'Mine host' Pedersen raises a glass to Super Kev

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

HENRIK Pedersen called time on his own playing career earlier this year but believes his former team-mate Kevin Davies has a few rounds left before deciding to do the same.

Former Reebok striker Pedersen chalked up 18 years as a professional, six of which were spent playing under Sam Allardyce in the Premier League.

He hung up his boots in December and moved full-time into the pub trade, managing a sports bar back home in Silkeborg named Målet, which translates to “The Goal.”

And when Davies stepped out against Watford last weekend to make his 400th Bolton appearance the 37-year-old, who was well-known in these parts for his “peacock” goal celebration, admits he raised a glass in honour of the Wanderers legend.

“It’s a great achievement,” he told The Bolton News. “Only Kevin will know when he wants to leave the game. If he is fit and still enjoying himself then who knows how long he will play for?

“I looked at it and thought ‘I have been told what to do every weekend for 18 years and now I have two kids, aged two and four, and I want to spend some time with them.

“In a few years then maybe I’ll look to go back into management but it is an individual choice. No-one can make it for you.

“Kev was a great guy to work with, liked a laugh and a joke, and I’m pleased he has stayed with Bolton for all these years. He should be proud of his record.”

Pedersen played for four seasons in the top flight with Davies before moving on to Hull City, and then finishing his career back in Denmark with Silkeborg IF, where he racked up more than 200 appearances.

He was also in the team as Davies made his debut against Manchester United in 2003 but admits his memories of the occasion at Old Trafford are clouded by another debutant that afternoon.

“Cristiano Ronaldo came on with about 30 minutes to go and absolutely tore us to pieces,” he said. “I think it was only 1-0 when he came on, but it ended up being four and could have been more.

“It wasn’t the start Kevin would have wanted, I’m sure. He’d been on trial in the summer so he’d already done the hard work in getting a deal with the club. Thankfully, things got better from there.

“He was exactly the right kind of striker for Big Sam’s system. As a big, strong striker he adapted so quickly into the system and is always a handful for defenders.”

Pedersen is due back in town later this month when Wanderers host Hull City, and is also hoping to join another Wanderers favourite, Jay Jay Okocha, at a reunion of the Tigers’ promotion-winning squad of 2008 – a team managed by Phil Brown.

Both Davies and Pedersen have taken their first step towards a coaching career by passing the UEFA B Licence, and while the Dane has opted to spend some time out of the game, he believes the Wanderers skipper would be a prime candidate for management someday.

“I think if you are that experienced and been captain for so many games you should know a lot about it,” he said. “Kevin has been there and done it. He knows how to handle the pressure and knows a bit about that side of things because when you are the skipper, you deal directly with the manager for certain things.

“That is a good start for him, and I think he would do well.

“In a few years I may go down that road too. But right now, I am enjoying doing what I want on a Saturday too much!”

Pedersen’s pub can be found at Bindslevs Plads in Silkeborg and also has a Facebook page facebook.com/SportspubbenMalet.

And the former Whites star has already had a few friendly faces drop by since taking over the bar three months ago.

“We have had a few Bolton fans come in,” he said. “In fact, the chairman of the Norwegian Supporters’ Club dropped by when he was on holiday in Denmark.”

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