“Most kids at Man United are the cream of the crop, make no mistake, but Jimmy was special,” says Andy King, Swindon’s then-manager. “I used to say that at the time and I’m not going back on that statement now. He was the best kid of that age that I’ve worked with.
“I also had James Milner on loan from Leeds at the time, and they were two fantastic kids brought up well by their families and their managers. Without being derogatory to James, at the time Jimmy was a better player. I’m not saying that because Jimmy is no longer with us and it’s easier to speak about people when they’ve passed on; I would honestly say that Jimmy was a better prospect. He was the best prospect I’ve come across, without doubt.”
Predicting how far Davis could have gone in football is a thankless pursuit, given the numerous variables which can help or hinder burgeoning youngsters, but his attitude and application convinced everybody who knew him that he would go on to enjoy a career within the game.
“We all thought he had a bright future ahead of him,” says Bojan Djordjic, another former United team-mate. “Jimmy had pace, skill, flair… something to make him stand out. We all thought he’d make it. Maybe not at United, but he was going to have a decent career as a footballer.”
Davis was preparing for the next step in his career when he signed up to spend the 2003/04 season on loan at Watford. Webber was in the midst of completing a permanent move to the Hornets from United, and the pair were relishing the chance to reprise their partnership in the Championship. “We thought we’d be unstoppable,” laments Webber.
Instead, they would never start a competitive game together for Watford. Jimmy’s death shocked football, with the impact most keenly felt at Old