I was sat in an old fashioned Ice Cream parlour in Seaham yesterday with my family when I got the text I’d been dreading all week. “Pav has passed away”. I was absolutely gutted. It hit me like a truck and I’m still not quite done processing it all. I’ve tried to put into words what I felt about Pav, what kind of guy he was, what my experience of meeting him was like, but the 140 character limit on Twitter meant that I was unable to really express myself in the way I wanted to.
When we started production on Looking For Number 5, Pav’s number had been passed to me by Mark Douglas at the Chronicle and he was the first ex player that I spoke to with regards to the film. I called him sat in Besty’s kitchen before we recorded an episode of our podcast but Pav didn’t pick up. 40 minutes into the podcast Pav called back. Besty grabbed his phone and filmed the conversation and the call was captured live by the podcast microphones as we had forgot to stop recording. I introduced myself, explained what we were doing and he said yes to being involved almost instantly. He was very open and chatty on the phone and even invited us to Prague to talk to him if we needed to. We told him we’d love to do that, but unfortunately our budget didn’t stretch that far. We agreed to meet up and film an interview the next time he was in Newcastle for a talk-in in June 2015 and said our goodbyes. As soon as I put the phone down I think my first words were “fuck me”. My second words were, “what a nice bloke”. From what I’ve read recently I think it’s fair to say that nearly everybody has had this impression of Pav when speaking to him for the first time.
We arrived at the location for the shoot at a city centre office in Newcastle where Pav’s agent and friend Steve Wraith had organised for us to meet and interview Pav. Pav wasn’t there yet so we set up the gear and sorted out the lighting in the room. Steve was busy on the phone so I was dispatched downstairs to meet Pav when he arrived. I found him standing in the entrance of the building looking every inch a former pro footballer. For a 47 year old man Pav was in incredible shape and he obviously looked after himself very well. After handshakes and hello’s I will admit I was a bit star struck as we waited for the lift together. This was broken however by another lad who had joined us waiting and looking up at Pav couldn’t help himself but blurt out “Fucking hell, you’re Pav!”. Pav laughed and chatted to the lad all the way up to his floor before more handshakes and a quick photo that I took. He’d made the lad’s day.
The interview itself was incredible. Easily the most relaxed and enjoyable one we’ve done for the film. Funny, honest, sweary, interesting, heartwarming and captivating, Pav talked us through his career from his beginnings in the Czech Republic to returning to Newcastle in 2007. The one thing the shone through in his words was the absolute love that Pav still had for Newcastle and for the Geordie people. Myself, Besty, and the Unified Media lads, Kyle, Jon and Phil really took a shine to Pav during the time we spent together and his infectious laughter and genuine friendly nature made the 2 hours feel like 5 minutes. We stood outside and chatted in the sun while Pav waited for his driver to pick him up and take him to his next appointment. We thanked him for giving up his time and he said he’d be happy to come back over for the premier of Looking For Number 5 and we should let him know when we would be releasing it.
Pav made a lasting impression on us all that day and I honestly never expected for one minute that he wouldn’t be around to see our film released. We will be dedicating Looking For Number 5 to the memory of Pavel Srnicek and our thoughts and best wishes are with his friends and family at this difficult time.
Rest In Peace Pav…
Taylor, Besty, Jon, Kyle, Ryan and Phil. xx