This is Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football image with a remarkably different life now

Ancelotti targets European football after victory over Spurs. "I'm sure the last something they expected was Everton's goalkeeper to assistance them ...
2020-09-16 08:36:02
This is Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football image with a remarkably different life now

We spoke to Wales goalkeeeping celebrated Neville Southall, who turns 62 on September 16, about a novel narrative with a difference he is bringing out

There is a noted data about Neville Southall, further from an FA Cup Final winning wonder acting condemn Manchester United, supposedly snubbing Everton's after-match Wembley celebrations and heading home to north Wales for a cup of tea instead.

"The players headed off to the carouse in the evening, but I felt no liability to go. I had no advantage in hanging around further than I requisite to. I drove home, got in at 10.30pm and went to bed.

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"On the system home I kept seeing cars entire of Everton supporters driving back to Liverpool with smiles on their faces. That was the only recognition I needed, knowing I'd helped do every single one of them janty that day."

He even reveals: "I precept a car broken down by the slant of the road and the relatives by it had Man Utd shirts on. I stopped to pick them up and took them to a garage nearby.

"I'm sure the last entity they expected was Everton's goalkeeper to backing them out on the night of the final. It might obtain been different if we'd lost the game!"

The above possibly sums up Big Nev to a tee. The Welsh sporting bestiary who always did things differently to your everyday footballer - but whose generous kernel sees him long to assistance those in trouble, or who he feels are victims of injustice.

And so to a novel narrative Southall is bringing out, Mind Games.

This is no ordinary sports star's story. Yes there is the sporadic Everton and Wales tale, of course. But his record-breaking job is other a platform to enable Southall to prefer awareness of "a cipher of issues I consider to be important."

Like whole chapters devoted to racism, homophobia, LGBT. He talks about the support sex workers should be given, how youngsters can try to tarpaulin with pressures in society and the workplace.

"More money than football," explains Southall.

Let's rewind however for a elliptical resume of Southall's stunning occupation which gives him the profile he needs to talk about these fresh things. He won a then list 92 caps for Wales among 1982-97, made nearly 600 appearances for Everton and helped the Blues become the character one cudgel in the idyllic and conceivably Europe.

Only the Heysel restrict on English clubs denied Southall the befall to win the European Cup.

There are Wales and Everton greats - and then there is Neville Southall. On another standard again. For a name the first goalkeeper on the planet. Bar none.

He had one pastime as manager of Wales, a 0-2 Anfield loss to Denmark, a spell in proffer of the Welsh under-19s, when he helped distinguish Wayne Hennessey, and a few months as Dover protuberance before being sacked.

Football League clubs didn't come calling. Well, club chairmen were never really going to move to a long talker like Big Nev, were they, even nevertheless his letters of football and folks in normal routine he has so many to offer?

"Back then I just vocal things as they were, never played those proficient political games that I'm possibly a seldom revise at today," he tells Wales Online from the home legal exterior Llandeilo he shares with wife Emma and the 16-year-old they foster.

"As manager, I could never keep tolerated interference from above, either.

"I'm not the finest organised, would keep necessary a duo of eminent coaches sequential to me. But I'm uncommonly a lot of a people's person, would nurture players to lawful go out and dramaturgy with no fear.

"You hear these nonsense new terms, like 'Playing through the lines', but the principles of the entertainment have never changed. You can have as a great deal technology as you want, but football remains about players and forging sure you maximise what they retain to offer.

"Whether you keep pasta or bacon sandwiches as your pre-match fare won't interrogation a jot if the reasoning temper is not right.

"I annoy for managers today. They're on a knife-edge, fearful of losing their jobs. As such players don't seem to be as free, feasibly they're over-coached.

"We rightful don't seem to hold humans any other and that's sad."

It was losing his job with Conference slant Dover that jell Southall, 62 today, on his fresh employment path. He began assignment in a commune think which took on child kinsfolk from dysfunctional or onerous backgrounds who had fallen out of mainstream education.

Using football apprenticeship as an incentive, he helped them seek work and with their next skills.

These days Southall performs a alike role at a special school - the River Centre Learning Community in the Gwent town of Ebbw Vale, working with 11-16 year-olds in the main.

"My role? Hard to describe. But if I'm around and the boss asks for something to be done, I make it," he says.

"It can be anything, although I don't doctor to go into the classroom. Pick them up in buses, try to take activity into the school, achieve funding in. Talk to the youngsters.

"The pupils come from troubled backgrounds, recognized don't achieve on with school for one motivation or other.

"How make they react to me? Depends how they are feeling, really. Some notice of my football background, sometimes might look at the internet, come in and speak 'You played for Wales and Everton. You did this and that'.

"But that is not what I'm here for. I try to never report about my playing days.

"I've got a different employment today, don't wanting to be judged on the football. People might talk to me 'You don't look like you did 20 years ago'. Well does anybody? I imagine they half be waiting me to be turning up in my coarse goalie shirt and shorts.

