Steve Davis, OBE is an English former professional snooker player from Plumstead, London. Known for dominating the sport during the 1980s, when he won the World Championship six times and was ranked world number one for seven consecutive seasons, he is remembered particularly for contesting the 1985 World Championship final with Dennis Taylor, the black-ball conclusion of which attracted a record 18.5 million British viewers. Today, Davis combines his ongoing playing career with his role as a television analyst and commentator for the BBC's snooker coverage. In addition to his six world titles, Davis's career achievements include three Masters and a record six UK Championship titles. He has won a total of 28 ranking events, second only to Stephen Hendry, and has won over £5.5 million in prize money. Davis has compiled more than 350 competitive century breaks, including the first officially recognized maximum break in professional competition, in 1982. During the 1987/1988 season, he became the first player to complete snooker's Triple Crown by winning the UK Championship, Masters, and World Championship in the same season.
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All this soccer talk has made me mighty, you know, "thirsty!" Thanks for all the good questions. I hope I got to yours. Follow me on Twitter @SteveDavis90. And go read my work at World Soccer Talk or Soccergods ... I generally get MOST of the words spelled right.
What's your best XI in MLS so far this season?
Oh, man ... a toughie right off the bat. I might need a little more time for that. I KNOW it would include Hamid, Feilhaber, Giovinco, Dempsey, Martins ... and ... well, let me get back to you with more ...
Given the recent play, of the USMNT, will they ever be a legitimate contender to win the world cup? Beating two number ones in a few years. Was it just luck, or are we getting better?
Yeah, I think we'll get there. But not in 2018 or not even in 2022. I know you've heard this before, but these other countries had a big, BIG head start. We are catching up fast ... as you saw over the last few days. They WERE just friendlies, of course. But those wins were no accidents.
Any advice to aspiring soccer writers?
Journalism in general is a tough place to be right now. I've been incredibly lucky to have carved out a niche ... and I've mostly made my living off writing / broadcasting soccer for years now. Advice: work hard, bug people to write for them ... but don't get taken advantage of. At some point, you have to value your work and can't do things for free or on the cheap. OH ... and broaden yourself as much as possible. The best sports writers (and soccer writers, of course) are smart people who just happen to love the game. So learn a lot ... about everything. And when you get really, really, good ... cut me some slack would ya??? If you take my job, throw me some scraps every once and a while, eh?? Cheers ... and good luck
Where do you think Jordan Morris signs his first professional contract? What would you advise him to do?
I HOPE it's with SEA. He needs a bit more seasoning. I don't wanna see another Brek Shea situation, where he is languishing on some bench just because some agent told him "you GOTTA go overseas, dude!"
Who is going to win in the sounders vs fcd game on saturday?
Also, why is it that expansion teams in mls seem much more popular in their own cities than older teams (besides rebranded skc) and what do you think can be done to change that
SEAvFCD ... Depends on whether Fabian Castillo is back to full speed. Without him at full rev and w/out Blas Perez, FCD will find it hard to pull points out of there, even if SEA is missing players.
As for the MLS expansion teams ... it's a weird phenom, isn't it. I've actually written about it. Basically, these new teams benefit from the lessons of the original "96ers" ... those first 10 teams. They aren't dragging around the baggage of the early, lean years. Here's a little more about it, if you care to check it out
What are 3 steps that you think MLS needs to make to achieve their goal of being a "top" league by 2020?
1) Continue to hammer, hammer, hammer away at the stadium situation. Get facilities into places like DC and New England. And improve the grounds in places like Columbus (where I know they are one it). The facility initiative has long been THE most important element.
2) Continue to improve the TV contracts. Modern sports, man ... I sometimes hate the way it works, but TV rules. More specifically, TV money rules. Nothing moves forward without it.
3) Continue to drive up the salary cap so they can pay the best US players (to stay here) and keep getting good players in their prime from abroad. That's linked to the TV money, of course.
How important is CONCACAF Champions League to the MLS front office? Do you see unreasonable expectations from them considering the limitations of single entity and the salary cap? Or, is the run made by Montreal proof that we are closer than ever or just a fluke? And lastly, how close do you think we are in being a dominant force against Liga MX in CCL?
Here's the thing with CONCACAF Champs League. Yes, it's important to the league. BUT, it's important within the context of a bunch of important things. See, everybody wants the league to spend, spend, spend ... but they wanted the league to spend, spend, spend 10-15 years ago. And the league nearly collapsed at one point. If they had spent, spent, spent before 2001, there wouldn't be a league today. Seriously!
