EXCLUSIVE: 'Humbled' Alan Davidson hails greatest-ever gala

The Socceroos legend was honoured by his selection in Australia's greatest-ever XI, and says the event demonstrates the growing professionalism of the game

By Paddy Higgs

Alan Davidson has described his place in Australia's greatest-ever XI as "mind-boggling", and believes the gala event demonstrates how far the game has come since his time as a player.

Already a Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame member, Davidson's career was further honoured by his selection at left-back in a star-laden XI at Thursday's Australia's Greatest Ever Footballers gala in Sydney.

Harry Kewell was named Australia's greatest ever footballer, also joining the likes of Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer, Johnny Warren and Ray Baartz in the greatest XI.

Capped 76 times for Australia, Davidson was named alongside current Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, Craig Moore and Joe Marston in defence, beating out the likes of Scott Chipperfield and Stan Lazaridis for the place at left-back.

"Being called up, that was obviously the highlight of the night.  To look at the team that they picked… and there were a lot of big names that didn't make it, too… It's really humbling," former Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne defensive utility Davidson told Goal.com on Friday.

"You come to enjoy the night and see all the guys.  When you go through the list and look at all the names and look at their profiles - we know who they are.

"Then, once you're selected, it's a bit mind-boggling actually.

"There's a lot of guys [that could have made it], like Paul Okon… John Aloisi… there's a lot of names, [like] the Vidmar boys.  It's not easy.

"I'm really humbled.  I'm starting to get a gist of it [of how tough selection was], because I've had so many phone calls and so many texts have come into today.  I'm thinking, '… how did they flaming pick this?'."

Since retiring from playing in 1998, Davidson has stayed involved in football through youth coaching and is heavily involved in the juniors at Victorian Premier League club Northcote City.

He also sits on the A-League's review panel, and acts as an advisor to Football Federation Victoria's board of directors.

It leaves him well placed to judge just how far the game has come since his days as a player.

"It was a great night for football as well, because these occasions during our time [were rare]," the 52-year-old said.

"I was talking to Baartzy [fellow team member Ray Baartz] this morning, and I was saying, 'We never used to have occasions like this'.  It was never heard of.

"It was good to be part of it, and with the game moving forward and the professionalism coming into the game and the profile of the game growing through the Socceroos and Asia and all those things…

"For us old-timers, it's great to be acknowledged and it's great to be involved in the game in some level and to be remembered.  We've moved on our lives, our careers have finished and we've got a lot of memories… great memories.

"To be able to come up here and see guys from all over was fantastic."

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