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Pat Nevin Internet Interview

An Interview over the Internet with former Everton player Pat Nevin

Pat Nevin is a fast and tricky winger who played an important part in the late Eighties Everton team put together by Colin Harvey. The questions below were posed via the Internet by one of Finlands greatest Evertonians and upcoming classical musicians, Osmo Tapia E Rihl, and originally published in the Bullens Bulletin, fanzine of the Everton Supporters Club -- Finland Branch.

1. Was it always obvious that you would want to become a footballer?

  • No I never thought I would be a footballer, it was just luck really.

2. Have you always been a winger?

  • No, I was a centre-forward until I was 17, then I played on the wing for Scotland Under-18s in Finland in the junior European Championships [1982, I think]. I was made player of the tournament and we won the final 3-1. That was when I became a winger. I would love to have got some video of that tournament, to see how I played, but never did.

3. Did you model your game on some similar type of player -- like Willie Henderson of rangers or Jimmy Johnstone of Celtic?

  • Jimmy Johnstone of Celtic... He was my hero and I was a Celtic fan.

4. Is it true that one of the "big boys" in Scotland told you that they didn't believe you'd stand a chance in professional football? If yes, please tell us about your feelings then?

  • Celtic said I was too small and I wouldn't make it. I agreed and decided just to be a fan instead and go to watch them... until I had a lucky break with Clyde.

5. What was it like at Clyde?

  • I loved it, Craig Brown was the manager and he allowed me to dribble as much as I wanted. We won the 2nd Division the first year I was there.

6. How did you end up at Chelsea?

  • They tried to sign me for a year but I was studying for a degree so I said, "No." Then I gave in and decided to take a chance for a couple of years... it worked out pretty well. I'm still doing it 15 years later.

7. What was it like to play alongside Kerry Dixon -- one of the three leading British scorers during the Eighties?

  • Great! He made some of my bad crosses look like good ones. He was very fast and a natural scorer, we also had a good understanding on the field.

8. Who were your best mates at Chelsea?

  • All my mates were outside football. Though I did like all the lads at Chelsea -- a lad called John Millar and Graeme le Saux in particular.

9. What were the most important reasons to you leaving Chelsea? Yes, they went down in 1988 but were there other reasons?

  • Going down wasn't the reason at all. I had decided to leave months before. Really it had been made clear by the management that I was no longer wanted. When Everton came in I was delighted.

10. Why did you choose Everton?

  • It was a choice between Everton and a French club really. Everton won hands down because they are one of the biggest clubs in England and in Europe... I also really liked the manager, Colin Harvey.

11. You were part of a major rebuilding at Everton. Did you feel some extra pressure because of that, and because you cost a lot of money at the time (somebody has pointed that you cost more than John Barnes did for Liverpool)?

  • No because Tony Cottee was bought for more than twice as much a few days later... all the pressure was on him.

12. How was Colin Harvey like as a manager?

  • One of the nicest people I have ever met and a very good manager... If he hadn't been sacked when he was I think he would have quickly turned it round at Goodison.

13. What were the biggest differences between Chelsea and Everton?

  • The Everton system was more rigid In my earlier days at Chelsea, I was pretty much given a free reign to do what I liked.

14. Who do you think were the best players at Everton?

  • Too many to mention...if fit, Norman Whiteside would have been the greatest player I had ever played with.

15. Tell about your feelings after the FA Cup semi-final against Norwich in 1989!

         From sheer jubilation at the end of the game, scoring the winner to take us to the cup final, to the deepest low finding out what had happened at Hillsborough.

16. What were the main reasons from your point of view that started Harvey's Everton's slide? What did the team lack the most?

  • Just a bad start to the season. I am sure he would have turned it round.

17. During the later times of Harvey's reign, there were often rumours of bad team spirit. Were there any open quarrels between the manager and/or the players?

  • Yes there was a bit of cliquishness. I was never part of it, but two groups developed in the squad; stupid and childish really.

18. What did you think when you got to know that Kendall would return to Everton?

  • It was basically the end for me at Everton. He didn't rate me and I didn't rate him.

