The Quietus | Features | Baker’s dozen
Who is the normal footballer? A question for another time and place, maybe but whatever that might be, that wouldn’t include Pat Nevin. As the title of his new book, The accidental footballer hints, (Octopus Books, released May 25), the talented Scotland winger Clyde, Chelsea, Everton and Tranmere could have carved out a career in higher education or been sucked into the world of independent music to which he was under the influence. But no, he chose fitba ‘, and international recognition, terrace worship, being the subject of a song by Vini Reilly and getting kicked by Kenny “Sit on the Ball” Wharton awaited him. “It was interesting telling these stories, because I was an underdog in the game, and the game changed a bit at that point. I just saw football as fun. And looking at the way footballers behaved in general, as an underdog (because I had different interests and tastes), that was the fun element for me. Especially when writing the book. I loved writing it and once I started I couldn’t stop.
Nevin was a player and a person of his time and his past, and he tells it well. The reader may note that the book is often a principle book. For example, and to his great credit, Nevin was one of the few in the game at the time to actively and publicly speak out against the open racism that was once inevitable on the terraces and now finds its incubus online.
Now employed as a match expert on BBC Radio 5Live, Nevin is one of the few voices in the football world who can be trusted not to grow big or a willing puppet in the choking meeja circus. game. In short, he focuses on the subject and says it frankly. He’s also a popular DJ who likes to mix: favorites being My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon” (both versions at the same time) and the Stones’ “2000 Light Years From Home”, “which is pure psychedelia. I integrate this record into my DJ sets. In the right club, it sounds absolutely awesome.
To talk to Nevin is to reveal his passion for alternative music. The album covers are mounted in frames behind him. I spot the Bunnymen Heaven here, MBV without love, associates’ Sulk, The Go-Betweens’ 16 lovers alley, Bowie’s Hero and singles from Orange Juice and New Order. “Besides, they change a lot. I was on breakfast television recently on a Monday. Now the last thing you want to see is my face in the morning. However, if you leave the LPs in the background, you get people pointing fingers, “oh look he likes that! This passion led him to become a close friend of John Peel, whom Nevin openly cites as his musical mentor. “I lived next to his Fifty Fifty. I was always going in and always recording it to see if I could find something new. I remember finding ‘Revolutionary Spirit’ by the Wild Swans, things like that. This fandom shines through the entire interview. Nevin comes across as the companion who at the time recorded everything and then sent you a copy of the tape.
Pat Nevin’s The Accidental Footballer is now available through Orion Books. Click on Nevin’s image below to start reading his Baker’s Dozen pick