The 9th of August 2003 should have seen Watford play Coventry City on the opening day of the new season. However the game was postponed after the club learned that our new loanee Jimmy Davis had tragically died in an accident on the M40 motorway.
Jimmy signed professionally for Manchester United in 1999 having been a trainee there. He was loaned out to Royal Antwerp in 2001, Swindon Town in 2002 and joined Watford on a season long loan in July 2003. He appeared 5 times for the Hornets in friendlies, scoring in a 4-2 win on his Watford debut at Finnish side JJK Jyvaskyla and also in a 3-0 victory at Aldershot Town. His final appearance came in a 2-1 win over QPR at Loftus Road when he was substituted after suffering a groin injury.
This injury meant he was not part of the matchday squad for our opening game. The evening before he had dinner with his friend Danny Webber before deciding to travel home to Manchester for a night out. He was driving back to Watford in the early hours of Saturday morning when his car hit a truck. He died at the scene of the accident. At the inquest into his death it was revealed he was more than twice over the legal drink-drive limit.
Watford announced that the game against Coventry had been postponed ‘due to tragic circumstances beyond their control’ then confirmed shortly before the scheduled kick off time that Jimmy had died.
All Jimmy’s former clubs paid tribute to him in the days after his death. Manchester United also remembered him following their 2004 FA Cup Final win against Millwall when all their players changed into shirts bearing Davis’ name and squad number for the trophy presentation.
Tributes to Jimmy in the programme from the 12th August 2003-League Cup First Round, Watford 1 AFC Bournemouth 0 (After Extra Time)
This article remembering Jimmy appeared in the programme when Manchester United played Watford on 31 Jan 2006.
This article appeared just after the 10th anniversary of Jimmy’s death in the programme on the 10th August 2013- Championship, Watford 6 AFC Bournemouth 1
Danny Webber remembers his friend in an article he wrote for The Guardian
Danny Webber talks to Sam Wallace of The Independent about Jimmy Davis
Jimmy remembered on the Manchester United website