If you are lucky enough to stand at the top of the steps that lead to the Bowl dressing rooms when the players exit the pitch at the end of a game, you can often hear the cries from fans who attend a certain local high school of ‘Excuse me Mr Davies’.
The group are there week in week out as they clamour for a high five, a selfie and an autograph with the target of their attention, and he always obliges. ‘Mr Davies’ by the way is the Ravens’ powerful and technically gifted striker and he’s also the PE teacher of those that chant his formal name. To everyone else he’s Furo!
Davies has suffered somewhat frustratingly with untimely injuries this season which has limited him to making just 11 league starts at time of writing, but when fit he is invariably included in the match day squad. It’s an easy choice. Furo’s the one who’s got the tricks and confidence to try anything, the player that can make something happen out of nothing, whether it’s a Cruyff turn to send a defender the wrong way, a double touch dribble to burst through an opponent line or unleashing a pile driver of a shot. Perhaps his main attribute though is his ability to be the player for the big moment.
Throughout his Manx football career Furo has been one of those players who always seems to come to the rescue. There are plenty of examples of such heroics whether that’s been to single handily win the national team a dramatic FA-Inter League tie or to score the decisive goal in a local league game or cup final. Thankfully, it’s a trait he’s continued at FC Isle of Man.
Rewind to November 20 last year. That night the Ravens took on a resilient and tough Maine Road side, and at the half we were two goals behind. Although we had pegged one back mid-way through the second period, as the game entered injury time it looked as if we were about to suffer our first home defeat of the season. ‘Mr Davies’ wasn’t having any of it though and following a last gasp corner, it was he who towered above the Maine Road defence to power home a dramatic equaliser and unleash pandemonium amongst the Ravens faithful. Those that witnessed Davie’s effort that night and the magnificent atmosphere that ensued must have thought they would have to wait a while to witness such scenes again. They thought wrong. Last week Furo was at it again. Again, we were two goals behind, again we had pegged one back and again it was Davies, coming off the bench, who drew the Ravens level, again in injury time and again completing the cancelling out of a two-goal deficit and setting in motion that amazing three minutes that lead up to the Ravens’ winning goal.
Joe Reid and the Editor took ten minutes out of Furo’s busy schedule this week to reflect on his thoughts on scoring important goals at important times and to reflect on his injury affected season.
FCIOM: Furo it’s been an exciting few days for the club following last week’s dramatic events, but now it’s all calmed down a bit how would you access the season so far from the team’s perspective?
Furo Davies: The main thing that stands out for me is just how exciting it’s all been. I’ve loved being part of this new chapter in Manx football and the challenges we’ve had. I think, considering we didn’t have a proper pre-season, we’ve done well. It took us a little while to get going. We had to all learn to play together and understand each other’s games so if we’d had been able to do that sooner we might have improved on our early season results. But now it feels like we’re on track and doing well.
FCIOM: It’s been a mixed bag of a season for you personally though as injuries disrupted your availability mid-season. Has it been frustrating for you personally?
FD: I really enjoyed myself at the start of the season, even though I missed a few of the away games with having to manage time with my kids and work. Then I had a good run of games which I loved. The formation we played meant that games were exciting, but we were shipping too many goals. It was nice playing in the two-up front with Sean and I felt like we were so attacking that as a striker it was a great team to play in.
Then It was in that Maine Road game (yes, that on -Ed) that I got injured. Early in the match I felt something in my knee, but I think the adrenaline got me through (to the end). The next day I woke up and was in a lot of pain and it turned out I had torn my MCL. That resulted in me being out for two months. Then after I worked my way back to fitness, I re-injured injured myself in the warm up of a game (Ellesmere Rangers) and I was setback another few weeks. I hate being injured, I find the time away from football hard and I’m an anxious watcher of our games. It took a lot of gym work with bands and heavy squats to get back fit!
Now I’m working my way back from injury but I’m enjoying being back in the squad and getting minutes on the pitch.
FCIOM: You’ve been involved in two of the standout moments from the season. What do you recall from those heady games against Maine Road and West Didsbury?
FD: The goal against Maine Road felt like a winner because of how bad we had been in that game. As the game went on, we just knew we had to throw the kitchen sink at it. I was just so glad that ball came on to my head. Up until last week, from a personal point of view, it was my favourite moment from the season.
The feeling after last week’s goal actually might top that one though…just. Although it wasn’t as easy on the eye as goals go, it was probably more important considering the league position and the opponent. Both were amazing experiences and to then win last weeks game in end was just unbelievable.
FCIOM: What do you perceive to be your strengths as a player?
FD: I’d say now it’s my hold up play and my strength. Like I said, I really enjoyed being in the two up front early in the season and that role was different to this one now and probably required a slightly different skillset. This current role is a little more selfless as you’re looking to bring others into play rather than running in behind and looking to attack the space.
FCIOM: You’re probably the most famous teacher on the Isle of Man these days, what’s the reaction been like from your students?
FD: The kids are relentless! They love it! We talk about FC Isle of Man a lot and they’re always asking me questions about games. They also wind me up by asking when I’m going to score and if I’ll get on the pitch! I think the whole club are inspiring a lot of younger kids and its nice for them to come down on a Saturday and see me as a footballer and not as ‘Sir’ (or Mr Davies – Ed), they can even call me by my first name (don’t give them ideas Furo -Ed)!