So it's all a process. I know people get impatient, but that's the deal. NOW, some teams take it more seriously than others.
Montreal's run WAS kinda flukey, I'd say. On the other hand, I think we'll see more MLS teams continue to chip away, and before too long, an MLS team will get past this sticking point and win the doggone thing. I have other thoughts on Champs League and its relative importance in the big picture. Basically, I don't think it's a real game-changer for MLS. Wrote more about it recently at World Soccer Talk ...
So the previsional 35-man roster for the Gold Cup was released a few days ago, realistically who do you see as the 12 players that will be cut when the final 23-man roster is announced?
Not to dodge the question, but I've said in all my writing and on the weekly show I do with Marc Stein (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/espn-radio-soccer-today-presented/id767535983?mt=2) that I am FINISHED guessing what Jurgen Klinsmann will do. It's a fool's errand. Just when you think you've got a wee bit of a handle on the guy, BOOM, he'll put a striker at fullback or something. So, yeah, I'm outta the JK predicting biz!
Do you see MLS (and Don Garber) ever making true on their word to be more transparent? I'll never forget when Garber admitted that they were making things up as they went along the last 20 years.
This is not to defend Don Garber. But the thing that a lot of people don't seem to understand is that Garber has bosses. They are rich and powerful men ... guys who are used to getting their way and NOT having to be transparent about their business. So, yes, I think MLS actually WOULD like to be more transparent. But it's tough, and there are blocked doors at so many turns. ... All that said, I would LOVE to see MLS get their transparency house in order. It would damn sure make my job easier.
Funny this: we are always looking for signs of soccer "making it" in this country, whatever the hell that even means. Well, I suppose the fact that everyone dislikes Don Garber is some kind of sign of progress, eh? Because for whatever reason, most fans hate ALL commissioners in the major US sports, don't they???
Haha I don't want to talk about Pro/rel, I just like making a big joke out of it and those who champion it here (lookin' at you, Ted). It's never coming to MLS, and likely never to U.S. Soccer as a whole.
Ah! Shoulda know you were just bustin my (soccer) balls! You know, in the second part of that series (I THINK it was second part) I did outline a way that it COULD perhaps work. I really could see that happening in 10-15 years.
What sites/writers do you recommend? I agree that there are many who know their stuff just that there are some that are personally paid to write click bait articles.
Hmmm. I'd hate to make a "list" per se and leave some really good people off by mistake. Probably the ones you think ... I personally like and trust all the writers at one of my former spots, SI.com. A bunch pros over there, for sure. Goff at the WaPo is as solid as they come, and he's super tied into agents and officials, so he still breaks a lot of news. Jeff Carlisle and Dougie Mac at ESPN are pro's pros, too. The analysts at MLSSoccer.com are good guys who know their S. Matthew Doyle in particular. Like I said, I know I'm leaving someone off this list .... so I apologize in advance! I'll buy em a beer. ... MMMmmmm ... beer.
By the way, that's only for domestic stuff. For overseas, I've got a different list. Lots of good ones overseas, too, of course. (And plenty of solid TV guys, as well)
Which young players are you looking to make an impact for the US this summer at the gold cup?
It's funny with young players, isn't it? ... because they are so inconsistent. Bobby Wood looked like a young man lacking confidence. Then he hits two game-winners! ... But he's not even on the provisional roster. John Brooks looked kinda average, at best ... then he had a great second half vs. Germany. I DO think it could be a big tourney for Aron Johannsson, depending on how much time he gets. But through the course of what (should be) a long tournament, I would think he'll get his chances.
What is the best World Cup that have you been to in terms of entertainment and spectacle?
Man, ALL World Cups are amazing. I met the woman I live with at France 1998, so that will always be very special to me. Plus, that was my first trip overseas. ... Germany 2006 was amazing. The Germany-Italy semi in Dortmund was probably the best game / best atmosphere I've ever been to. South Africa and Brazil were awesome, too, although I wasn't at those wire - to -wire like I was for France and Germany. (Oh, in France, Bastille Day was two days after Les Bleus beat Brazil in that shocker of a final. Paris was absolutely INSANE. It was something else.
Thank you for your candor. I hope you'll consider looking into it someday.
You know, it's not that people like me don't want to "look into it." It's a tough nut to crack. I mean, it was a HUGE problem in baseball for all those years, and the volume of baseball coverage us, what, 10-20 X what soccer is in this country? So, the relative lack of journalistic resources devoted to soccer, plus the fact that nobody "thinks" it a problem makes it kinda low priority stuff, I think.
