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What happened when a Champions League winner pitched up in Non-League football?

Edgar Davids' spell in Non-League football with Barnet was dominated by one thing. Cards.

Say the word ‘Pitbull’ now and most people will start reciting the lyrics to ‘I Know you want me’.

But any mention of Pitbulls in the Nineties and Noughties only meant one thing.

Edgar Davids.

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You’ll never be as cool as Edgar Davids in the 90s

You’ll never be as cool as Edgar Davids in the 90s

Davids’ footballing CV boasts Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona, both Milan clubs and Spurs as well as a stint at Crystal Palace.

In his trophy room you’ll find, among other things, Champions League, UEFA Cup, Serie A and Eredivise medals.

But the only thing we’re interested in is the end of his career, when he pitched up at Barnet. Lower league football and Pitbulls. A match made in heaven?

Nope, that’s not Holland

Action Images - Reuters
Nope, that’s not Holland

A shaky start

Davids had settled in London after leaving Palace and, following a spell managing Sunday League side Brixton United, was tempted into dusting off his boots to join Barnet as a player-manager.

The man with 74 international caps for Holland to his name couldn’t stop Barnet from being relegated out of League Two, but he didn’t jump ship.

Instead, Davids stayed to help try and guide Barnet out of the Conference. Non-League referees probably wish he hadn’t bothered.

Hands up if you love snapping people in tackles

PA:Press Association
Hands up if you love snapping people in tackles

What’s in a number?

Not wanting to cause a scene, Davids chose a very reasonable and subtle number ahead of the 2013/14 season.

Scrap that.

The maverick Dutchman picked the number one shirt, eager to ‘start a trend’ among midfielders.

Barnet’s goalkeeper at the time, former Arsenal stopped Graham Stack, didn’t have a say in the matter.

Holland’s number one

Holland’s number one

Collecting cards

Davids took some adjusting to the pace of the Conference.

Or maybe the referees of the Conference just took some adjusting to get used Davids.

Either way, in the nine games he played for Barnet that season, including an outing in the FA Cup, Davids picked up six yellow cards and three red cards.

That included sparking a 22-man brawl against Wrexham.

End of the road

One 18 January 2014 Davids decided enough was enough.

The Dutchman retired from football completely, fittingly earning a red card in his final game.

He came, he saw, he got relegated and sent off, then he left.

The shin pads of the Conference breathed a heavy sigh of relief.