Pundit Pat enjoys life in the slow lane

IMAGINE this scenario: You were a well known football pundit who travels to Glasgow, London and Europe watching some of the world's most talented footballers - where would you choose to live?

The right answer, as far as Pat Nevin, his wife and two children were concerned, was Duns, much to the amusement and/or bemusement of some of the former Scotland football internationalist's media peers.

"A lot of people are gobsmacked when they find out where I live - my cars certainly don't last long!

"There is a lot of travelling but it's great because I am so far removed from the kind of life I lived in London."

Nevin has now lived in Berwickshire for the last 10 years, commuting to Glasgow around twice a week for his Sportscene commitments with the BBC, three times per month to London for Channel Five and into mainland Europe with the commercial station's Uefa Cup coverage.

Add the time spent covering live matches for BBC Radio Five Live, and Nevin certainly spends a considerable part of his normal week driving, flying or taking the train to work.

Yet, the 45-year-old claims to love his job, with the memories of previous stressful work conditions still fresh in his mind.

"When I was still playing at Motherwell I had to commute there from Duns. I was also chief executive at the time and doing work for Channel Five, so it really was a 24/7 job - I basically had three jobs.

"Living down here allowed me some relaxation which usually involved the golf course," added the Hirsel GC member.

But why, does a well travelled man like Pat, live in the small town of Duns? The answer is quite simple.

"After five years at each Everton, Chelsea and Tranmere Rovers, I was always intent on coming back to Scotland but was never sure where.

"We were always going to move to the east coast but seeing as my wife is from Coldstream and had followed me with my job, we decided to come back to her home," said Pat, who married at Kelso and spent many summers between football seasons in the Borders.

So apart from family commitments, there seems no advantage to Pat's work by living in the Berwickshire burgh. However, there is a hidden perk that many born and bred Dingers are probably unaware of.

"Not a lot of people know this, but there is a BBC studio in Duns.

"It is near the Market Square and I use it to do any pieces for Radio Five that are not live games.

"You have to book the studio and write your name in a logbook so there is a long uninterrupted list of my signatures.

"The studio is on my doorstep and is a great help for me."

Apart from his TV and radio appearances, Pat also compiles from home his columns for a national newspaper and Chelsea's website.

Nevin's writing style for Chelseafc.com is as if he has never parted from the club he left over 20 years ago, but the feeling seems to be reciprocated among the older generation of fans at Stamford Bridge.

He insists he writes his own columns, and has little time for ex-professionals who put their name towards articles ghost written by another.

When mention is made of Gary Lineker, who Harry Kewell attempted to sue in 2005 over a Sunday Telegraph column that was later discovered not to have been written by the ex-England striker, Nevin adds: "I always write what I have my name on.

"Columns claiming to be by footballers but written by someone else - I don't like that. It's nonsense.

"It's time consuming writing my own columns but I think it shows respect to journalists that I do."

According to Pat, his respect for journalism comes from a desire to be involved in the media even when he was a footballer.

And now he has achieved his goal, he continues to aspire to improve, thanks to past and present influences.

"I studied at university before football (Pat has an arts degree) and wanted to be a journalist.

"I wrote for the NME at the age of 21 - I wanted to be a journalist rather than a celebrity footballer.

"Hunter S Thompson is the type of journalist who inspired me but as for special people I have worked with, the ones I admire are the TV anchors.

"The best ones are those you don't notice. Dougie Donnelly is spectacularly good at what he does - he doesn't use a cue and is always on the money.

"It doesn't make it easier for me but I enjoy working with someone who is good at their job.

"One of the best is Steve Scott who used to work with Channel Five but is now presenting some police programme (Nightwatch). He is a great anchor and a good friend. These people are great at what they do."

The last thing you would think Pat wants after regularly offering his opinion to millions of TV viewers is to consider the state of sport in the Borders, but as ever Nevin is a willing contributor.

He believes the region has a high percentage of talented athletes in relation to its small population, but also believes the area needs better facilities.

Yet, Glasgow born Nevin is still not quite considered a fully fledged Borderer even in his own household - this fact typically demonstrated on the occasions he watches his daughter Lucy, ranked number one badminton player in Scotland for her age group, in action.

Pat said: "When I grew up in Glasgow it was pure football.

"It is different here - the Borders is underestimated and I don't think people realise how many brilliant performers there are.

"The new facilities at Berwickshire High School and Eyemouth should be great as long as the schools and everyone in the community use them.

"Duns Badminton Club in particular has performed well and coach Pete Hardie has produced a phenomenal number of players.

"They regularly take on Glasgow and the Highlands, and sometimes the players are just from Berwickshire High School pupils. So basically it is Duns versus Glasgow and my wife is very quick to remind me that Duns have beaten Glasgow twice!"