AUG
25
2013
Exclusive Interview With Everton Legend Pat Heard
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Blue Echo Interviews Pat Heard

This guy is an amazing "Jack Of All Trades" if you like. Could you ever imagine a player from today's game teaching you to drive and stop you from smoking Being involved with the F troop?

Ladies and Gentlemen read this article and enjoy Pat Heard who I have remained in contact with since this was recorded a good 8 weeks ago.

Q1/ HOW DID YOU JOIN EVERTON FC

A1/ I'm a Hull lad and obviously I was going to join my local club when I was 16 years of age. I was actually playing in a men's Sunday league and had interest from Leeds United and Middlesborough.

The manager of the Sunday league team that I played for was a guy called Jeff Barmby  (Nick's father) who got me fixed up with Everton.

I had a run out in the B team and they kept asking me to go across and eventually I got an apprenticeship.

At that time they (Everton) took on 5 apprentices and I was the only Englishman.  2 Welshmen, 2 Irish and me.

Q2/ YOU MAKE YOUR DEBUT AT BOLTON WANDERERS ON NEW YEARS DAY 1979. TELL ME ABOUT IT.

A2/ I had just passed my driving test and I was going back to Hull when I wasn't supposed to. I'm driving across the pennines and the snow was bad then I decided to turn back to Liverpool as I had this feeling.

When I got back, the family that I stayed with John and Betty Duvall said that Everton had been ringing up asking for me and told me to get to Bellefield. Jimmy and Betty have a son called Anton who is an avid Bluekipper follower. (Well done)

Joe McBride had also got called into the squad as well. Anyway New Years eve and we stayed in a hotel in Bolton and we could hear all the festivities going on.

I remember going out on the pitch with Joe (McBride) a good hour before kickoff wondering what footwear to play in as the astroturf boots had just come out. Next thing Eric Harrison shouts us over and says "Come On you're playing" I think Martin Dobson had failed a fitness test.

The game was abandoned at Half time, it ended 1-1, I think Andy King scored for us and Peter Reid then of Bolton got injured. Unfortunately, the statts never got into the record books with it getting called off.

Q3/ YOU ONLY MADE 9 LEAGUE APPEARANCES FOR THE TOFFEES. TELL ME ABOUT THEM AND WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED NOT TO CEMENT A FIST TEAM PLACE?

A3/ I don't think we played again for a good month after and we played Southampton away and I think we got beat 3-0. I played with Mick Lyons and I'm sure Alan Ball was playing for Southampton that day.

The next game I played at left back and faced Trevor Francis who made his first game for Nottingham Forest after his £1m move which was a memorable game for me. Then there was the Merseyside Derby at Anfield when we drew 1-1 with Andy King scoring for us.

To be honest I don't remember much about it and the season then finished which was 1978/79 and my contract came to an end.

In the summer Gordon Lee kept ringing me as we didn't have agents in them days. He was asking me "Did I want this, did I want that?"

He took me along in pre season to Hertha Berlin then onto Belgium for a tournament which involved Sparta Prague, Royal Antwerp, Beerschott and ourselves.

My brother (Gary) was stationed in Berlin with the Irish Rangers and he brought a few of his mates along to watch the game against Hertha which we lost 3-0 and Colin Todd walked off the pitch half way through the game saying that I was never to play right back again. I had Andy King telling me that I should be playing on the left hand side, Mick Lyons telling me that I should be playing in midfield.

After the game I had a night out with my brother then we followed on to Belgium the next day.

A funny story I remember from the trip to Belgium and it was an afternoon. We never had a lot to do but Gordon Lee, Jim McGregor and Eric Harrison took us to the cinema. They sat at the front as the rest of the lads sat at the back.

I sat with Mick Lyons, Billy Wright, Andy King, George Wood, Trevor Ross and a few others as we were known as the "F" Troop.

The film we went to see was called the Warrior. Anyway the lads started to sneak out of the cinema and head for the pub. I stayed with Bob Latchford and Dave Thomas I think it was. 

Just before the end of the film, the lads returned and the boss turned around and said "Good film this isn't it lads?" and we said "Brilliant boss!"

That summer I held out for a massive £10 pay rise!!!

Q4/ WHO ARE THE BEST COACHES YOU WORKED FOR AT EVERTON?

A4/ When I first joined Everton as an apprentice, Colin Harvey was my coach and up until then I had never met him up until July 4th 1976.