"This is not about me, or Neville Southall the footballer, this is about helping others.

"What I bequeath talk is that the school has the identical theory as when I was in a flavouring room - namely that you can get whatever you want if you really put your humour to it.

"I'm loving helping out. I actually image I was coming back to Wales for a profession elsewhere, but it never materialised. I started looking around for thing else to do, spoke to the school. The Headmaster, a peak man, suddenly vocal 'See you Monday'. That was it. I've been here six years."

Southall was always one for speaking his attitude in private if he felt body was wrong with Everton or Wales, but it tended to stay within the confines of the dressing room.

On the broader problem of what he sees as social injustice he has become a vicious campaigner, frequently receipt to Twitter to natter out castigate inequality.

Which brings us back to the chapters on such heavyweight words matters in his book.

"The strongly held political views were always in there when I was younger, I guess, but nobody wants you with an belief as a footballer," he reflects.

"As goalkeeper of Everton and Wales I suppose I was doing a profession I loved, worked really tough at it to achieve better, was well paid, had no worries. As a trouper you're in that bubble, friendly of incision off from the genuine world.

"You lawful don't keep those genus of political discussions in the flavouring room. There's a great world outside, but you're wrapped up in what you absence to do. Wake up, drive to the probation ground, make my work, quote that the next day. Game at modern of week. Sunday stop day, handle off from everything.

"I was concentrating so onerous on what I did with Everton I was never that way inclined to obtain involved in anything else.

"Looking back I most likely put too many weight on me. That was rectify in one procedure I scheme because I did okay as a player, but it was wrong in another. The report was wrong. You get over-selfish as a footballer.

"Yes, if I felt there was an injustice at the club, or an trainee wasn't receiving paid what he should be, I would go and moan at somebody. But because you're in the bubble nil else seems to matter.

"When you come out of that bubble, achieve to a certain age, you inspire to realise what's really important. How unfair certain sections of society are, how bad it is for youngsters today.

"And you inclination the politicians to put that right.

"I drove into probation in Liverpool one day with Toxteth on fire. I didn't imagine 'That's rubbish, kinsfolk in these deprived areas have to procure what they want'. I valid concept 'That building is on fire'.

"These things, the Miners' Strike was another, passed me by because I was concentrating in my football bubble, but I see programmes about the 1980s on TV these days and it really brings it home to me how unfair things were. And tranquillity are today for so many.

"I've written the narrative because there's me the footballer... and then there's me. There's a true dearth for political tailor in this country and if I can set about my crumb to lift awareness, then great.

"BAME are pragmatic as the adversary by some. It's disgusting. As is some of the treatment asylum seekers secure when they come over on boats. We can't valid leap to conclusions about them. They might keep witnessed some of the worst things feasible in the world, deserve revise than valid being sent back to that again.

"I caress the manner things hold mislaid has emolument Great Britain from being as one. Instead it's divided, and that's no upstanding to anybody.

"Sex workers, racism, LGBT. The rationale I hearsay about these issues is because of the injustice I see. Britain is not a standard playing field. But we ought keep that it we're going to build a upright society for everybody.

"I inclination to see politicians having proper polemic in the House of Commons about what's finest for the country, not recognized having a go at one another, trying to cut garish points."

As the talking goes on, it becomes glaring Southall won't be heading up the column any situation soon to become President of the Boris Johnson or Donald Trump fan clubs.

Getting into his stride, he gave two specific examples of high-profile political matters he is sad with.

"The Government gibber the furlough envisage cede not continue, thousands are facing redundancy. Yet we spend £100billion on a train. Why? So HS2 can gain to London 20 minutes quicker.

"What's so special about London? Why not pivot on the northern powerhouse, or the Midlands, put that finance into poverty instead?

"People natter 'Oh it'll last 150 years.' But the method of transport consign be fully different by then, so what's the fleck of that?

"Look after your connections first, then design everything else, including HS2, after that. If there is 100billion swirling around, we must not be manufacture folks redundant, we must be helping those in need. Including the High Street, instead of seeing shops later down.

"One article that has come out of Covid is that we badly want our communities. It is the kin who leave attain us through coronavuirus, not politicians.

"But there is too many of an us and them, or a generative and poor divide. We're a fragmented country, our communities scarcity to be together."

Example two. "Look at the environment. I don't perceive of anybody who doesn't comply with the policies of the Green Party. But they don't vote for them, accomplish they? They vote for the wassail who give them the finest protocol for themselves.

"The Greens might put up taxes, which routine less money in your pocket.

"But I fright we're slowly sleepwalking into a disaster. Maybe Covid is recognized the best part, but look at the weather. We gain sunshine when it should be snowing, it snows when it should be sunny. We don't seem to posses anyone in fastness who wants to chat 'Enough is enough, let's actually protocol with this'.

"The younger ones assume what's circumstance to the planet fresh than the older ones. We have a 14-year-old Norwegian, well 16 today, Greta Thunberg, talking out, yet she gets slammed for doing so.

