Derby County defender Curtis Davies was named as the winner of the 2021/22 Jack Stamps Player of the Season on Tuesday night.
Davies, who has made 150 appearances for the club since signing from Hull City in 2017, has played all of Derby’s Sky Bet Championship matches this season.
The 37-year-old has been a consistent performer at the heart of the backline and offered much-valued leadership and experience on and off the field in a testing campaign.
Supporters selected Davies as their winner in an online vote and after picking up the accolade, he caught up with RamsTV.
On Winning The Player Of The Season Award…
It’s amazing and to get it from the fans, who pay their hard-earned money to come and watch us play, both home and away and especially on the road as we know what our away form has been like, feels good. It really has been an amazing year, which is crazy in a relegation season.
The connection between the fans and the players has been top drawer and like something I’ve never had before. I am glad that the fans saw me as their lead player in that experience.
On Bouncing Back From A Long-Term Injury To Play Every Minute Of Every League Game…
It is bizarre thinking back to the Brentford game when I injured my Achilles in December 2020. I was just getting my rhythm back; I was playing games under the gaffer after not playing too much under the previous manager for the first few months of the season.
The dreaded Achilles injury struck me again, for the third time in my career, and there was a really strange feeling after that one. After it happened, it felt different. When I had done it previously, I was young enough to recover. When I felt it again at Brentford, I thought it might be the end of the me.
I got in the gym and worked as hard as I could to see where I got to; if I had to retire then I would have to retire. I did everything in my rehabilitation work I was fit enough to declare myself fit for the last game of last season. I wasn’t training but out running, so I felt I could offer the team something in the situation we were in to try and avoid relegation. For me, if at that time it was going to be my last appearance for Derby County I wanted to do it on my terms and play some part in the game.
After that, last summer happened. What went on is well-documented, and I signed my contract the morning before the opening day of the season back in August. From that moment, it has been a roller-coaster and very difficult off the pitch.
In terms of the minutes I have played, my body is very strange! The manager has managed us well, especially me as an older player, and certainly with the small squad we have and the days off he has given us.
Once you get into a rhythm of playing games, the body looks after itself and goes into autopilot. I’ll be out there Saturday, even if I have to be wheeled out and hobbling around. I’ll play every minute!
On The Togetherness In The Squad…
This group of players and staff, right across the club, have made it not feel like a struggle. That’s because of the working environment and the way everyone has pulled together. We’ve all enjoyed coming in to work and working with good people, speaking to good people every day, and it has felt like a holiday camp with the structure falling around it.
I can only pay credit to everyone connected with the club; they’ve made it easy to be honest.
It doesn’t feel like work, in a way. It is the most I’ve enjoyed my football since my early years at Luton Town. It was new to me and in many ways, it was a paid hobby. This year has felt like that, because with all we’ve had off the pitch it would have been easy to fold and look after yourself as an individual.
The togetherness in this group is incredible, from the older lads to me to players that are half my age like Malcolm Ebiowei and all the other lads that have made their debuts this year. If you sit any two players together, they’ll be able to have a conversation.
That says a lot about the manager and the group we have here. We know we will lose some of this group; we’ve also sold Luke Plange and Festy Ebosele is leaving too, but if we can keep the core of it then we will have a really good feeling and rapport with the fans which will stand us in good stead for next year.
On His Pride At Playing Over 150 Games For Derby County…
I am delighted to be part of this club and I have spoken before about my pride in playing here. I have been captained this club on a lot of occasions, it means the world to me to have the fans’ support. It is easy to go to clubs and kiss the badge, but Derby County means a lot to me.
This is the longest I’ve been at a club in my career and the one I have played the most games for, even with the Achilles injuries that I’ve had.
Fingers crossed that the off the field issues get sorted because there’s a lot of players, like me, that want to be here to give it a go next year.
On The Club’s Loyal Supporters…
The supporters have been with us every step of the way this year. I’ve been here in the play-off pushes when there’s been expectation to get promoted, and a few rumbles when things don’t go your way on the pitch, but the support has been amazing.
It has been humbling, and embarrassing at times, when you walk off the pitch when you’ve had a heavy loss at Middlesbrough (4-1) and losing a local derby at Forest (2-1) to a standing ovation. You almost have a cringe inside because you don’t feel you deserve it, but the fans have been there and know we don’t deserve to be in the situation we’re in.
There’s a good mutual feeling between us all and we’re in it together. We are in the changing room and the fans are with us too.
In a season that has been doomed in many ways, with us being deducted 21 points, they’ve turned out in large numbers both home and away to support us. It speaks volumes as well how many times we’ve come away from stadiums and the opposing fans have said how good the Derby fans have been.
On The End Of Season Awards Night…
It is great that we can have an End of Season awards despite everything that has gone on this season. Normally, when you get relegated, this doesn’t happen but I think it is important that we did to show our respect to the fans.
As players we’ve been pulling up trees and going down hasn’t been for the want of us trying. We never once downed tools and while I am delighted to win the Player of the Season award, the team means everything to me.
On Being Around The 1971/72 First Division Title Winners 50 Years On…
I went to BBC Radio Derby’s celebration event at the QUAD recently and it was amazing to hear their stories and their camaraderie. They are still telling those stories 50 years later about the likes of Brian Clough and each other - and remembering the games and goals.
I’d like us to have that; to sit back in 50 years and talk about the team that got promoted back from League One to put the horror season for us to bed. I know it doesn’t seem a big deal to some people, Derby County being in League One, but if we could get back up straight away and then to the Premier League, you’d realise how important coming back would be. I’m not trying to jump the gun; I believe if we get the off-the-field issues resolved then I think we’d have a good chance of coming back up next year.