How long before Matt Hedges gets into the USMNT for good?
You know, I honestly don't know what the deal is with Matt. He would seem to be the EXACT kind of player Jurgen Klinsmann wants. He's big, smart AND he's a swell passer. So I dunno??? (Can I do funny emoticons on this thing. If I could, I would do a perplexed face thingy)
You know, it's the same with Tim Ream. Ream seems like a prototype Kilnsmann guy, too. And he has only recently gotten more national team love. Klinsmann, man ... his choices can be awfully quirky, eh?
Hi Steve, do you think the FIFA scandal is just the tip of the iceberg? Will Russia and Qatar lose their bids and is that fair?
"Iceberg, dead ahead!" ... yep ... the details and the depths of the filth will just keep tumbling out. Once a couple of these guys start singing (that is, cutting deals to save their own asses) the bad stuff will just keep coming. You just KNOW there is a lot of dirt still out there.
As for Russia, I just don't see that happening. Lots of work has been done on infrastructure and such. And don't forget, qualifying out of Europe starts this fall. Russia has an automatic berth (for 2018, that is). So, IF they were going to strip the country, they would almost have to do so by late this summer, otherwise stripping Russia would mean Russia would have no chance to even PLAY in the 2018 World Cup.
Qatar is the one we have to watch. Chances it gets taken away? I'd put them at 10-20 percent. So, yeah ... I'm sayin' there's a chance!
Agreed. It seems all Hedges is missing is another country's passport.
Funny. The ONLY thing I can possibly think of is this: Matt is a nice fellow. Maybe (MAYBE!) Klinsmann wants to see just a bit more of a mean streak in his center backs. But honestly, I don't know if Matt Besler has that nastiness. He's a great fellow, too.
An MLS coach once told me this: "A big part of being a great defender is you just have to be a little bit of a son of a bitch." So, maybe with Matt, he's not "son of a bitch" enough for JK. That's the only theory I have on that one.
How do you toe the line between being friendly with your subjects (the players/coaches) without losing your objectivity?
Such a good question. It really is a balancing act. And to be honest, sometimes you lose the balance. I'm a journalist, and I work hard to be professional ... but I'm human, too. Which means I'm imperfect. (My heavens ... am I ever imperfect!!)
The best you can do is be honest with everyone. On my radio show, for instance, if I talk about certain people who I like and maybe I'm friendly with, I try to say that. That at least "puts it out there." And you have to be honest on the other side, too. You have to be able to say to someone, "Hey, I'm going to write something and you may not like it. You can try to change my mind if you like, but this is what I'm going to say ... " My favorite saying in the biz is this: Journalism is more art than science, and on our best days, we still get some of it wrong.
Hopefully the 2022 World Cup gets taken off Qatar and given to the USA?
It COULD happen. I wrote about that very thing at World Soccer Talk when the FIFA house of cards in Zurich began collapsing two weeks ago. (http://worldsoccertalk.com/2015/05/27/why-the-us-as-host-of-world-cup-2022-is-not-so-far-fetched-by-steve-davis/)
The tricky part is this: if the United States WERE to get that World Cup, it could look to some people like the whole DOJ and FBI investigation was all ABOUT getting a World Cup to the United States. So the politics is slicky-tricky on this one.
Then again, if you ask 100 soccer fans, 99 of them who aren't in Qatar would tell you they DO NOT want the 2022 World Cup to be in Qatar. The momentum to remove that thing from Qatar started building the moment they awarded it.
Fingers crossed Steve! If they can relocate the African cup of Nations from Morocco to teeny tiny Equatorial Guinea in a couple of months they can do the same to Qatar with 7 years. It l'll be tough but a disaster if the original plans go ahead.
True dat. My only quibble with what you just said (and I'm sure you know this too) it has ALREADY been a disaster. Even if the number of deaths related to immigrant worker conditions on stadium construction are slightly exaggerated, it is still WAY too many. One is too man. So, man ... if they take it away, pretty please do it soon! It's horrible what is happening there.
Do you have any insider info about the DP situation in MLS? What is this "supermax" DP i keep hearing about, and will it ever happen?
I really wish I did. I've heard a couple of things hear and there, but nothing solid enough (or that I'd like to give away here ... because we always "hear" things. The responsible thing is to vet the info, even if it means someone else gets it first.)
