Pat Nevin recalls nearly running over Chelsea's billionaire owner on Arran

He is the billionaire oligarch who helped transform the Premier League into the playground of the super rich and propelled his club to the heights of Champions League glory.
Pat Nevin played for clubs including Chelsea and Everton. Picture: Ian GeorgesonPat Nevin played for clubs including Chelsea and Everton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Pat Nevin played for clubs including Chelsea and Everton. Picture: Ian Georgeson

But Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, narrowly avoided meeting an inauspicious end while cycling on holiday in Scotland.

Pat Nevin, the former footballer turned broadcaster, has revealed he came close to running over the Russian while driving around Arran.

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The 56-year-old ex Scotland international recalled how he turned a corner on the Ayrshire beauty spot only to be confronted by Abramovich, who was riding a bike.

“I came round a corner at the top, just before Lochranza, and I nearly hit a guy on a bike,” he said. “I just got out of the way at the last moment. I could have killed the guy. It was Roman Abramovich.”

The near miss, which caused Nevin to take evasive action, occurred in 2015, when Abramovich eschewed the likes of the Caribbean in order to venture north on holiday with a group of friends aboard his luxury yacht.

They stopped off at the likes of Bute and Islay for bike rides and walks, but Nevin said he was aghast to think he close he came to knocking down the tycoon on Iran.

“What a story that would have been if I had killed Roman Abramovich. I just missed him.

"His yacht was off the coast and he was cycling round. He doesn't know to this day that it was me.”

Nevin, who starred for Chelsea in the 1980s before going on to play for clubs including Everton, Kilmarnock, and Motherwell, told the story for the first time on BBC Radio Scotland’s Off The Ball programme, and confessed Abramavich may still be in the dark about the driver of the car. “I don’t know if he listens to Off The Ball,” the Scot joked.

Nevin said that even before the near crash, he had met Abramovich, 53, several times previously, and was friendly with him.

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“I have met him quite a few times. He is phenomenally shy, he is an incredibly shy person,” he added.

"I was down DJing in London about two years ago, and I’d met him three or four times. I was sitting in a sports place at the back of Stamford Bridge and he caught my eye.

"People come over to him, he never walks over to them, it’s just the way it is - it's a bit like royalty.”

He went on: "But I was sitting talking to this wee guy who is a DJ, a scruffy wee indie kid, and Roman starts walking right behind him towards me.

"I turned round and went, 'hi' and Roman shook my hand and the kid screamed, he got the fright of his life. He nearly jumped out his skin.”