Two former players discuss their careers and memoirs with Richard Foster
It has been a memorable year for football in the U.K. with Scotland and Wales at the Euros and England’s exciting progress to the final. Footballer Pat Nevin, formerly of Chelsea, Everton and Scotland has recently published his memoir The Accidental Footballer. He will be in discussion with Ricky Hill, born in Brent and former Luton Town and England player whose book Love of the Game: The Man who Brought the Rooney Rule to the U.K. was also published a few months ago. Both books are reflections from former players who for different reasons were considered outsiders. Hill has campaigned for greater recognition of black coaches and managers and Nevin has always been vocal in his stand against racism. The referee will be local football writer Richard Foster, whose books include Premier League Nuggets.
Starting at Celtic Boys Club, over a 20-year career, Pat Nevin has played for Clyde, Chelsea, Everton, Tranmere Rovers, Kilmarnock and Motherwell. He has won 28 caps for Scotland across a ten-year international career. Nevin was chair of the Professional Footballer’s Association and since retiring as a player has worked as chief executive of Motherwell. He is now a football writer and broadcaster for Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, Chelsea TV, BBC Sport website, and Ireland’s Newstalk Radio. A voracious vinyl collector, he still loves Indie music and the Arts, and can be often caught DJing at clubs or festivals around the UK.
Ricky Hill grew up beneath the shadow of Wembley Stadium, where he sold programmes at England games as a boy. When he was seven, he was told by a teacher that only two in every hundred boys could possibly make it as a professional footballer. Ricky told her he would be one of the two. Ten years later, this gifted midfielder scored on his debut for Luton Town. Ricky stayed with Luton for 14 years, made 508 appearances and became a club legend. Emerging at a time when racism was rife, he was only the fourth black player to represent England. Later, as a coach, he had to fight to smash down barriers holding back black managers, and devised an equivalent of the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’ to help BAME applicants secure senior coaching jobs in English football. While Ricky has won trophies and awards overseas, he has been overlooked in this country. In Love of the Game, he tells the shocking story behind his short spell in charge of Luton, and reveals just how much the football decision-makers in England have ignored him and other black coaches.