FA Cup final 2014: Curtis Davies - 'If we beat Arsenal, Hull will be celebrating it for years to come'

Having come up from the lower leagues, the defender takes nothing for granted ahead of the FA Cup final – even being wished luck over a coffee

From humble beginnings, Curtis Davies has risen to the upper echelons of English football, but he is still in touch with the man on the street. Or, in one recent instance, someone's mum in the cafe.

The 29-year-old will captain Hull City at Wembley on Saturday in the club's first appearance in the FA Cup final. It will be the Tigers' third visit to the national stadium in their 110-year history and Davies knows what it means to the locals, largely because they keep reminding him.

"I've been having a coffee and a lady who doesn't really look like a football fan, her son might have nudged her and said that I play for Hull, and she's come up and said 'good luck on Saturday'," Davies said. "I'd be down the gym and I have guys coming up to me mid-session and say 'good luck in the final'.

"Getting to the semi-final was massive for the fans because it had been 80-odd years and then once we got to the final, we knew things were going to erupt even more," he added. "It's just the feelgood factor around the town, and if we win it I hope the city will be celebrating for years to come."

The magnitude of the occasion is not lost on Davies, who has taken the scenic route to his first FA Cup final. Released by Wimbledon at 16, the Londoner got a job at Sainsbury's, stacking shelves and recalls returning home smelling of pet food. He wrote to every club in and around London asking for a trial and his perseverance finally paid off when Luton replied.

Davies forged his career in the lower divisions with the Hatters before moving on to West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Then Steve Bruce paid £2.25m to take the centre-back to Hull last summer.

Curtis Davies after scoring against Sunderland in the FA Cup quarter-finals Curtis Davies after scoring against Sunderland in the FA Cup quarter-finals (Getty Images)
In his first year at the KC Stadium Davies was voted the club's player of the year and he is certain he has benefited from this tough football education. "If you play in League One there's not a week goes by where you can get away without getting hurt and luckily I got used to that early in my career," he said.

"You can have ball-playing defenders that rarely have to put in a tackle. Clubs like ourselves need to have proper dogged defenders who have to put their bodies on the line because more often than not you're going to be up against it and I'd say that's the sort of player I am."

Perhaps Bruce sees an element of himself in Davies. The 53-year-old has never managed in an FA Cup final before but as an uncompromising central defender won it twice with Manchester United, whom he served with distinction for nine years.

Davies grew up supporting United and remembers watching Bruce's outings at Wembley. "My first real memory would be the 1994 Cup final, the 4-0 win over Chelsea," Davies said. "The year after that was the loss to Everton 1-0, and then the next year was the win against Liverpool. Those are my highlights as a fan. I'm hoping we can emulate the gaffer's success that he managed to have in 1994 and 1996 and forget about that 1995 one.

"I remember him playing, and as the captain he got to lift the trophy in '94, and I hope to emulate what he did.

"He was a hard man, he was the tough one and Gary Pallister was meant to be the ball player as such – it was sort of like an old-school Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

"I'm probably a mix of the two. I'm quite long and gangly like Pallister was, and I guess he was the quick one out of the two. But I definitely can do the dirty stuff, the ugly stuff of a defender."

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little