Saints farewell interview: Charlie Davies
It was one of the stranger sentences that has been heard at a Saints leaving ceremony.
When the names of the departing players were read out at Franklin’s Gardens following the final home game of last season, it was said scrum-half Charlie Davies was ‘off to crack it in the music industry’.
It wasn’t what anyone expected, especially as, at the age of just 29, Davies appears to have a few more good years in the world of rugby.
But after being unable to truly break into the Saints first-team picture last season, he has now taken the decision to retire following the conclusion of his contract at the club.
And, as he explains, he was ready to hang up his boots last summer before Saints came calling at the last minute.
“It was so late when I signed - I was on holiday when (Saints team manager) Paul Shields phoned me up and I was contemplating retirement,” Davies said.
“He called me when I was away with friends, I was sipping on a cocktail at the time and he asked if I wanted to give it a go. I couldn’t turn it down.
“Because I signed so late, a couple of days before pre-season started, it took me a bit to settle.
“I’m from Sheffield but I had mates here and there and was just sleeping on sofas and spare beds until I settled in properly.
“It was a bit of a stressful two weeks but it was great to be back involved.
“You could probably say if I’d retired last year I could have had a year in the real world and preparing for the future and those goals but looking at it now, I’ve had a great year and it’s been really good fun.
“It’s been challenging to step up to a top-level Premiership side and the level has been tough at times but I think I’ve done well enough and can be proud of what I’ve contributed to the squad.
“I’ve met a lot of really good people and I’ll cherish those memories I’ve gained with players and coaches throughout the year.
“I’ve got no complaints about saying I’m a former Saints player. No complaints at all.”
Former Wasps and Dragons player Davies found first-team opportunities hard to come by.
But that is no surprise when you consider the two players in his position cleaned up at the Saints awards do last month.
Cobus Reinach was players’ and supporters’ player of the year, while Alex Mitchell was named young player of the year, while also winning the try of the season prize.
But Davies said: “It’s been a really good year.
“Personally, it’s obviously been difficult to get games with Cobus and Mitch being two of the best players in the position in the league but I found my role in the squad and I could really enjoy myself playing in the PRC, European stuff and the A League on Monday night.
“I’ve really enjoyed my rugby this year and really enjoyed being part of a big club like Saints. It’s great to finish my career at a club like that.
“It would obviously have been great if the boys had beaten Exeter and got to the final, but such is life.
“Looking back, I’ve had a really good time and it’s been a good experience for me.
“I’ve put it down that hopefully I came in and Coby and Mitch had to step up their game!
“The pair of them have been fantastic. They’ve worked really hard and they deserve all the accolades they’ve got this year.
“Hopefully we’ll soon see Cobus in a South Africa shirt in the World Cup and Mitch has been involved with England in the Barbarians game. He’s got a very bright future.
“They’re two really genuine blokes and I’m a guy who if there’s people ahead of me playing really well, I’ve got no complaints. I just keep working.
“It’s probably strange that neither of them have injuries and have played a lot of rugby this year but I can see how integral they are to the team.
“It was tough to be training every Saturday rather than playing, but I’m really pleased those guys have had such a good year.”
A hugely likeable guy, Davies has made plenty of friends at Saints.
And he says he will always cherish the time he spent in Northampton.
“It was great just to come back to a big English club with a big support base and stadium and it made training every day enjoyable,” Davies said.
“I had world class players around me and it was great to see where I was at and learn and enjoy myself.
“I embraced being part of a big club and I’ve got no complaints at all.
“I’ve really enjoyed my year, it’s been good fun and I’ve met some great people.
“Now I’m finishing with rugby I look back on what I’ve achieved and been proud of what I’ve done but more importantly it’s about the people you meet and I’ve been very fortunate.
“I’m wishing Saints all the best for the future because of the amount of good people in the club and it’s been fun to be part of it.”
So what does ‘giving it a go in the music industry’ actually mean for Davies?
“I’ve basically got opportunities in various things - mainly to do with music events.
“I DJ in my spare time and that’s more of a hobby but my interest is in how these events are created.
“I’m hopefully going to be working with a music label in their events team.
“You won’t be seeing me on the X Factor or anything like that.
“I’ve got a terrible singing voice.
“I like to sing when I’ve had a few beers but I don’t sing it very well, as the boys will tell you.
“I don’t think Simon Cowell will be phoning me up any time soon!
“But I’ve potentially got very good opportunities in music events. I’m looking to be the guy behind the curtain who organises things.
“It might not be for me but I’m dipping my toe in it and seeing what it entails.
“I’m moving back home to Sheffield but a lot of opportunities are in London so I’ll see what the craic is with it.
“I’m dipping my toes into a lot of different things and we’ll see where it takes me.
“I was in London for five years with Wasps so it’s not daunting for me to move there and it’s exciting for me.”
And Davies is thankful for the honesty of Saints boss Chris Boyd, which gave the player plenty of time to prepare for life outside of rugby.
“Boydy was honest with me in the early months of the year and he told me I wouldn’t be staying on at Saints.
“I’m thankful for that honesty because it gave me time to process whether retirement was the option for me.
“I had conversations with family and friends and decided retirement was for me.
“It’s not been easy but I’ve been through ups and downs in rugby and I try to stay positive. I’m excited to get stuck into new things.”