‘A truly beautiful soul has left this world far too early. Thank you so much for everything you did for me, Pav’ – Steve Harper
I posted here a fortnight ago about how my mum and dad had gone along to a book signing and met Newcastle goalie Pavel Srnicek. Sadly, less than 10 days later back in the Czech Republic, Pav suffered a heart attack whilst out jogging. He was placed in a medically induced coma while is injuries were monitored however yesterday the decision was made to turn off his life support machine due to irreversible brain damage and Pavel passed away.
He was extremely well thought of on Tyneside, when Newcastle got promoted to the premier league in 1993 Pav walked out on the pitch where a t-shirt saying ‘Pavel is a Geordie’. Those t-shirts were quickly commissioned to be reproduced and sold out completely in the first weekend of sale. Sales of goalkeepers tops also hit a record high (and bearing in mind how garish those strips were in the 90’s it proves even more what a popular character in the club he was!)
I would never claim to have known Pavel on a personal basis, but when I was about 11 or 12 my dad took my brother and I down to the trainn ground in Durham one boxing to meet the players. Whilst some members of the team were surly and complained that we should be at home playing with our Christmas presents, Pav, along with Peter Beardsley, took the time to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and ask us all what we’d gotten for Christmas and who our favourite players on the team were.
Similarly when my parents were lucky enough to meet him earlier in December he was chatty, and friendly and beamed with happiness and pride in all the pictures he took with everyone.
When I posted my last post about what a great guy he is, he tweeted me back commenting on the 20 year old picture of him, me and Gary. It always means a lot when ‘celebs’ control their own social media accounts, it wasn’t his agent or his publicist. He knew how well thought of he was among Newcastle fans, and seemed to love interacting directly with them.
I would also like to think that if I were to pass away prematurely, the one thing I would like people to tell my friends and family of me was that I was a kind person. I think Pavel’s children Maxim and Venty should be incredibly proud of the kind hearted, genuine man their father was. He should be used as the benchmark for all these new young players on professionalism and modesty. His death is a devastating shame and he’ll be hugely missed.