The game of life

For his first book, Scottish football legend PAT NEVIN has teamed up with a sports psychologist to discover what goes on in a footballer's mind. A game of two halves, perhaps. Words: Frank McKay

Football may attract the literary first eleven these days, but when it comes to the players themselves the preference is still for ghost written second division scribblings light on thought and heavy on tales of scoring, on and off the pitch.

Frank Worthington’s One Hump Or

'My big fear with the

Hollywoodisation of football is that you start getting caricatures of people. And caricatures are a

dangerous thing.’ Pat Nevin

Two got plus pomts simply because it didn’t labour under the awe inspiring title 'Frank Worthington: My Story'

All that may be set to change, however. Kilmarnock’s Pat Nevin may not have bestowed Nostradamus like powers on the Only An Excuse team by coming up With 'Existentialism My

Way'. But the former Chelsea and Everton star may yet find himself in trouble with the powers that be for writing a book seriously lacking in tales of bed hopping hairdressers keen to break into modelling. Hell, wee Pat even has the temerity to throw in a quote from Flaubert. But then what else would you expect from a player whose aesthetic tastes and preference for the likes of Joy Division over Lionel Richie saw him dubbed the first post- punk footballer by the NME?

A series of on the couch interviews between Nevin and psychologist Dr George Sik during season 96—97, In Ma Head, Son sets out to dispel some of the myths and prejudices that have grown up around players. Offering up some fascinating insights into the pressures to compete and conform that are the staple psychological diet of your average pro, the aim according to Nevin was to show that football isn't necessarily the dreamlike existence it’s cracked up to be.

'My big fear with the Hollywood-isation of football is that you start getting caricatures of people,’ he says. 'And caricatures are a dangerous thing. A lot of public perceptions of players are built on images that are often unfair and incorrect.

'I wanted to try and quash some of those images, and although the book is autobiographical, I’m also trying to say "Wait a minute, these are

On the c

footballers. They’re not all thick or greedy. Rather, just a nice, normal cross section of society.

As well as trouncing some hackneyed stereotypes, Nevin's account of dealing with injury; his Simpatico with the continental approach to fame; as well as his promotion of a holistic approach to helping young players prepare for life both in and out of football, should make interesting reading for coaches still entrenched in the old sink or svvim school of man management. Not that everyone is provuig receptive.

’l remember when l was involved in the players' union chatting to the guy in charge of youth development at

ouch: Pat Nevin reveals the inner workings of a footballer's mind

to Dr George Sik

Arsenal,’ says Nevin. ’My view was that clubs should provide a broad education for players that included pointers for his life. And his attitude was: "We pay them bloody well enough. They should know how to look after themselves, for God’s sake! Remember this is Arsena/ we’re talking about here." And then you see players like Merson or Tony Adams, and you can’t help thinking the problem with the sink or swim approach is that eventually someone ends up drowning.’

In Ma Head, Son by Pat Nevin and George Sik is published by Headline at £14.99.

the bookstop cafe

drink the latte eat the muffin read the book

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4 teviot place, edinburgh 0131 - 225 5298

opening times 10 - 8 mon - sat 12 - 8 sun

98 THE LIST 10 Oct—23 Oct 1997


Candia McWilliam and Sophie Dixon Wed 15 ()ct. 8pm. £2 (discounted on book purchase). Waterstone's. 153—157 Sauchiehall Street. 332 9105. McWilliam reads from Wait Till I Tell )iiu (Bloomsbury £14.99) and Dixon reads from All (Imii-n Up (Headline £9.99).

Sci-Fi Evening Thu 16 ()ct. 8pm. Waterstone's. 153—157 Sauchiehall Street. 332 9105. Peter F. Hamilton reads from his new book .'\-'i'u!rmiitmt rl/(‘llt’lllf.\'/l (Macmillan £17.99) and Michael Marshall- Smith reads from his second novel Spares (HarperC‘ollins £5.99).

Kevin Keegan and Pat Nevin Mon 20 ()ct. 8pm. £20 (including dinner and £2 off both books). National Stadium. Hampden Park. Further information from Waterstone‘s. l53——l57 Sauchiehall Street. 332 9105. Keegan will be reading from Mr Auto/iiogmp/rr (Little. Brown £16.99) and Nevin reads front In Mu Haul. Son (Headline £14.99). in what looks to be a very po ular event. See preview.

Write est Tue 21 ()ct. 1—2pm. Collins Gallery. Strathclyde University. Richmond Street (call 0141 548 3518 for further information). The first of a series of readings by distinguished authors. this one features William Mcllvanney.

Dorothy Paul Wed 22 ()ct. noon. Free. but ticketed. Dennistoun Library. 2a (‘raigpark 554 0055. Back on home turf to read from her autobiography Revelations ()['.-l Rejected Soprano (Harpetfollins £9.99). Des Dillon Wed 22 ()ct. 7pm. Bishopbriggs Library. 170 Kirkintilloch Road. 772 4513. Dillon reads from The Big lz'Iii/iti' (Argyll Publishing £6.99). his collection of short stories.

Jamie Stuart Wed 22 ()ct. 8pm. h'lilngavie Library. A11ander Road. 956 2776. The author reads front the Glaswegian version ()1. the Old Testament. 'Iillt' (i/(Iseuii' (ins/tel (Saint Andrew Press £4.25).

