“You were lucky to get a ham roll,” recalls Kelvin Davis when he thinks back to a time that seems almost implausible when talking about Southampton Football Club in the present day.
After two tough seasons on a personal level, Davis was part of the Saints squad which was hit by administration in the second half of the 2008/09 season.
At that stage it might have been tempting for the goalkeeper to find a way out of the club, but after all he had been through, Davis was prepared for the rather different off pitch challenge that had come his way.
“That was the time when it was more than football because you’re then thinking about the guys that aren’t getting paid,” he said.
“You have to start looking seriously at your own personal finances and how you’re going to make things work at home and I suppose from that point of view it was the most worrying.
“My first season at the club I found quite difficult which was down to not getting off to the best of starts and still being scarred from the season I had at Sunderland, but having seen what’s gone on at Aston Villa this year I know that the guys who have been relegated– that’s something that stays with you for a long time.
“Well, if you care it does. If you don’t care, it’s a lot easier,” he said with a grin, before recalling the dark days that came during the summer of 2009.
“It’s so difficult,” he stressed. “I can remember when breakfast wasn’t put on at the club, while lunch was a ham roll or two if you were very lucky.
“Today I’ve just finished my three-course lunch at the training ground and had egg on toast for breakfast this morning, which was served by three chefs and there are guys who are there to wait on you and look after you.
“That’s one snippet of how far the club has come.
“The facilities we have here now are fantastic and we’re here to compete with the very best in the league now, so to sit back and do an interview like this over the time that I’ve been here is a feeling of immense pride, and to have worn the shirt as many times as I’ve had, and I’ve reached my personal milestones along the way, it’s been amazing.
“Football is so organic, it changes and you’ve got to keep pushing on and keep pushing for the next level and the next stage because we know that if you stand still in this sport then you don’t go forward, so it’s great for me to sit back and think about what’s happened here in my time, but I’m already thinking about how I can help the club in the future.”