Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News

MetiNews.Com - There is a famous story about Neville Southall, fresh from an FA Cup Final winning wonder show against Manchester United, supposedly snubbing Everton's after-m

Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News

MetiNews.Com - There is a famous story about Neville Southall, fresh from an FA Cup Final winning wonder show against Manchester United, supposedly snubbing Everton's after-m

Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News
16 September 2020 - 06:48

Breaking News ! There is a famous story about Neville Southall, fresh from an FA Cup Final winning wonder show against Manchester United, supposedly snubbing Everton's after-match Wembley celebrations and heading home to north Wales for a cup of tea instead. Truth or fiction? Let the big man tell you himself. "The players headed off to the party in the evening, but I felt no obligation to go. I had no interest in hanging around more than I needed to. I drove home, got in at 10.30pm and went to bed. "On the way home I kept seeing cars full of Everton supporters driving back to Liverpool with smiles on their faces. That was the only recognition I needed, knowing I'd helped make every single one of them happy that day." He even reveals: "I saw a car broken down by the side of the road and the people 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 thing they expected was Everton's goalkeeper to help them out on the night of the final. It might have been different if we'd lost the game!" The above perhaps sums up Big Nev to a tee. The Welsh sporting legend who always did things differently to your everyday footballer - but whose generous soul sees him want to help those in trouble, or who he feels are victims of injustice. And so to a new book Southall is bringing out, Mind Games. This is no ordinary sports star's story. Yes there is the odd Everton and Wales tale, of course. But his record-breaking career is more a platform to enable Southall to raise awareness of "a number of issues I consider to be important." Like full chapters devoted to racism, homophobia, LGBT. He talks about the help sex workers should be given, how youngsters can try to cope with pressures in society and the workplace. "More important than football," explains Southall. Let's rewind though for a brief resume of Southall's stunning career which gives him the profile he needs to talk about these other things. He won a then record 92 caps for Wales between 1982-97, made almost 600 appearances for Everton and helped the Blues become the number one club in the country and perhaps Europe. Only the Heysel ban on English clubs denied Southall the chance to win the European Cup. There are Wales and Everton greats - and then there is Neville Southall. On another level again. For a spell the finest goalkeeper on the planet. Bar none. Big Nev in his world class pomp He had one game as manager of Wales, a 0-2 Anfield loss to Denmark, a spell in charge of the Welsh under-19s, when he helped discover Wayne Hennessey, and a few months as Dover boss before being sacked. Football League clubs didn't come calling. Well, club chairmen were never really going to take to a straight talker like Big Nev, were they, even though his knowledge of football and people in general means he has so much to offer? "Back then I just said things as they were, never played those clever political games that I'm perhaps a little better at today," he tells Wales Online from the home just outside Llandeilo he shares with wife Emma and the 16-year-old they foster. "As manager, I could never have tolerated interference from above, either. "I'm not the best organised, would have needed a couple of great coaches next to me. But I'm very much a people's person, would encourage players to just go out and play with no fear. "You hear these nonsense new terms, like 'Playing through the lines', but the principles of the game have never changed. You can have as much technology as you want, but football remains about players and making sure you maximise what they have to offer. "Whether you have pasta or bacon sandwiches as your pre-match meal won't matter a jot if the mental attitude is not right. "I worry for managers today. They're on a knife-edge, fearful of losing their jobs. As such players don't seem to be as free, maybe