In September 1984 Howard Kendall caused some surprise when he paid Birmingham City £100,000 for the services of ‘Psycho’ Pat Van Den Hauwe. As befitted his nickname, Van Den Hauwe had cultivated a hard man reputation during his St Andrews days at St Andrews and some purists believed the left back might to borstalize Goodison’s School of Science. Moreover, he was to replace the popular John Bailey.

His arrival immediately shored up a defence that occasionally leaked goals. Twice already that season Everton had conceded four goals, and would do so on another three occasions – once when Van den Hauwe was substituted, again when he was injured and on a third occasion when all the season’s main business had been concluded.  Fortunately his team mates scored with abandon, and Everton won the League Championship in record breaking fashion.

Born in Belgium, Van Den Hauwe had come to Britain as a young child and progressed through the ranks at Birmingham City. In opting out of national service in the country of his birth he turned his back on the opportunity to play for Belgium (and perhaps play in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup Finals) instead choosing to play for Wales, making his international debut against Spain in February 1985.

In an era of footballing hard men, Van Den Hauwe belonged to the heavyweight class. Scowling, rugged and with an explosive temper he was a man who not only struck fear in his opponents, but apprehension in his colleagues too. Evertonians gained an early glimpse of his love of a fight in December 1984, when he ran the length of the Loftus Road pitch to embroil himself in a dust up between Everton and Queens Park Rangers players. Van Den Hauwe punched the first QPR player he set eyes upon, the fisticuffs became a twenty man brawl, which concluded with Van Den Hauwe’s dismissal and an appearance on the nine o’clock news.

The reputation that such incidents earned him clouded over the reality that Van Den Hauwe was an outstanding player. He was commanding in the air, quick and, of course, supreme in the tackle.  With the defensively shy Kevin Sheedy usually playing in front of him, he shouldered the entire defensive burden of the Everton left. His distribution was proficient and his crosses yielded Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray a number of goals. His versatility was of great use to Kendall, and much of the 1985/86 season was spent deputising for the injured Derek Mountfield at centre back, where he excelled. Alas, Van Den Hauwe was struck down with his own ailments the following campaign, but returned for the season’s run in. A rare goal against Norwich City in May 1987 sealed Everton’s ninth League Championship success.

An extrovert character who was popular amongst his team mates, Van Den Hauwe was prone to go missing from training for days and turn up without a word. He played in the 1989 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, but was on the losing side – his third straight defeat at that stage of the competition.  This was to be Van den Hauwe’s last appearance in an Everton shirt and that summer Colin Harvey sold him to Tottenham Hotspur for £575,000. 

In 1991, his perennial FA Cup disappointments were overcome when he was part of the Tottenham team that defeated Nottingham Forest -- a match best remembered for the horrific knee injury sustained by Paul Gascoigne after his reckless challenge on Gary Charles.  By now his relationship with Mandy Smith, the ex-wife of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, whom he married in 1993, had made him tabloid fodder. Van Den Hauwe later played for Millwall and after retiring emigrated to South Africa.