As a fan in my mid-20s I’m not familiar with the likes of Bunny Bell, Dixie Dean, Steve Coppell, Ron Yeats and Dave Russell. But I’m very fortunate to have seen quite a number of highly talented footballers grace the white shirt of the Rovers during my time following the club.
When I began supporting the club, the Tranmere side included stars such as Ian Muir, Jim Harvey and Eric Nixon. In the 1990s we enjoyed watching the likes of Johnny Morrissey, John McGreal and, of course, John Aldridge. Then coming into the 2000s, Tranmere have had stars like Jason Koumas, Gareth Roberts and Iain Hume.
All of the aforementioned players are worthy of great praise as they served the club well and are all great footballers. But there is one who stands out for me as the best that I’ve seen. Who is it? Pat Nevin.
The Scotsman was an incredibly talented footballer. Despite being in the twilight of his career when he arrived at Prenton Park in 1992, Nevin demonstrated his immense ability during his time at Tranmere.
He was an extremely skilful winger who had ball control like nobody I’ve ever seen. The ball was almost glued to his boots when he ran with the ball, and he could do whatever he wanted to with a ball.
I would arrive at the ground early on match days just to watch Pat warming up. As a youngster wanting to progress my own game, I watched on with envy as Nevin performed his endless bag of tricks with a football. As much as I tried and practised those tricks, I just couldn’t match his finesse and style. He knew exactly where the ball was going when he touched it, I didn’t!
I was so upset when he left the club. He went back up to Scotland with Motherwell and was replaced at Prenton Park by enigmatic Ivano Bonetti. The Italian had recovered from having sandwiches thrown at him by Brian Laws but he wasn’t in the same league as Nevin.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.