Colin had just retired from playing with Sheffield Wednesday and Everton became Colin's first coaching job. Colin was a great coach who taught me a lot.

Q5/ MARK HIGGINS, KEVIN RATCLIFFE TO NAME A FEW INCLUDING YOURSELF CAME THROUGH INTO THE FIRST TEAM. DID THAT SURPRISE YOU?

A5/ There was Steve McMahon and Gary Stevens too. Everton as you know were called the school of science.

I remember my first day at Everton and my mum and dad took me down there and I thought what have I done. But I guess it's like the army isn't it. When you first join you meet up and you just get on with it and muck in don't you?

We were 5 apprentices joining and there was the likes of Mark Higgins who was a second year apprentice with the likes of Dave Esser, Barry Wellings and Nigel Groome who were great lads.

I remember when pre season started. We went in a week before the senior pros came in as we used to go to Ainsdale.

The first time we met the senior players  like Bob Latchford, Dai, Davies, Mick Lyons and Andy King was at the Pontins site in Southport as Everton football club had accommodated all the chalets for the players to get changed as us apprentices had to lay the kits out for them.

The lads used to run up and down the sand dunes then spent the afternoon on the beach. That's how it was in those days.

Then after that was all over we went back to Bellefield then it was the old routine. We had to put the kits out and made sure that everything was issued correctly otherwise some of the senior players would let you know about it.

When you entered the dressing room after knocking on the door, some players were friendlier than others but as a young lad it was a scary place to be.

Q6 WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER?

A6/ I would have to say Colin Harvey. I could have joined my hometown team Hull City and would have been a big fish in a little pond. And when I took a chance and decided to join Everton I started right at the bottom of the ladder.

I didn't know a single person there. You can ask Kevin Ratcliffe, Steve McMahon and Neil Robinson, you had to be strong minded.

You would be up there and you would get knocked right back down again. Me and Kevin Ratcliffe still laugh at things now.

Colin was total football and he knew what he was talking about Things as you know picked up for Everton in the 80's and Colin would have had some influence on that. He was fantastic. He would praise you but it would be through gritted teeth.

Q7/ DO YOU HAVE ANY DEALINGS WITH EVERTON'S FORMER PLAYERS FOUNDATION?

A7/ Well no I don't as I'm tied up with the Aston Villa punditry. I see Derek Mountfield the odd time who asks me to attend the charity golf days but we never get around to it.

I believe it's different to the one at Villa and its nice knowing that the former players foundation is there should I need it. Its nice knowing that they are only a phone call away should I need it and It seems to be doing very well.

 

Q8/ YOU EVENTUALLY MOVE TO VILLA PARK. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR HIGHLIGHTS THERE?

A8/  I didn't know anything about the move at all. I was at Bellefield around 2pm one afternoon to board a coach to play in a reserve game away at Nottingham Forest.

Colin Harvey pulled me to one side to say that I wasn't going and the gaffer (Gordon Lee) wanted to see me in his office at 9am the next morning as I think there is a move on for you.

So next day, I went to see Gordon and he told me that he was after a player and there had been an enquiry for me. So he told me that he wanted me to go down and meet the manager without even telling me who it was.

He then told me it was Aston Villa. He told me to get straight down the M6 as Ron Saunders the Aston Villa manager was waiting for me. I said "I can't go down there as I haven't got a car but could drive as I couldn't afford one!

Harry Cooke who was the chief scout for Everton in them days took me as he knew Ron Saunders.

While I was having talks at Villa, John Gidman was with Gordon Lee discussing a move in the opposite direction and the phone kept ringing in Ron's office as it appeared Giddy was holding Gordon to ransom saying that I was getting this and getting that.

It got to about 4pm in the afternoon and Ron Saunders said to me "What do you think?"

I said "I was quite happy to sign as I was doubling my money" but only later, Harry Cooke told me that the move would have been void if John Gidman would not have moved the other way.

The following day I was in my digs packing away all my stuff and had to tell my landlady that I was no longer an Everton player.

I sometimes used to go out with the lads on a Wednesday night to a pub (The Derby Arms) which hosted country and Western nights and again I broke the news to them that I was leaving.

My first season at Villa I missed most of due to the fact I had health problems. When I felt better the team had won the league and we were in the European cup the next season. I actually played in a couple of earlier rounds then Ron Saunders walked out and Tony Barton took over.