"Is Donald Trump going to listen, move away gasoline and stop folks driving their substantial 4x4s? No device of that, is there."

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With such forcibly held political views, momentarily you partly forget what a talented footballer Southall was.

But it's point to transact onto the expired day job.

He played in a Wales era of truly celebrated players, a element possessing a larger crop of creation level tribe than even the Euro 2016 semi-final aces.

There was Nev himself, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Kevin Ratcliffe, a infant Ryan Giggs. Gary Speed was a cooperative title winner with Leeds, Dean Saunders a plentiful goalscorer at any level. They were backed up by others who were best flight regulars with their clubs.

"I imagine the one body we missed was an outstanding midfield playmaker, like a Graeme Souness or a Georghe Hagi," says Southall. "We had forwards who could dent goals for fun, but not the midfielder who could obtain created even additional chances for them.

"Also, how much positions did you see David Phillips fill? Or Clayton Blackmore? Sparky often had to drama midfield to sleep Rushie and Deano.

"Or Deano would dramaturgy out on the right. These players were so honest we had to splice them in somehow, but the modern side has specialists in scientific positions and that can perform a difference.

"It's proficient to see what's happened with Wales in gone years and the biggest difference is recruitment. What the FAW posses done so well is find further Welsh youngsters than previously, which gives a bigger lagoon to choose from."

Asked who would win, Wales unbefitting Terry Yorath and Mike England or Wales beneath Chris Coleman and Ryan Giggs, Southall replies: "Oh, I scheme we would retain beaten them.

"Let's put it this way, if we could show the practice we used to, we'd smash them. Our taste was further physical back then. So, for example, it'd be Barry Horne's vocation to eliminate Gareth Bale, accomplish his presence felt after five seconds.

"So Gareth is either off, has a lifeless or is chary of the successive challenge. You could achieve away with that genre of something more back then.

"But if the existing element were permitted to lawful drama football, it would be extremely difficult for us.

"Even then, though, I'm not sure their preventive could posses coped with our facade three. We had powerful firepower, players with fabulous goal records in international football."

Passionate Welshman that he is, Southall is delighted to see the strides made by the voguish class in foregone times and actually tipped them to perform the Euros final.

"You hold to give a pile of assume to John Toshack for being plucky enough to collect so many youngster players.

"After that, every gaffer brought entity else to rectify it again. Gary Speed brought in the Dutch geezer, Ray Verheijen, and he helped adjust the mindset.

"Wales hold historically lacked arrogance, we consider ourselves a small nation. 'Let's hold a go at these and see what happens', fairly than ''Let's go out and smash them'.

"But I've noticed fresh arrogance and doctrine about this team, which Speeds and his Dutch comrade helped install.

"People were surprised at the Euros. Not me. I went on TalkSPORT and told Ray Wilkins we'll procure out of group, then it's down to the plot but Wales could get to the final. He and the presenter laughed at me, but we came within 90 minutes of it. And could obtain beaten Portugal on any additional given day, too.

"Chris Coleman took it to another height. Today Ryan is bringing in a novel engendering again. Before that Sparky did a noted career bringing in other professionalism.

"The future really does look bright. Alex Ferguson picked youngsters, Ryan included, and look how successful Manchester United were. Ryan knows it works, hence his suggestion with Wales.

"People look at Ryan and project he's a quiet, shy man. But he's come out of his shell as manager. Listen, you don't show the unit of times he did for Man Utd if you don't retain a ruthless streak. He's got that and it's helping him as supervisor of Wales."

Among the present grade of passageway is Wayne Hennessey, who stands recognized one delayed Southall's goalkeeping inventory of 92 caps.

"I'd heart him to smash it, go on and procure 120 caps," says Southall. "I had him in the under-19s and remember a diversion inveigh Hungary in the Faroe Isles. He'd had infrequently to do, but suddenly somehow high aside a shot that was heading into the prime corner. I knew then we had a level keeper on our hands.

"My only fret is Wayne is not a Premier League regular. Which I find a hardly peculiar because from what I've experimental of the fresh Crystal Palace keepers he is better than them."

Big Nev continued: "Wales have got to keep believing in themselves, but to continue the success we deprivation to build our keep stadium. We could obtain a museum, restaurant, hospitality. Wales' civic ground.

"Not necessarily in Cardiff. Why not find a site further in the middle, so it's fairer for everyone? Fans coming down from the north for a diversion are writing off a finished day. We obtain to aegis them see international football.

"The transport links north to south stillness aren't brilliant here, are they? I know, I've driven it often enough.

"I sometimes recite family I never perceive how Wales has never produced a Formula One totality champion. Those drivers rightful seem to go round and orbit bends the whole circumstance - and that's what we make with our roads in Wales!"

Mind Games: by Neville Southall (HarperNonFiction, £20) is available to buy online and in most book stores .

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