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  • The Accidental Footballer

  • By: Pat Nevin
  • Narrated by: Pat Nevin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (317 ratings)

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The Accidental Footballer

By: Pat Nevin
Narrated by: Pat Nevin
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Summary

The Sunday Times best seller

Pat Nevin never wanted to be a professional footballer.

His future was clear, he'd become a teacher like his brothers. There was only one problem with this - Pat was far too good to avoid attention. 

Raised in Glasgow's East End, Pat loved the game, playing for hours and obsessively following Celtic. But as he grew up, he also loved Joy Division, wearing his Indie 'gloom boom' coat and going on marches - hardly typical footballer behaviour! 

Placed firmly in the '80s and '90s, before the advent of the Premier League, and often with racism and violence present, Pat Nevin writes with honesty, insight and wry humour. We are transported vividly to Chelsea and Everton and colourfully diverted by John Peel, Morrissey and nights out at the Hacienda.

The Accidental Footballer is a different kind of football memoir. Capturing all the joys of professional football as well as its contradictions and conflicts, it's about being defined by your actions, not your job, and it is the perfect reminder of how life can throw you the most extraordinary surprises when you least expect it.

©2021 Pat Nevin (P)2021 Octopus Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Unusually vibrant and elegant with heroic doses of humour, insight and self-effacement, this is an absolute must-read for the football connoisseur." (Omid Djalili)

"I grew up captivated by Pat Nevin the player. As a man he taught me even more about the beauty of the game. One of football's great mavericks, and Chelsea's greatest players. And he can spin a mean tune too." (Sam Matterface)

"I used to walk miles to see Pat Nevin play football and I'd do the same now to read his thoughts. Always challenging, always entertaining." (Lord Sebastian Coe)

"A heroic outsider - a pleasure to read." (The Guardian)

"A fulsome evocation of football before the Premier League." (The i

"Honest, raw, revealing and very funny. How to live a life and career to the full. Insightful book about the most successful outsider inside football ever...." (Henry Winter, chief football writer, The Times

"Pat is a wonderful one-off...and this is the story of why that is." (John Murray, chief sports correspondent, BBC Radio 5 Live) 

"The biggest influence of my professional career both on and off the pitch." (Graeme Le Saux)   

"A refreshingly honest and thought-provoking autobiography. As deftly delivered as some of Pat's ball skills in his 1980's heyday." (ToffeeWeb) 

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

St Pat the Sanctimonious

Pat Nevin was a fine footballer and always different. This autobiography - as you would expect - is not your standard football fare, but, goodness, does it leave you with the cloying sense of sugary syrup. According to Pat, he was always the smartest, the most assured, the most sensitive, the most empathetic of anyone else. He even calls himself St Pat a couple of times.
Even his indy hip style seems a bit too studied.
Some of his claims lack consistency - eg if he was on a par with another player for a squad tournament (1986 World Cup), he’d rather they were chosen, but by the 1992 Euros he was so keen to play he didn’t acknowledge to the management that he wasn’t 100% fit.
A lot of interesting issues covered and Pat is always to the forefront, according to himself.
But in the opening passages when he talks about smiling when told by his boyhood club Celtic that he wasn’t good enough for them because he didn’t really want to be a footballer anyway, you are left with a feeling that lasts throughout the book, best captured in a Glasgow phrase Pat will know well - did ye, aye?

4 people found this helpful

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outstanding

I absolutely loved it. Waited ages since he firsts spoke about having started this and excitedly flew through it. His story about his dribbles and waves to his Dad always has me hooked and how he tells his side of the game is as interesting as I had anticipated. He would have been a star in today's game of millions and more importantly be far more heard in his beliefs and take on things. A proper man first, footballer second, and a damn good orator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • jk
  • 02-06-21

Enjoyable and Interesting!

What a thoroughly good listen , I really enjoyed this book,I had always liked Pat Nevin now I have the whole story to back that up,thanks for sharing the story!
Well narrated,another string to your bow ?!
From a long time Morton supporter!

2 people found this helpful

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Refreshing and honest

Fantastic life story and refreshingly honest. I could listen to Pat Nevin all day long. A genius on many levels and not a stereotypical footballer in any way. This is the way to lead your life and there are many life pointers within this read. Very enjoyable and hope book 2 is on the way.

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Such a delightful voice to listen too

When is part 2? I loved it but felt the book finished early. Bravo though!

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Review

This is a really good autobiography. An easy and entertaining listening. For football and miso’s

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There’s more

It’s a good book, you learn a lot about the man and the time that he played. I bought it to hear about how he took on the thugs at Chelsea after he mentioned it on a podcast (BBC fighting talk) but there was no real depth to that or the sectarian issues with Scotland that also just got a mention with no detail.

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Great, honest, well told life story.

Do not expect flashy stories about football excess or insider gossip from this book. It is an autobiography told in a straight and honest way, from someone with no axe to grind and wouldn't even if they found an axe. To be fair he might grind it if he needed to chop down a tree though other than that.
If you know who Pat Nevin is and want to hear how he stayed himself and didn't conform to the footballing stereotypes at the time, then it is a fantastic book.

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Honest, introspective and insightful

Having binged on dozens of football memoirs and autobiographies lately, I must admit that Pat's book wasn't top of my reading list. It really should have been. It does help that we share a lot of political ideals and a love of culture, but to weave these cultural experiences into what is essentially a narrative about a footballer's career, is exactly what makes this book special. The footballing side of the book does take the typically British route of narrative over technical aspects, but in Pat's case, this is perfectly fine, as it doesn't come across as tittle tattle. The book could even be another 50% longer and still be riveting throughout, as Pat's intriguing life outside of football deseverves a book of itself. Overall, a great read and one I may read again.

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Good if you're a fan and not wanting gossip.

Definitely worth a listen if you're a fan of Pats. Just be aware that it is painfully slow to begin with, maybe for the first couple of hours. And it's not the most exciting book ever in terms of shenanigans and revelations, but that's not what Pat's about. He's just an intelligent, down to earth guy, talking about his career, with a few stories to tell along the way.

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  • Richard
  • 30-08-21

For the love of the game

loved it, for anyone that loves football and music and defining what is important in life, great work Pat, what a footballer you are to .