Chelsea Legends #10 - Pat Nevin
Our selection this time being the mercurial talent that was Pat Nevin
Nevin was signed by John Neal in May 1983, his transfer fee was a modest £95,000 from the Scottish club, Clyde, his impact on those who watched was to be massive.
Born in Glasgow, Pat Nevin couldn`t have been further away from the typical perception of a Glaswegian, he was very slight in build, very well spoken and smarter than your average footballer.
His signing was also a little strange. Nevin never considered a career in football as a priority but more as a sabbatical from his college studies. His physique was such that the then chairman, Ken Bates, sought assurances from John Neal that he could cut the mustard south of the border. Ken, off course, needn`t have worried as Pat went on to make 237 appearances for Chelsea scoring 45 goals.
The first season he wore blue it became obvious that Pat Nevin was something special, making his debut against Gillingham, Pat became a permanent fixture in the starting eleven, his silky skills often illuminating many a match.
One such occasion, and talked about many a time by those who witnessed it, was the time Pat took on Newcastle United single-handedly. With the three points already belonging to Chelsea, Pat went on a mazy run that saw him leave Newcastle player after Newcastle player trailing in his wake, in fact it`s often said that he beat some embers of that team twice before possession was finally conceded.
Pat`s skills that season helped Chelsea achieve their ambition of earning promotion and returning to the top flight. In the process the little winger scored a very healthy 14 goals but his greatest contribution to the side that season was his assists for the strike duo of Kerry Dixon and David Speedie.
In the top flight for the first time, Nevin continued to flourish although I still wince at some of the wild challenges opponents unleashed upon him after being mesmerised by his skills. But you never saw Pat complain; he simply picked himself up and got back on with the game.
If Pat had been a star feature for the side built by John Neal, his fortunes were not quite so good under the leadership of the subsequent managers - John Hollins and Bobby Campbell. Chelsea, as a side, were not playing the same free-flowing football and when the club suffered relegation, at the hands of Middlesbrough in the play-offs in 1988, it was perhaps inevitable that Pat would leave to remain in top-flight football.
Everton was his next stop, a fee of £925,000 exchanged hands and the mercurial talent was no longer a Chelsea player. But Pat always remembered his roots and when Chelsea had climbed back into the top flight he was given a rapturous reception by the Stamford Bridge faithful when he appeared for Everton against Chelsea, in SW6.
The fact that Pat scored for Everton proved to be a strange event in itself. After netting there was no celebration but just a polite ripple of applause from the Stamford Bridge faithful as an almost embarrassed Pat trotted back towards the half way line ready for the action to resume.
After Everton, Pat moved on to play for Tranmere Rovers but still his Chelsea allegiances stood him in good stead. Chelsea were playing Everton, at Goodison Park in a midweek fixture. Several of us traveled up and took our seats in the upper tier of the old away end. Soon we were aware of a slight figure shuffling along the row of seats to sit right next to me.
Disguised somewhat he looked a little embarrassed to be met with a chant of
"One Pat Nevin, there`s only one Pat Nevin, one Pat Nevin."
his presence had been rumbled and he`d shown two of his former paymasters exactly where his loyalties lay.
However, his foray into our end still had one last twist. I`d recently been working in Munich and had only just returned to England. I`d misjudged how cold the Bavarian capital was, especially in the winter and had subsequently purchased a huge Bayern Munich coat. Naturally, I was wearing it at Goodison and apparently it didn`t go unnoticed. Next morning a prominent tabloid suggested that Pat was in talks about ending his career in Germany, I`ll leave you to guess with which team.
As a Scottish international Pat also went on to win 28 caps.
Pat Nevin - #10 in our series of Chelsea Legends!
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