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The Life Lesson of Calum Davenport

A Tale of Encouragement and Hope →

PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 26: Jermaine Defoe of Portsmouth battles with Calum Davenport of West Ham during the Barclays Premier League match between Portsmouth and West Ham United at Fratton Park on December 26, 2008 in Portsmouth, England.

Not every street footballer makes it through to the promised land.  Not every academy prospect graduates to the first team. Not every starlet fulfills their full potential. It’s a fact of the beautiful game: promising footballers sometimes fall foul of their own hype.

As you cast your mind back to prime examples of ‘what happened to him’, spare a thought for a footballer whose career was cut short by a horrific crime: Calum Davenport.

Calum Davenport will turn 30 on New Years Day, 2013. He is a former England youth international who played for his country from England U-19 through  England U-21 level. He made his Premier League debut for Coventry City at 17 and went on to play over 80 times for the club before moving to Tottenham Hotspur at 21 years of age. After limited pitch time, Calum Davenport made his way across town to West Ham United.  The world, for a young English centre-back, was at his feet.

Yet it was there at West Ham United that Calum Davenport made national headlines, none of them, however, football related. On 22 August, 2009, Calum Davenport (and his mother) were stabbed by the boyfriend of Davenport’s sister. It was Calum who came off worse. He was stabbed repeatedly in both legs, including the hamstrings. 90% of his femoral artery was severed, leading to severe blood loss (~50%) and the fear of his leg being amputated. His career in football was over in seconds.

Something of a harsh parallel to draw given the opening gambit concerning young footballers, but there is value in the tale of Calum Davenport.

With many of today’s youngsters jigging to the sound of their own fiddle, it is important as ever to embrace the notion of ‘carpe diem‘. Always strive to be the best. Work hard. For as one grows older, the future of your footballing career depends on you and you alone. As for every Jack Wilshere there is also a John Bostock - a lost soul who has succumbed to the dark world of ego and  ego and vanity.

While he may not have set the footballing world alight, Calum Davenport is an extreme example of ‘anything can happen’ – in football and in life.

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