Patrick “Pat” Van Den Hauwe – Psycho Pat Was A Class act

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It could be a question in a sports quiz:
The video shows Portsmouth winger Vince Hilaire, one of the first successful black players in England’s top divisions, dribbling with ease past a burly Everton defender.

The video is stopped and the quizmaster asks you: what happened next?
In most cases a brilliant goal or another beautiful dribble follows, but in this case the burly player is Pat Van Den Hauwe and with Pat anything can happen.

The video is restarted and seconds later you see the unfortunate Hilaire being crushed by Van Den Hauwe and the Pompey-man even has to be stretchered off the pitch.

Such situations were a weekly occurrence to Everton fans in the mid-1980s.
At a time where hard defenders and midfielders were laying three layers thick on the English fields, Van Den Hauwe was one of the most feared players of them all.
“Compared to Van Den Hauwe, Vinnie Jones is a teddy bear.” Daily Post reporter Ken Gaunt wrote about the above game against Portsmouth.
The nickname Pyscho Pat was particularly well chosen for the left back.

Patrick William Roger Van Den Hauwe saw the light of day on December 16, 1960 in Dendermonde, Belgium, as the son of a Belgian father and a British mother. The family moved to London when little Pat was barely 5 and it was in the English schoolboy matches that Van Den Hauwe made his first football tackles.
It didn’t take long before he was noticed, Chelsea saw something in him and he played his matches for the Stamford Bridge youth sides before he was signed by Birmingham City FC at the age of 17.
He played his first game for the Blues not much later but could not prevent Birmingham from relegation to the second division (now Championship) that year.
However, Birmingham immediately gained promotion and in the following seasons Van Den Hauwe managed to hold himself in the starting eleven and was widely feared for his sharp tackles and virile play.
At the end of the 83-84 season, Birmingham unfortunately relegated again and it seemed like Pat would have to play in the purgatory that was the second division for at least another season.

Salvation came from Liverpool. Everton had won the FA Cup the year before and played the final of the league cup. They had finished the season in 7th place.
The board wanted more and turned, in his search for defensive reinforcement, to the most feared left back on the English fields.
The board at Goodison Park contacted Birmingham and Van Den Hauwe and barely three hours later Everton was a left back and Birmingham 100,000£ richer.
Everton already had a fantastic team with Neville Southall in goal and internationals like Trevor Steven, Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy and Graham Sharp dominating midfield and attack.
And they dominated: Everton thundered through the competition and won the title with no less than 13 points ahead of their first pursuer. The fact that that pursuer listened to the name Liverpool FC was the icing on the cake.

But the success didn’t end there: in the European Cup for Cup Winners the club beat UC Dublin, Inter Bratislava and Fortuna Sittard to secure a place in the semi-finals.
In that semifinal Bayern Munich was the opponent and after a scoreless match in Munich Bayern was defeated at home 3-1.
In the final in Rotterdam, Rapid Vienna was beaten 3-1 and with two trophies already in the bag, the toffees were gunning for the treble as they had also reached the FA Cup final.
Unfortunately, Manchester United turned out to be the strongest team at Wembley, but Van Den Hauwe had a sensational season: starting off in the second division and when it was finished, he could add Champion of England and a Cupwinners Cup to his resumé.

The following season, despite the added firepower of Gary Lineker, Everton was unable to maintain that momentum: Everton finished second, behind Liverpool, and also lost the FA Cup final to the Reds.
Liverpool also caused Everton problems in Europe, as English clubs were not allowed to enter the Europe Cup competitions after the Heyzel Stadium Disaster.

The season 86-87 started disastrous for Pat. Because of an ankle injury in the preseason combined with a virus he was out for most of the season.
Everton was again involved with Liverpool in a battle for the championship and it would be the returning Van Den Hauwe who would still play an important role.
On 4 May 1987, at Norwich, his header won the title for Everton. He only played 11 games that season but Everton great Adrian Heath would later say about that title: “I still believe that in that season (86-87) Pat was our best player. He rarely played a bad game and was an indelible part of the team although he often didn’t get the attention he deserved”.

Unfortunately Everton couldn’t hold on to the glory days, Liverpool and Arsenal took the lead and the Toffees found themselves sliding back in the rankings.
In 1989 the club played the final of the FA Cup once more but it was again Liverpool that triumphed.
It was to be Psycho Pat’s last feat for the Toffees, in August 1989 he was sold to Tottenham Hotspur for £575,000.

He would stay for 4 years at White Hart Lane and win the FA Cup again in 1991, in 1993 he left Tottenham for Millwall but in his last season at the Spurs as well as the two seasons at Millwall he was plagued by injuries and barely played at all.
He migrated to South Africa where he played for Hellenic and Wynberg St Johns before starting a landscaping business.

That Psycho Pat hasn’t been forgotten is clear from a “Greatest hard man” poll organised by the Daily Mail in January 2009. Van Den Hauwe finished in 24th place: just after John Terry but ahead of players like Marco Tardelli, Alan Shearer and Neil “Razor” Ruddock.

Two more elements of his life have not yet been discussed: his international career and his much-discussed marriage to Mandy Smith, the ex of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. Since we’re a football site and not gossip press I won’t write about the latter (a picture of the gossip magazine Hello! says more than a thousand words) but I will talk about his choice to represent Wales on the international stage.

In his early days at Everton, Van Den Hauwe appears on the radar of the great Belgian national coach Guy Thys.
Thys, who dreamed of a Belgian defence with Van Den Hauwe on the left and that other hard man Eric Gerets on the right, had a personal conversation with him and nothing seemed to stop Van Den Hauwe from becoming a Red Devil.
Until the Belgian state interfered. Van Den Hauwe was told that, should he accept the invitation, he would also have to fulfil his military service.
It turned out to be a bridge too far. Van Den Hauwe chose Wales and would eventually play 13 international games for the Dragons.

Sources:

Everton greats. BERMAN Jon, Dome Malcolm. Mainstream Sports

Luton Town v Everton, 13/04/1985, Official Programme

Everton v Manchester United, 26/12/1985, Official Programme

Everton FC History