they're over-coached. "We just don't seem to have individuals any more and that's sad." It was losing his job with Conference side Dover that set Southall, 62 today, on his new career path. He began work in a community scheme which took on young people from dysfunctional or difficult backgrounds who had fallen out of mainstream education. Using football training as an incentive, he helped them seek work and with their next skills. These days Southall performs a similar 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 do it," he says. "It can be anything, although I don't tend to go into the classroom. Pick them up in buses, try to bring business into the school, get funding in. Talk to the youngsters. "The pupils come from troubled backgrounds, just don't get on with school for one reason or other. "How do they react to me? Depends how they are feeling, really. Some know of my football background, sometimes might look at the internet, come in and say 'You played for Wales and Everton. You did this and that'. "But that is not what I'm here for. I try to never talk about my playing days. "I've got a different career today, don't want to be judged on the football. People might say to me 'You don't look like you did 20 years ago'. Well does anybody? I think they half expect me to be turning up in my green goalie shirt and shorts. "This is not about me, or Neville Southall the footballer, this is about helping others. "What I will say is that the school has the same philosophy as when I was in a dressing room - namely that you can achieve whatever you want if you really put your mind to it. "I'm loving helping out. I actually thought I was coming back to Wales for a job elsewhere, but it never materialised. I started looking around for something else to do, spoke to the school. The Headmaster, a top man, suddenly said 'See you Monday'. That was it. I've been here six years." Southall was always one for speaking his mind in private if he felt something was wrong with Everton or Wales, but it tended to stay within the confines of the dressing room. On the broader matter of what he sees as social injustice he has become a fierce campaigner, frequently taking to Twitter to speak out against inequality. Which brings us back to the chapters on such heavyweight subject 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 opinion as a footballer," he reflects. "As goalkeeper of Everton and Wales I suppose I was doing a job I loved, worked really hard at it to get better, was well paid, had no worries. As a player you're in that bubble, kind of cut off from the real world. "You just don't have those type of political discussions in the dressing room. There's a big world outside, but you're wrapped up in what you need to do. Wake up, drive to the training ground, do my work, repeat that the next day. Game at end of week. Sunday rest day, switch off from everything. "I was concentrating so hard on what I did with Everton I was never that way inclined to get involved in anything else. Three Welsh legends: Ian Rush does battle with Kevin Ratcliffe and Neville Southall in a Liverpool v Everton Mersey derby "Looking back I probably put too much emphasis on me. That was right in one way I suppose because I did okay as a player, but it was wrong in another. The balance was wrong. You get over-selfish as a footballer. "Yes, if I felt there was an injustice at the club, or an apprentice wasn't getting paid what he should be, I would go and moan at somebody. But because you're in the bubble nothing else seems to matter. "When you come out of that bubble, get to a certain age, you start to realise what's really important. How unfair certain sections of society are, how bad it is for youngsters today. "And you want the politicians to put that right. "I drove into training in Liverpool one day with Toxteth on fire. I didn't think 'That's rubbish, people in these deprived areas should get what they want'. I just thought '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 still are today for so many. "I've written the book because there's me the footballer... and then there's me. There's a real need for political change in this country and if I can do my bit to raise awareness, then great. "BAME are seen as the enemy by some. It's disgusting. As is some of the treatment asylum seekers get when they come over on boats.

