Ben Davies’ joy at Pompey title-winning contribution

Ex-Pompey man Ben Davies shakes hands with Michael Doyle after the Blues win at Grimsby. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ex-Pompey man Ben Davies shakes hands with Michael Doyle after the Blues win at Grimsby. Picture: Joe Pepler
Plymouth Argyle's Remi Matthews. Picture: PA Images

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AMONG the texts delivered to Ben Davies’ phone on Saturday night, three stood out.

Each said ‘Thank you’.

I couldn’t have them jumping around in front of me two years in a row

Ben Davies

The veteran right-back had been a member of the Grimsby side which drew 1-1 with leaders Plymouth at Blundell Park.

Tallied with top-of-the-table results elsewhere, that feat assisted Pompey claiming the League Two title at the death.

It was a contribution recognised by former Blues team-mates Michael Doyle, Conor Chaplin and Gareth Evans.

Amid the emotional Fratton Park celebrations, each took time out to message their gratitude to Davies.

And having been part of the Pompey side eliminated in the play-offs by the Pilgrims the previous May, the pleasure was all his.

Davies said: ‘We were hell bent on Plymouth not winning the title at our place – especially me.

‘Last season’s play-off left us all with a bitter taste in the mouth. There is no love lost between Pompey and Plymouth and a bit of needle.

‘In last season’s play-off second leg, I cannot remember much after banging heads with a player during the game.

‘I had concussion and was more or less in their dressing room with their club doctor after the match – and saw them jumping around celebrating.

‘I couldn’t have them jumping around in front of me two years in a row.

‘As a professional footballer, you have your pride and we didn’t want to see Plymouth lifting silverware. We’d even heard rumours the trophy was on its way up.

‘You never want to see anyone come to your patch and win things, so it was on our minds. We were bang up for the game, played well and maybe should have won it in the end.

‘I’d been speaking to Doylie throughout the week. He was asking how we were looking, how we were doing.

‘We had lost 3-1 at Barnet the previous week and been absolutely shocking. The gaffer got into us a bit so we wanted to finish off on the right foot.

‘I was disappointed with Plymouth. We should have absolutely pummelled them, especially in the first half when we scored, missed two one-on-ones and should have been out of sight.

‘Then they went route one and did better in the second half, but we were pretty comfortable all afternoon. They were nowhere near the same class as Pompey and Doncaster.

‘And afterwards, it was great to receive a couple of texts off Chappers, Doyley and Gaz saying thank you.’

Davies made 51 Pompey appearances in the 2015-16 campaign, establishing himself as a firm fans’ favourite.

He is now out of contract at Grimsby and waiting to hear about his future.

Regardless, he is delighted to see his former club crowned as champions.

He added: ‘It has been a tough couple of years for the boys at Fratton Park.

‘It is a fantastic club and I know how hard it has been for a couple of the lads there.

‘It’s been a bit of a roller coaster and they have put in a lot of effort, for which they deserve plenty of credit.’