Me? I'd say keep it at three for now. What I don't want to see is the continued separation between SEA, LAG, TFC and a couple of others (obviously, NYC will be a big DP player, possible with a third biggie by this summer) and the moderate spenders. If they add a 4th or 5th, I really think you'll start to see MLS divide into two financial tiers, a la EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, etc.
I, for one, wanna see that about as much as I wanna see beer prices go through the roof.
MMMMM.... beer ......
And ... time! WHOA! 1 hour and 28 mins! I really would have thought I was getting this one earlier. What would you like to know about it, good sir / good madam?
I LOVE the concept. But it will most likely never happen here.
I wrote a three-part series for Soccergods back in February. (Part One is here ...http://fusion.net/story/93268/mls-promotion-relegation-pro-rel/) A lot of people thought I was anti-PRO/REL. I really am not. I just wrote my opinion about the obstacles. I mean, I'm certainly not anti-free beer ... but if someone asked me to write about "the impediments to free beer" I would do just that. It WOULD NOT make me anti-free beer.
Can anybody tell that I'm getting mighty thirsty??
How are the recent TV #s for MLS now that the games can be found at least in a regular time spot on the weekends on ESPN. Are they up, down, stay the same...or is the effect too early to tell? Do you think having a regular game at 5p est on ESPN will help in the long run?
TV numbers in MLS keep ticking upward, and I think they will continue to as MLS gets into more markets nationally. The trouble with MLS and those TV numbers is ALL THOSE mid-size markets where MLS really, truly is just a rumor. I live near Austin. Great freakin' town! But the awareness of MLS there is near zero. There are so many Austins out there. That's just gonna take time ... but when you compare it to awareness of baseball or NFL, well, you see the issue. (Because places like Austin have no NFL or MLB team, but they certainly KNOW about NFL or MLB.) ... on the ESPN destination viewing, yeah, I think it'll help, but not sure it's a game-changer. Just a helper. The real interesting thing will be looking at the numbers for those Sunday games when ... duh-duh-duh! ... the big monster enters the room in the late summer/ fall. The big monster, of course, is NFL.
Hi again Steve, I'm a big NE Revolution fan and live about 90 minutes away from Gillette Stadium. I know how you said getting soccer specific stadiums is imperative for the growth of MLS, how do you see the stadium situation panning out there? I'm not sure if I see anything actually panning out unless Boston goes forward with their 2024 Olympic bid.
I SOOO wish I had good news for you. The Krafts don't want to spend. (They HATE when we write that, by the way ... my call from one of the Revs PR people will be arriving in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... ). Stadiums are expensive. Stadiums in premium in-town real estate are bonkers-expensive, at least in terms of pro soccer financing. So, yeah, I'd love to see the Revs get the eff outta Gillette. But I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Heck, we might see a second stadium in Columbus by the ambitious owners there before NERevs get their (well-deserved) own ground. Sorry to be a buzz kill!
Steve I've asked media folks many times and never gotten an answer: are performance enhancing drugs an issue in professional soccer? I'm thinking less of say steroids than amphetamines and other uppers.
I don't THINK that's an issue. But I have to be honest, i don't know! We can't be naive about these things. Wish I had a better answer, but that's the best one I have in June of 2015.
Who do you think succeeds Sepp Blatter? Who do you think should?
I suppose the honest answer is that LOTS of people could start tomorrow and do a better job than Sepp Blatter simply because they wouldn't be sexist, see-no-evil, Mr Magoo types who are in it for the power and not for the game. Honestly, you could put a lot of former heads of state in there ... or former heads of member nations. Anybody who legitimately has a good reputation and is a good organizer. Most importantly, term limits! We don't need another KING in there, do we?
Is there a bias against Klinsmann among the soccer writers or sites?
Hmmm. Bias? I think the treatment he gets is generally fair. Then again, the sites that MIGHT be predisposed to bias, I gotta be honest, I don't look at them. There are some really good writers out there that I like, trusted colleagues who know their shit. But beyond those, I don't waste my time with the people who just write to be provocative. It only takes once or twice for me to see something effing stupid ... and I pretty much scratch them from my list of reads. ... So, yeah, I suppose there is some bias. I mean, it's journalism ... which is always a grab bag, no matter whether we are talking USMNT or movies or music or ... I dunno, goat farms.
Any chance to get the women to play topless? That's a soccer match I would watch
Is this Sepp Blatter??? C'mon, Sepp ... don't you have better things to do, man?