Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies: I was a nightmare for Birmingham boss Alex McLeish

Billy Davies

Fiery: Billy Davies

Alex McLeish goes head to head with Billy Davies’s Nottingham Forest at the City Ground today with vivid memories of a ‘fiery, right wee shop steward.’

Davies was a player under McLeish at Motherwell and the now Birmingham boss recalled: ‘He was fiery — a nippy sweetie, as we say in Scotland — which means a bit hot. Any time he was left out of the team, my door was always being tapped.

‘He was a right wee shop steward. He could never sit still. He only wanted to be playing though, which was fair enough.

'I never had any major bust-ups with him, but I’m ginger-haired and he’s small, so we both have our own causes. But I knew he was destined for coaching because he had his own team and he was always making notes.

'Mind you, he had a lovely left foot. He could ping the ball all over the park with that and could have opened a tin of peas with it.

‘And he’s built a mobile team at Forest. I tipped them at the start of the season to be surprise contenders for promotion. We have probably got the hardest tie of the third round.’

Davies, being Davies, did not shy away from the barb — and threw a couple back of his own.

‘A nippy sweetie means a pain in the a**e in your language,’ he said when told of McLeish’s comments.

‘I wouldn’t have been tapping on his door. I slammed on his door.

Alex McLeish

Golden days: Alex McLeish during his playing days.

‘It was his first managerial job. He took over from Tommy McLean. We finished second in the league, played some wonderful football.

‘It was a great year. He was a winner as a player, and a winner as a manager.

‘As a player he was a full-hearted, committed, wanting-to-win centre back, and he played in that fashion. When he came to Motherwell, you could see then.

'He would claim that he was the best player in training every day. Every day he came in and all you would hear in the corridors was “I was man of the match again”.

'B*******. He never clocked up as many man-of-the-matches as he thought he did.’

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