It’s Davids and Goliath as Tring Athletic hope for giant killing when League Two Barnet come to town

Edgar Davids (Picture: Barnet FC)
Edgar Davids (Picture: Barnet FC)

One of the biggest stars and most recognisable faces of world football during the past 15 years could be coming to Tring on Wednesday night.

Edgar Davids, who has starred in the centre of midfield for some of the world’s finest clubs including Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Ajax as well as winning 74 caps for Holland, is the new joint manager/player and captain of League Two Barnet, who face SSML side Tring Athletic in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup tonight.

Nicknamed The Pitbull due to his uncompromising style and marking ability, Davids, now 39, is used to playing in front of crowds of 80-90,000, and was chosen by Pelé to feature in the FIFA 100, a list of the world’s greatest living footballers.

But all that will count for little at the Grass Roots Stadium on Wednesday, where crowds usually top out at around the 100 mark for the club’s Spartan South Midlands Premier League games.

With Barnet entertaining Torquay in an important league game on Tuesday night, the Bees are likely to field a number of their under 21 players – many of whom have featured in the first team this season.

Barnet confirmed on Monday that while it is unlikely the superstar will play against Athletic, he could well be in the dugout. The possible appearance of the former Spurs and Crystal Palace man, who said he joined Barnet to ‘help English football’, is sure to attract a great deal of local interest in the game.

And Athletic already have a link to their more illustrious visitors as keeper Adam Robinson coaches at the Bees, where he says Davids has insisted on being called ‘Sir or Mr Davids’ and takes a ‘tough’ approach with players.

Whether Davids plays or not, Athletic manager Julian Robinson could not hide his excitement.

“We’re really looking forward to it, we got beat 3-0 on Saturday and I think everyone’s minds were on this game,” he said.

“It’s a really big thing for the club and it’s always great to play against better players in situations like this.

“If he (Davids) is there it will be absolutely amazing.

“He’s a legend and it will be great to see what he thinks of the setup here, it’s a real giant of a game for us.”