Steve Nicol wasn’t your average footballer. The ginger-haired lad who was plucked from Ayr United for just ￡300,000 in 1981 didn’t at first seem like he would fit the mould of a Liverpool Football Club player.
Nicol made headlines for having ‘the biggest feet in football’ and by his own admission could sometimes act a bit daft. It wasn’t long before he fell victim to countless wind-ups from fellow Anfield Scots Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness.
They made him wait at a motorway service station on a Sunday morning for a boot deal meeting that didn’t exist… they forced him out of a car to check faulty windscreen wipers then drove off and left him in the snow… when his teammates saw a teddy bear in his bag on an away trip abroad, the stick he got was merciless.
But Nicol could take a joke and there was more to him than first met the eye. Brave, skilful and with a winner’s mentality, he was able to play any number of positions on the field. He could pass, head, tackle, read the game well and even had an eye for goal. His love of a packet or three of crisps didn’t seem to affect his appetite for success.
He became a mainstay in the record-breaking Liverpool sides that steamrollered their way to trophy after trophy. From the teams of Paisley and Fagan to Dalglish, he played dream football with the likes of Rush, Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge, Whelan and McMahon. He topped it off with a Player of the Year award and represented his country in a World Cup.
It was laughter and glory all the way. Then he hit a brutal turning point in his life. It was hard to take. He drank too much. Kenny left. Souness arrived. He wore the captain’s armband and won an FA Cup… but it felt like the end.
Stevie Nicol: 5 League Titles and a Packet of Crisps is the entertaining autobiography of a man who took the good, bad and ugly of his football life on the chin, shrugged it off and ended up having the last laugh.
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Fantastic and funny read into a Liverpool legend