Kelvin Davis is an English goalkeeper who was born in Bedford on 29 September 1976. Davis began his career at Luton Town in the early 1990s, turning professional in 1994. He made his first senior appearance on loan at Torquay in September 1994, playing two matches for the Plainmoor club while first choice keeper Ashley Barnes was injured.
After a second loan spell at Hartlepool in 1997 Davis established himself as first choice keeper at Kenilworth Road. His form earned him a move to the Premiership with Wimbledon in July 1999 for a fee of £600,000. Davis spent his first season at The Dons on the bench behind first choice keeper Neil Sullivan. Wimbledon were relegated at the end of his first season with the club. This was a blessing in disguise for Davis however, who became the club's number one keeper after Sullivan left for Tottenham. Davis remained first choice for Wimbledon for the next three years, as the club announced the shock decision to relocate to Milton Keynes.
In 2003 Ipswich Town signed Davis on a free transfer following the departure of Matteo Sereni. Davis enjoyed an impressive two year spell at Portman Road, reaching the play-offs in both years. The second season Town finished 3rd and Davis was named Championship goalkeeper of the year.
In 2005 Mick McCarthy's Sunderland paid £1.25million to bring Davis to The Stadium of Light. His spell at The Black Cat's was a disaster however, as Sunderland were relegated with what was the lowest points total for a Premiership season ever at the time. Worst still, Davis was to blame for many of the goals Sunderland conceded that season. He made countless errors, including one in a home defeat to Portsmouth where he was lobbed from 40 yards by Matthew Taylor. He had another shocker in the big derby against Newcastle, where Sunderland lost 4-1. It's fair to say Sunderland fans didn't shed any tears in the summer of 2006, when he made the move down south to George Burley's Southampton.
Davis first appearance for Saints came in a friendly at Bristol City. His first competitive outing was the opening game of the 2006/07 season at Derby. He made a solid start in his first month at the club, until a match against QPR at the end of the September where his blunder gifted Ray Jones a goal and a win for Rangers. That performance led many Saints fans questioning his abilities. When he was involved in an on pitch argument with Chris Baird, fans chanted Baird's name, another sign that Saints fans hadn't warmed to Davis. His form was hit and miss for the club until March when he was suspended for an off the ball incident in a match against Stoke. With Davis out Bartosz Bialkowski seized his chance and put in a number of decent displays, even saving a penalty in the 6-0 win at Wolves. After his suspension was up, Bialkowski kept his place in goal until a mistake in the play-off semi-final first leg against Derby. Davis was back in goal for the second leg, but could have done better when conceding Derby's opening goal. The game finished 4-4 on aggregate and Davis was unable to prevent Derby going through on penalties.
The 2007/08 season didn't get much better for Davis. Southampton's defence was very leaky, and Davis still hadn't won over a lot of fans. His popularity at the club hit rock bottom during the 5-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on 10th November. As the goals flew past Davis, the Saints fans behind the goal barracked the keeper and sarcastically chanted 'Davis for England'. Davis responded by throwing an offensive gesture to the fans, which didn't go down to well. He later apologised, but the damage was done in the eyes of many supporters. Davis went down with injury in a match at Wolves in March. Manager Nigel Pearson brought in Richard Wright on loan, who would remain between the sticks even when Davis regained full fitness. With Wright in excellent form, it looked like Davis's days could be numbered. The club's precarious financial position meant they were unable to sign Wright however, so Davis would regain his number one spot for the 2008/09 season.
The 2008/09 season saw a remarkable turnaround for Davis. While the club was going through one of the worst periods of their history, Davis himself was having an excellent season. He put in some absolutely superb performances in the Saints goal, in a season where he was kept very busy. He saved a number of penalties, and made some saves that defied belief. One particular stop against Cardiff was even compared to Gordon Banks' famous stop against Pele in the 1970 World Cup. He was also handed the captain's armband, after the retirement of Michael Svensson. Davis was deservedly named player of the season at the end of the campaign. He was the only real candidate. After previously being one of the clubs most unpopular players, Davis had well and truly won over even his harshest of critics. It's not unreasonable to suggest the club would have been relegated long before they actually were without Davis.
With his contract up in the summer of 2009 and the club in financial peril, it looked certain Davis would move on. Despite his desire to stay, the club couldn't offer him a new deal, and in late June he agreed terms with West Ham. The club was bought by Markus Liebherr in July however, and one of the first acts of the new regime was to offer Davis a new three year deal, which he happily accepted. Davis would have been reluctant to join West Ham, with his family well settled in Southampton. He would have also been playing second fiddle to Robert Green.
Davis continued from where he had left off the previous season in 2009/10. He was in terrific form for most of the campaign as the club overcame their 10 point deduction to reach 7th place in the table. He lost the captain's armband to Dean Hammond, but still remained a tremendous leader for the side. His performances remained strong during 2010/11 too, especially at home to Brighton where he saved a penalty.
Some fans began to question Davis's performances again after blunders at Tranmere and Exeter in early 2011. He showed his true class at Bournemouth in March however, with a stunning fingertip save when the score was at 2-1 (Saints went on to win 3-1). Davis was named in the 2010/11 League 1 team of the year on 19th April 2011. He ended the season with 20 clean sheets to his name, a club record.
In July 2011 Davis penned a contract extension keeping him at the club until 2014. On signing the deal he stated his desire to see out his playing career at the club. Davis began 2011/12 in good form, and managed to maintain a high standard for most of the season. In August 2011 he helped Saints to the top of the league by stopping late onslaughts from Barnsley, Ipswich and Millwall. He spent many games as a virtual spectator, with Saints controlling possession at the other end of the pitch. Davis made few mistakes during the campaign. His blunder at Cardiff on 28th September was a rare exception. He helped keep out fellow promotion candidates West Ham on October 18th in a 1-0 win at St Marys. On 3rd March 2012 Davis put in one of the best goalkeeping displays ever seen. The Saints stopper pulled off world class save after world class save to keep out a relentless Leeds side. That result would prove crucial come the end of the campaign. Saints were promoted in April, with Davis playing a crucial role in that 2nd place finish.
Davis started 2012/13 as Saints' number one. He made penalty saves against both Manchester clubs, but was also caught out at the near post a couple of times. The former Ipswich man was dropped in September 2012. He made one League Cup appearance at Leeds before regaining his place in the starting eleven in December 2012. Davis put in solid showings against Reading and Sunderland, but struggled to maintain consistency, with blunders in draws with Fulham and Stoke. He dropped out of the team again on New Year's Day for Artur Boruc. Davis came on as sub against Chelsea in March, pulling off a tremendous second half save to maintain Saints' 2-1 lead. He was given a run-out for the final day draw against Stoke. Davis had signed a contract extension in March 2013.
Davis featured in League Cup matches during 2013/14, performing particularly well in the 3rd round against Bristol City. He played second fiddle to Artur Boruc early on, before going down to an injury in November. Davis replaced Gazzaniga between the sticks at Everton in December, with Boruc also out. He looked passable at Goodison Park. The former Ipswich stopper made some good saves on New Year's Day against Chelsea, but could have done better for one of the goals conceded. He might have played better in a cup clash with Burnley, but didn't do too much wrong in 4th and 5th round outings with Yeovil and Sunderland. Davis sat the last few months of 2013/14 out with a back injury.