Evelyn Hood Thu 23 ()ct. 2pm. Barrhead Community Library. Glen Street. 577 3518. Hood reads from her book T/lt’ Dancing Stone (Little Brown £16.99).

Stuart Marshall Thu 23 ()ct. 7pm.

Brookwood Library. 166 Dryinen Road. 942 681 l. Marshall reads from his new book about golfing history and personalities. ()ne Updnr/ ()ll(' 72: (in (Stenlake Publishing £6.50).

New Writing Scotland Thu 23 ()ct. 7pm. John Smiths. 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472. The launch of iV(’ll' ll’rittng Scotland /5 with readings by some of the contributing authors.

Muriel Gray Thu 23 ()ct. Spin. Waterstone’s. Sauchiehall Street. 332 9105. Gray reads from her latest novel l'iirnui‘i' (Harperc'ollins £16.99). See preview.


Sebastian Barker and Hilary Davies Sun 12 ()ct. 7.30pm. £l.5() (£1). Fruitmarket Gallery. Market Street. 225 2383. Live poetrv.

Laurie Campbell Mon 13 ()ct. 6.30pm. James Thin. 57 George Street. 225 4495. The author of (Joli/en ling/er (Colin Batter Photography £16) gives a talk and slideshow.

Andrew Lowrie Tue I4 ()ct. 7pm. James Thin. South Bridge. 5566743. A presentation based around Lowrie‘s hook .lii/tn Btu ltun: xl I’I'i's/ii‘ti'riun (‘uru/ii'i' (Cauongate Books £9.99).

Candia McWilliam Tue 14 ()ct. 7pm. Watcrstone‘s. 12S Princes Street. 226 2666. McWilliam reads from her new book lliiit Till / Tell You (Blootttsbul'y £14.99).

Brian Pendreigh Wed 15 ()ct. 7pm. James Thin. South Bridge. 556 6743. The .S'i'utsntun journalist discusses his book Mel (ii/iron: :l lift’g’l'tl/I/H‘ ( Bloomsbury £16.99).

Matt Dickinson Wed 15 ()ct. 7pm. Waterstone’s. |3--l4 Princes Street. 556 3034. The first Briton to film at the summit of livcrest recounts a grim tale of endurance in The [Mt/Ii Zone (Hutchinson £ 16.99).

Palden Gyatso Thu 16 ()ct. 7pm. Waterstone's. l3-—14 Princes Street. 556 3034. A Tibetan monk who has spent 33 years in prison for non-violent protest. Palden Gyatso describes life under Chinese rule ill his book I'Tt't' Uni/er T/lt‘ .S'Itmi‘ (llai'vcl £17).

Ian Gow Mon 20 ()ct. 6.30pm. James Thin. 57 George Street. 225 4495. The author reads front his new book Smttislz Houses And (Jun/ens (Aurum Press £35). Dickie Bird Tue 21 ()ct. 1pm. John Men/.ies. 107 Princes Street. 2266214. The l famed cricket umpire will be signing copies 1 of his book My x1urohingmplzy (Hodder 8; Stoughton £17.99). New Writing Scotland 15 Tue 21 ()ct. 7pm. James Thin. South Bridge. 556 6743. The launch of New ll'riting Scotland [5 with readings by some of the contributing authors. Ian Gow Wed 22 ()ct. 7pm. Piershill Library, 30 Piershill Terrace. 529 5685. The author reads from his new book Seottislt Houses/1nd (Inn/ens (Aurum Press £35). Brian Osborne Wed 22 ()ct. 7pm. James Thin. South Bridge. 5566743. Authorof B/‘tttjfit'lt/ The Hanging Jtn/ee (Argyll Publishing £15.99). Eileen Ramsay Wed 22 ()ct. 7pm. ()xgangs Library. 343 ()xgangs Road North. 529 5549, This popular fiction author will be reading front her latest novel. ll'u/nin She/l Duvs (Little. Brown £16.99). Robin Robertson Wed 22 ()ct. 7.30pm. £4 (£3). The Netherhow. 43 «45 High Street. 5569579. Poetry from Robertson. whose first collection is entitled :1 l’uintet/ l-"ii'lil. Meg Henderson Thu 23 ()ct. 2pm. (‘raigmillar Library. 7 Niddrie Marischal Gardens. 529 5597. Author of “(t/t (ill: .4 Title ()f't'li'i/t'liunk (Flamingo £12.99). Muriel Gray and lsla Dewar Thu 23 Oct. 3 7pm. Waterstonc‘s. 13- 14 Princes Street. 1 556 3034. Gray reads from I’iirnrtt’i' ' l

(Harpert‘ollins £16.99) arid Dewars reads from (firing ('p ()n ()it/inurr (Headline £9,991.

Jancis Robinson Thu 23 ()ct, 7pm. £7.50. Conference Room. 1idinburgh University. 1 11 South (‘ollege Street (tickets from James Thin. South Bridge. 5566743). Wine tasting with the author of ('oii/i’i‘s‘t'oits ()fA | irtiiu Lam- (Viking Press c 17.99). ! Alistair Davidson Thu 23 ()ct. Spin. Leith ' Library. 28—30 Ferry Road. 529 5517. .-\n insight into nature based around Sm Lot-hi

r- Scot/(unlit living l.u/ii/.i'i'n/u'.r (Scottish ' Natural Heritage £3). I