You may well be thinking “what on earth is Pat Nevin doing in this month’s issue of Bido Lito!?” Under usual circumstances we would indeed share your bemusement. Yet this is no ordinary month, as 8th June seems the commencement of the UEFA European Championships. We’ve teamed up with Camp And Furnace to bring you a rather marvellous (and particularly Italia 90-esque) wall planner pull-out on page 16 of this month’s magazine. We thought there could be no better way to celebrate than to hook up SPIEL MAGAZINE’s Paul Gleeson with the former Tranmere, Scotland and Everton legend PAT NEVIN. The tricky Glaswegian is as famed in musical circles for his All Tomorrow’s Parties DJ sets as his deadly wing wizardry and we’ve been waiting for ages to interview him. This just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
Pat Nevin is unique amongst footballers. Not only do fans revere him for his on the pitch ability but also for his taste in music, literature and art. Having turned to football relatively late, his pre-football existence was spent studying towards a degree in art from Glasgow Caledonian University.
“I kind of fell into football a wee bit later. So when I was about 19 my interests were more like what a student’s would be, whether it be music, politics, theatre, arts. You know, they were my interests.”
An existentialist in the realm of fatalists, Nevin is very much a counter-hegemonic status symbol within the sporting world. With a musical vocabulary that stretches from pre-punk acts such as Bowie through to Joy Division, The Fall and early Simple Minds, it’s easy to see why.
Playing during the 80s and 90s, Nevin was at his height during a period of relative affluence for the British music scene.
“In the early days I moved down to London but it was a bad time to be away from Glasgow because Glasgow was fantastic for music at that time. You know, there were a lot of really good bands: Orange Juice, the Mary Chain were coming out. It was a bad time to leave.
“I kind of didn’t really bother where I was [though], because even when I was in London I’d go up to Manchester and go the Hacienda in the early days, you know, before Madchester happened.”
Unfortunately for Nevin, his arrival at Everton in 1989 coincided with a moribund time for Liverpool’s music scene. In contrast to the boom that was enveloping Manchester, Liverpool was experiencing a relative dip after the wave of bands that had emerged in the early 80s.
“My favourite time for music in Liverpool was probably just a little while before I arrived in Liverpool, about 4-5 years before I arrived; bands like Teardrop Explodes, Echo, The La’s, Pink Industry. There was a real slew, but at the time Liverpool was having a bit of a quiet time when I got there.”
Preceding his move to Tranmere Rovers in 1992, Nevin was called up to represent Scotland at the 1992 European Championships in Sweden. Despite professing to be a fan of Swedish music, this wasn’t the case at the time: “Sadly the music wasn’t quite so good then as it is now.” Although the music – which was more Abba-inspired Euro-pop at its finest rather than Sweden’s more recent musical endeavours – was poor, it presented Pat with the opportunity to indulge in his other hobbies: writing and literature.
“I was writing for newspapers and the NME at the time; I was also a fanatical reader as well, so the idea of someone saying to me ‘you’re going to be in a nice hotel, with nice facilities’ for 2,3 [or] 4 weeks – it was party time.”
With this year’s tournament just around the corner, and with it the nuanced hyperbole that engulfs each England team with inflated expectations, I venture a question as to whom Pat will be backing for this year’s title.
“It’s kind of hard to say. I honestly think Torres could be phenomenal, I think he could be amazing. Given an opportunity in front of that team – Spain need something extra, there’s something missing at the moment. I would stick Torres up the top and that’d be the answer.”
Given Torres’ troubles throughout the season, it’s a brave choice, especially with a Germany squad possessing the mercurial talents of Özil, Götze and Müller eagerly waiting to take the title from Spain that they won on a balmy night four years ago in Vienna.
It would be a brave choice also to bet against Pat, such is his elevated position of punditry, thanks to regular slots on Match Of The Day and BBC Radio 5 Live. We tried to tie him down for a DJ slot at the Camp and Furnace Fan Park during the Euros, but he’ll be far too busy enthusing about the talents of Adam Matuszczyk and Denis Glushakov from a commentary box in the Ukraine. Mind you, we know where he’d prefer to be…