On the night of the European Cup final in Rotterdam there was 18 of us and I think the majority of us knew who the team was going to be. There was a dilemma over who the full back was going to be. It was a tossup between Gary Williams and Colin Gibson. Gary eventually got the nod, I was on the bench and now have a European Cup winners medal.

They were happy times and when I go back it's nice to see my name on the wall to be associated with that team that won the trophy.

 

Q9/ YOU PLAYED FOR JACK CHARLTON AT 2 DIFFERENT CLUBS. WHAT QUALITIES DID BIG JACK HAVE?

A9/ (Laughing) I could tell you some stories about Jack.

Jack  was old school and he would pick his eleven and he told you that you were good enough. There was just an aura about the guy. I played under him twice, one being Sheffield Wednesday the other being at Newcastle United and even lived with him for a short time.

He used to take me shooting which was one of his hobbies. He used to come out onto the training ground with his flat cap and a pair of wellies on. Any supporters stood on the touch line he would go over to them and bum a cigarette off them!!

When he (Jack) was at Newcastle after Kevin Keegan left he signed Gary Megson and George Reilly and myself.

10/ YOU EVENTUALLY PLAYED FOR YOUR HOMETOWN TEAM HULLCITY. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN VERY PLEASING FOR YOU?

A10/ That was one of the hardest things I had to do. Before when I was at Everton and Aston Villa I was Pat Heard and people used to watch you on Match Of The Day.

At Hull it was different to the point where I was a hometown player, there would be people who knew me from school so it makes me appreciate now when I see young players playing for their hometown clubs.

It was great to have played for them and if I have to be honest that was the best dressing room that I had ever been in throughout my career. After Hull I went on to Rotherham United and won a fourth division winners medal!!

Q11/ AFTER A SPELL AT HULL CITY YOU MOVED TO BRUNEI. AN INTERESTING LOCATION, WHY?

A11/ After Hull I went on to Rotherham United and won a fourth division winners medal!! You are forgetting that (Laughter).

Mick Lyons was out there as manager and I knew him from our time at Everton and Sheffield Wednesday when we'd been team-mates together. I just got a phone-call out the blue asking if I'd fancy a season out in the Malaysian league playing for Brunei - it was a country but they still played in the Malaysian league.

I didn't have a clue where Brunei was in the world or anything about it. But at that time in my life I wasn't doing anything. I'd retired or should I say football had retired me. Nobody wanted me anymore. So they sorted my tickets out and that was it, I was on my way. No agents involved!

The first away trip we went on was catching the plane which was unbelievable to us at that time. We got to the hotel which was fantastic - all paid for by the Sultan of Brunei. And then we played the game, got beat four or five to nil, that was our usual score, and on the way back they were six seats short on the plane to get back to Brunei.

So six of us had to catch a plane to an island off the coast of Brunei and then catch a catamaran that took us through the jungle back to Brunei via the rivers and tributaries. That was an eye-opener. My first experience of an away trip and I just thought it was incredible. Very different to crossing the Pennines via the M62 on a late night

It was '94 and I think that was the year Bruce Grobbelaar and Hans Segers had gone up in court [on match-fixing charges]. If I hadn't gone to Brunei I wouldn't have believed there was ever such thing as match-fixing because I'd never come across it in football in Britain. I'd never been approached, never heard anything and never did anything.

But then when I went to Brunei, it was rife. It was absolutely everywhere. When we used to go to the away games, in the days before mobile phones, myself and Mick Lyons used to take all the telephones out of the hotel rooms. We had to physically go round and remove them so that none of the local players were bribed by the bookmakers.

We were playing for the richest country in the world but we weren't getting fantastic wages. The temptation was there for the players because even if they weren't found out then they were only suspended briefly as a 'non-trying player'. You'd effectively be let off after a couple of games with no real punishment.

After a run of 15 defeats we beat this team 2-0. What used to happen was that the coach of the other team would take our trainer out before the game and this guy told us that they'd lost four players that week for taking bribes. I asked them how much money they were talking and it was 50,000 ringgit - that was the equivalent to about £12,000 at the time. Serious money!

I remember going to Singapore and they needed to win the match to more or less win the league. We had two men sent off, two penalties given against us in the first-half and the game ended 5-1 because the referee gave us a penalty in the 85th minute which wasn't a penalty. As we all know now, it's not about who wins but about the score. The referees would influence the score massively.

