on the training pitch had paid off. He usurped fellow summer arrival Zat Knight from his regular position in the Villa back four. A ruptured Achilles tendon sustained in a draw against Arsenal in March 2008 placed him on the sidelines for an estimated six months but in that frustrating period out through injury, Davies made his move to Villa Park into a permanent transfer.
He came back though much quicker than anticipated and missed just three league games in the 2008-2009 season as Villa finished sixth in the Premier League for the second consecutive season. His only goal of the league season was the first Premier League goal of 2009, scored against his former side West Brom. He chose not to celebrate the goal out of respect for his former employers.
O’Neill brought in two centre-backs in the summer of 2009 with James Collins and Richard Dunne arriving from West Ham United and Manchester City respectively. Davies scored in an early season victory at Anfield but required shoulder surgery in September and on his return, couldn’t dislodge the pairing of Collins and Dunne. In fact, his goal in the win at Liverpool FC in August 2009 turned out to be his last Premier League appearance for Aston Villa.
Transfer-listed in August 2010, Curtis dropped down to the Championship for the first six months of the 2010-2011 season, joining Leicester City on-loan. In January 2011, Aston Villa’s Second City rivals, Birmingham City signed him on a three-and-a-half year contract. He made six appearances for Birmingham in the league but was cup-tied from their League Cup final heroics against Arsenal. On the final day, Birmingham went down after defeat against Tottenham – the second of Davies’ four top-flight relegations.
He stayed with Birmingham for another two years before returning to the Premier League in summer 2013, linking up with Steve Bruce at Hull City. Arguably, his time with the Tigers was the most productive of his career. Davies made 123 league appearances during his four-season spell on Humberside, figuring in three Premier League seasons for the Tigers. His first Hull goal came in just his fourth appearance for the club in a 1-1 draw with fellow newly-promoted side, Cardiff City.
In May 2014, Davies played and scored in the FA Cup final against Arsenal. His goal put Hull into a two-goal lead but Arsenal charged back to win 3-2 in extra time, ending their nine-year drought without silverware. His outstanding first season with Hull though did see him win the club’s Player of the Year honours.
Hull were relegated from the Premier League in 2015 and once again in 2017. Davies decided to move after the second Premier League relegation, joining Derby County for 2017-2018. He was a regular for Gary Rowett but played just five times in the Championship in 2018-2019 for Frank Lampard. Just when it seemed liked his career was winding down though, Curtis became Derby captain in September 2019. A drink-driving incident led to former captain Richard Keogh being injured and ultimately, sacked by the club for misconduct. Davies has offered some valuable experience to a young Derby side that has struggled to find consistency in Phillip Cocu’s first season in management on these shores.
Off-the-pitch, he has also been studying for a degree in Sports Journalism and has appeared as a regular pundit for Quest on their EFL highlights package.