19. You were obviously a big crowd favourite at Chelsea. What kind of reception did you get from the Everton fans?

  • Always fantastic... they were always brilliant to me. I think that stuck in the throat of one or two.

20. During the 91/92 season, you only started seven league games for Everton, so it was clear that you weren't a part of Kendall's plans, especially as he had bought both Warzycha and Ward. How did you feel about that?

  • As above. I was playing the best football of my career and he wouldn't give me a game.... I was pretty bitter at the time.

21. You are also active in the Professional Footballers Association. What is it like?

  • As Chairman, it is hard but interesting work.

22. Was there any bitterness from any part when you left Everton?

  • Only between myself and Howard.

23. Tell about your move to Tranmere! Were you disappointed to drop a division?

  • Yes but I wasn't allowed to go to another top club when they came in for me, so it was a choice between Tranmere and Galatasary.

24. What is it like at Tranmere?

  • They are a very good team. And unlucky 3 years in a row not to get to the Premiership.

25. Several so-called "older" players are doing fine at the moment -- players like Ian Wright, Mark Hughes, Dave Watson et al. -- not to mention Nev Southall or John Aldridge. Do you feel you would still have a chance to play in the Premier League, even if it meant leaving Tranmere?

  • Unless you think you are good enough you should pack it in. Having played international football up until 6 months ago, I think I could hack it at the top.

26. Do you have plans to go into management or do you have some other plans concerning your post-playing days?

  • Not management. I already work in journalism and intend to continue doing that.

27. Who is the best manager you've worked with?

  • John Neal at Chelsea.

28. You are known for your affection to music and literature, at least more than most other professionals. Tell about your taste in music, what do you read etc.

  • I read a lot of classical literature but also some modern stuff. At the moment, I am writing a book about psychology in football. Musically, I like the stuff from the John Peel show on BBC radio.

29. Tell about your family and your background?

  • Born into a big and happy family. Now I am married with two children

30. What is the biggest thrill of your footballing career so far?

  • Playing for Scotland probably.

31. Who were your best mates at Everton?

  • I liked them all.

32. Are you interested in politics? Are you so to say politically "conscious"?

  • Yes, I would describe myself as a Christian socialist in the widest sense.

33. Who is your most difficult opponent?

  • That's classified information!

34. Certainly there were some easier rivals at opposing left-back positions as well. Who did you most enjoy playing against when playing for Everton?

  • It really has little to do with who the opponent is and more to do with how I am feeling.

35. What do you think of football fanzines? Do you read any? (You don't have to say, "yes, I like them" only because this will go to a fanzine, -- Joe Royle said he hates them.)

  • I've read and written for fanzines since there inception on the mid 80s. I also used to be into their predecessors, the music fanzines of the early 80s and late 70s.

36. Do you read magazines like FourFourTwo, Goal, 90 Minutes, Total Football etc? If yes, do you think their view of professional football is correct?

  • I write for Goal sometimes.

37. Who did you support as a boy?

  • Celtic

38. To fans, their favourite team is everything and most fans have at some stage been dreaming of playing for their favourite team. Do you think -- as a professional -- that this has any real importance to a pro? For example, Gary Speed was a well-known Evertonian before joining the blues. Do you think that it could give any extra dimension to his playing, -- something that he didn't have at Leeds (where he happened to win the league!)? How come a young lad that supports ManU through thick and thin can join ManCity (Andy Hinchcliffe) or an Everton fan can join Liverpool (McManaman, Fowler etc. --this list is too long!)?

  • Job security is the answer. Your families needs must come first.

39. How big a difference is there in players' wages between the Premier and the Nationwide Division 1 (approximately)?

  • As Players' Union Chairman, I know -- but it is classified information again, I'm sorry.

40. For how long time do you think you'll be still playing top professional football?

  • Maybe two years, who knows?

41. Which things did you train most as a young lad?

  • Skills all the time. Keepy-up and dribbling.

On behalf of all Evertonians, thank you, Pat Nevin

Interview Copyright of Osmo Tapio E Rihl


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