HOW WE MET: PAT NEVIN AND SIMON RAYMONDE

Footballer Pat Nevin, 32, was born in Glasgow. An irregular member of the Scottish national squad, he has played for Tranmere Rovers since 1992, having previously turned out for Chelsea and Everton. He is Chairman of the Professional Football Association. He lives in Chester with his wife and two children. Bassist Simon Raymonde, 34, was born in London. He joined the Cocteau Twins, the highly influential post-punk indie trio, in 1984. The band recently released its ninth album, Milk and Kisses. Simon lives with his wife and two children in west London
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Pat Nevin: I met Simon backstage at Sadlers Wells after one of his gigs in the mid-Eighties. I was feeling quite shaky at the thought of meeting one of my heroes. I'd been a fan for about two and a half years.

I remember thinking he was the person most like myself I'd ever met. I even wrote in a diary I kept at the time that he could be a very good friend of mine. Like me, he had this media persona: I was supposed to be an "intelligent" footballer just because I like French and Russian literature - it was an easy image for the newspapers to push. Simon was portrayed as this "complex, deep and meaningful" musician, but he actually turned out to be as open as I am.

We hit it off immediately and talked about everything: film, football, girlfriends. After that we didn't get in touch until he was on tour. We used to phone each other up just to organise where to meet but then we'd talk for about an hour and a half, which was just totally the strangest thing ever. We felt completely at ease and able to trust each other.

About a year later we started to meet up almost every day in the Chelsea Kitchens, a cafe in the King's Road. It was perfect because I certainly needed a pal at that time. I was going through various depressions and really missing home. I never expected to meet someone like Simon in London - it seemed so hard to talk to people. I used to phone Simon and he would make me laugh for two hours at a stretch. He would tell me stories, put on funny voices and wind me up about how seriously I was taking everything. He was like a big brother to me at that time.

I would help him out too. A little time after that, he got glassed in a pub in Shepherd's Bush and was very depressed about it. He didn't want to show his face in public because I think he felt it made him look like a football thug. It made him feel better when I told him about someone at Chelsea who'd been bashed in; he didn't walk around thinking people assumed he was some sort of thug.

To me it's utterly wonderful what Simon does and I think he still produces fantastic music. But even though we both admire each other's work, it's never really discussed and it's not a big part of our relationship. We usually end up talking about other things.

Simon and I have always had similar preoccupations, issues we've been dealing with at the same time. We always talk about the way that the media can misrepresent people, how people treat us strangely because of who we are. Yet we're so normal. Even though our backgrounds are different, I've never felt uneasy about it, because our personalities are on the same level. Simon only recently told me that he went to school at Charterhouse. I thought that was great and I wind him up about it something rotten - I'm from the back streets of the East End of Glasgow.

I've always admired Simon's ability to get on with people on any level; he's so personable. He's also intelligent and funny, but the main thing I respect is his trustworthiness and honesty. We've both always told each other the truth.

We don't see each other so often these days, but on the phone we'll pick up the same sentence we left off during our last meeting - even if that was six months ago. He's somebody I still feel incredibly easy with. Simon's one of the few people who I can chat to for six or seven hours and go away thinking, "Shit, I forgot to tell him that, that and that."

The stupid thing is, when we used to meet up every day, we still had too much to discuss. People have said we're like a couple of girls when we get together, because we'll chat about our feelings and stuff like that. That's what has always been so nice - being able to be sensitive with somebody.

Simon Raymonde: I first met Pat after one of our concerts in about 1985. He was a footballer I liked watching and I knew he was into the Cocteau Twins. Somebody had put him on the guest list and he came backstage afterwards.

I had always loved football, but sort of bottled it up; in those days, football and pop music just didn't go together. Now you can't be in a band without talking about which team you support. I had this stereotypical view that footballers only listened to people like Tina Turner or Simply Red, so I was surprised by his taste in music. We also talked about cinema - we're both big film buffs. I remember we talked for ages and got on really well, very quickly.

After that evening I wrote him a letter while I was on tour, and we kept up a correspondence over the next few weeks. Then he came out to one of our gigs in France. Pat used to travel to see us play in strange places all over the world. He'd just turn up out of the blue. Within about a year our friendship turned from a casual thing into something more lasting. When Pat played at Chelsea we used to go to the Chelsea Kitchens almost every day and we'd sit and talk for hours. He would always have two main courses followed by a dessert. I was quite astonished to see someone so small and wiry pack that amount of food away.

After our first meetings, Pat realised how little exposure I'd had to football and out of the goodness of his heart he invited me to train at Chelsea for the day. As a Tottenham supporter, I had to swallow hard. But I went along to Stamford Bridge and I remember getting changed into this gear and thinking, "How am I going to fit into this?" Compared to all these beautiful boys with fit figures I looked like a Michelin man in my kit. But once I relaxed and forgot about my body, I started to enjoy it. I even scored a couple of goals, so I didn't humiliate myself completely.

Pat also gets me tickets to the Professional Football Association dinner - every year I get to sit next to my heroes, which is blindingly good. I know he feels the same way about music. He gets so excited coming to gigs; Pat knows every song and has all the videos.

We've always been interested in each other's perspective on things. He's from a completely different background to me - the East End of Glasgow - and he likes to take the piss out of me because I went to boarding school. I always stand my ground and we have good arguments with each other. We have always confided in each other. In the music business you've got thousands of acquaintances but no one to whom you can actually say, "Do you feel like this too?" or "Do you get lonely when you go on tour?" We used to ring each other up and talk about our problems. Men aren't usually supposed to talk about emotion and feelings, so I find that quite unique.

When my father died six years ago, Pat was very important to me. It's at times like that you want someone to listen to you and let you grieve properly. Lots of friends didn't ring me because they weren't sure of what to say; people don't know how to behave. When Pat's mother died a couple of years ago, I knew how to help him deal with it because I'd been through the same thing.

Nowadays we do see each other less - about once every three or four months - but he's still a very special mate. He can phone me up when he's got some problem or other, and I'll say, "Don't be soft, you're looking at this in completely the wrong way." We also make music tapes for each other. He's fond of reggae, and dub is my favourite type of music. He's also obsessed with John Peel and sends me stuff he thinks I'll like.

When I haven't seen Pat for a long time I miss his jokes. They're terrible but really funny and also incredibly crude. He's probably picked up most of them in the coach on the way to a match. Pat can go either way: he'll be dead serious or very amusing. You never know what to expect from him. I always look forward to his unpredictability. !

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