I was totally naïve. I didn't think that went on but obviously it did go on and I'm sure it is still going on. But that aside, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I still love that part of the world. I've got such happy memories. When I meet up with Mick Lyons now, it's all we talk about - the times in Brunei and the things we got up to.

 Q12/ WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE GROUND?

 A12/ I  liked going to Anfield and Goodison Park but I would have to say Old Trafford.

 Q13/ WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE GOAL AND GAME?

 A 13/  I scored against the Albion in 1982 which will have meant a lot to the Villa fans.

 Q14/ WHO WAS YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT?

 A14/ Flipping heck (thinking) My toughest opponent? The one that scared me the most was Billy Whitehurst. Joe Jordan was another who frightened me. I never got frightened very often but them two did.

 Q15/ WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANAGER?

A15/ Flipping heck. (A long pause) You know what, I'm going to go for Howard Wilkinson.

 Q16/ WHAT IS YOUR FUNNIEST MOMENT IN FOOTBALL?

 A16/ I've had a couple of them. I remember once playing at Stamford Bridge. I was about to take a corner in front of the shed end when I knocked the ball out of the quadron. Everybody's shouting at me and the linesman's saying "Don't touch it" and nobody knows what's going on.

Another one was while I was at Sheffield Wednesday and Imre Varadi had just scored in front of the Wednesday Kop. As he was celebrating, Gary Megson came behind him and whipped his shorts right down and I mean right down to the point that you could see everything. Imre was embarrassed that day.

Q17/ WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST REGRET IN FOOTBALL?

A17/ You know what? I ain't got that many and even though I'd won the European Cup with Aston Villa and having many friends there I think leaving Everton at that time. The youngsters then weren't really given a chance as the likes of Duncan McKenzie and Bruce Rioch had been bought and within 12 months, Kevin Ratcliffe, Steve McMahon, Gary Stevens, Paul Lodge, Joe McBride and Brian Burrows got promoted.

I should have been with that group and that fighting spirit that they showed, coming through the ranks together. So that was my biggest regret. 

Q18/ WHAT DO YOU MISS ABOUT THE GAME?

A18/ You know what? I don't miss that much. I went through a stage of about 4 years where I never even watched a match.

Villa got to an FA cup final in the 90's and people say it was an awful game and I don't even remember watching it.

I went totally out of it and in around 2002 I got asked to do some radio commentary for Aston Villa then got asked to do some hospital radio stuff and that is what got me back into it.

I go to a game on a Saturday then I leave it all week. Don't get me wrong, I do watch Match of the day sometimes on a Saturday but as regards of being in to it like I used to be, then no, I'm not.

Q19/ WHO IS YOUR MOST LOYAL FRIEND IN FOOTBALL?

A19/  The one I probably see the most is Tony Morley (EX Aston Villa). He's so jealous of me as I had played for Everton and he hadn't as he is an Evertonian. Tony is a good lad as is Kevin Ratcliffe and when we meet up it's like stepping back in time. Brilliant, great memories.

Q20/  YOU ARE CURRENTLY A DRIVING INSTRUCTOR, A STAGE HYPNOTIST, A PUNDIT FOR ASTON VILLA. WHAT NEXT FOR PAT HEARD?

A20/ I'd love to win that lottery!! What Next? I don't know. I have got nothing planned, never had anything planned. I've also been a landlord a recruitment officer and have plenty of strings in my bow.

Q21/ WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU?

A21/ I just hope that I remain healthy and live a few more years. I want to see my grandson (Xavier) grow up who is currently 4 months old which Is all I can hope for.

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

Comments about Exclusive Interview With Everton Legend Pat Heard
 
3
Saw Pat a couple of years ago at my dads funeral. He was joined by John Thomas and Sharpey. It was great to see them again and all 3 were real gents. My dad was avid avid avid Everton fan and bluekipper was only one of a few sites on his favorites list! He loved having the Everton players staying at the house...especially when we had real characters like Imre Varadi shaking things up!
Anton, Atlanta, 4:38 PM 2/09/2013
 
2
Good player Pat Heard. Solid and reliable. Should have had more of a chance.
steve, ormskirk, 5:21 PM 29/08/2013
 
1
Good interview of a good man. Pat Heard is the kind of player that keeps the professional game going, the ones you never hear about.
Spectator, Crosby, 12:44 PM 26/08/2013
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