. They might have witnessed some of the worst things possible in the world, deserve better than just being sent back to that again. "I feel the way things have gone has cost Great Britain from being as one. Instead it's divided, and that's no good to anybody. "Sex workers, racism, LGBT. The reason I talk about these issues is because of the injustice I see. Britain is not a level playing field. But we must have that it we're going to build a good society for everybody. "I want to see politicians having proper debate in the House of Commons about what's best for the country, not just having a go at one another, trying to score cheap points." As the conversation goes on, it becomes clear Southall won't be heading up the queue any time 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 unhappy with. "The Government say the furlough scheme will not continue, thousands are facing redundancy. Yet we spend £100billion on a train. Why? So HS2 can get to London 20 minutes quicker. "What's so special about London? Why not focus on the northern powerhouse, or the Midlands, put that money into poverty instead? "People say 'Oh it'll last 150 years.' But the mode of transport will be entirely different by then, so what's the point of that? "Look after your people first, then plan everything else, including HS2, after that. If there is 100billion swirling around, we should not be making people redundant, we should be helping those in need. Including the High Street, instead of seeing shops closing down. "One thing that has come out of Covid is that we badly need our communities. It is the people who will get us through coronavuirus, not politicians. "But there is too much of an us and them, or a rich and poor divide. We're a fragmented country, our communities need to be together." Example two. "Look at the environment. I don't know of anybody who doesn't agree with the policies of the Green Party. But they don't vote for them, do they? They vote for the party who give them the best deal for themselves. "The Greens might put up taxes, which means less money in your pocket. "But I fear we're slowly sleepwalking into a disaster. Maybe Covid is just the first part, but look at the weather. We get sunshine when it should be snowing, it snows when it should be sunny. We don't seem to have anyone in power who wants to say 'Enough is enough, let's actually deal with this'. "The younger ones understand what's happening to the planet more than the older ones. We have a 14-year-old Norwegian, well 16 today, Greta Thunberg, speaking out, yet she gets slammed for doing so. "Is Donald Trump going to listen, take away gasoline and stop people driving their big 4x4s? No sign of that, is there." Want the latest Cardiff City or Swansea City news straight to your inbox? Join hundreds of Bluebirds and Swans fans in getting the breaking news, transfer gossip and big interviews sent to your inbox on a daily basis. Sign up to either the Cardiff or Swansea newsletter below and then each day at 4pm you'll receive a handy round-up of all the day's latest news with links to read the full articles. All you have to do is click here and select the newsletter you want. The best part? It's completely free! With such forcibly held political views, momentarily you almost forget what a brilliant footballer Southall was. But it's time to move onto the old day job. He played in a Wales era of truly great players, a side possessing a larger crop of world class individuals than even the Euro 2016 semi-final aces. There was Nev himself, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Kevin Ratcliffe, a young Ryan Giggs. Gary Speed was a league title winner with Leeds, Dean Saunders a prolific goalscorer at any level. They were backed up by others who were top flight regulars with their clubs. Nev played in a Wales team among Giggs, Rush, Hughes, Saunders and Speed (Image: Getty Images) How on earth did that star-studded side never qualify? "I suppose the one thing we missed was an outstanding midfield playmaker, like a Graeme Souness or a Georghe Hagi," says Southall. "We had forwards who could score goals for fun, but not the midfielder who could have created even more chances for them. "Also, how many positions did you see David Phillips fill? Or Clayton Blackmore? Sparky often had to play midfield to accommodate Rushie and Deano. "Or Deano would play out on the right. These players were so good we had to fit them in somehow, but the current side has specialists in specialist positions and that can make a difference. "It's brilliant to see what's happened with Wales in recent years and the biggest difference is recruitment. What the FAW have done so well is find more Welsh youngsters than previously, which gives a bigger pool to choose from." Asked who would win, Wales under Terry Yorath and Mike England or Wales under Chris Coleman and Ryan Giggs, Southall replies: "Oh, I think we would have beaten them. "Let's put it this way, if we could play the way we used to, we'd smash them. Our style was more physical back then. So, for example, it'd be Barry Horne's job to stop Gareth Bale, make his presence felt after five seconds. "So Gareth is either off, has a limp or is wary of the next challenge. You could get away with that sort of thing more back then. "But if the current side were permitted to just play football, it would be very difficult for us. "Even then, though, I'm not sure their defence could have coped with our front three. We had fearsome firepower, players with fabulous goal records in international football." Passionate Welshman that he is, Southall is delighted to see the strides made by the current class in recent times and actually tipped them to make the Euros final. "You have to give a lot of credit to John Toshack for being bold enough to pick so many young players. "After that, every manager brought something else to improve it again. Gary Speed brought in the Dutch geezer, Ray Verheijen, and he helped change the mindset. "Wales have historically lacked arrogance, we consider ourselves a small nation. 'Let's have a go at these and see what happens', rather than ''Let's go out and smash them'. Welsh manager Terry Yorath and goalkeeper Neville Southall after Wales' defeat to Romania (Image: Western Mail) "But I've noticed more arrogance and belief about this team, which Speeds and his Dutch mate helped install. "People were surprised at the Euros. Not me. I went on TalkSPORT and told Ray Wilkins we'll get out of group, then it's down to the draw but Wales could get to the final. He and the presenter laughed at me, but we came within 90 minutes of it. And could have beaten Portugal on any other given day, too. "Chris Coleman took it to another height. Today Ryan is bringing in a new generation again. Before that Sparky did a great job bringing in more 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 approach with Wales. "People look at Ryan and think he's a quiet, shy man. But he's come out of his shell as manager. Listen, you don't play the amount of times he did for Man Utd if you don't have a ruthless streak. He's got that and it's helping him as manager of Wales." Among the current class of course is Wayne Hennessey, who stands just one behind Southall's goalkeeping record of 92 caps. "I'd love him to smash it, go on and get 120 caps," says Southall. "I had him in the under-19s and remember a game against Hungary in the Faroe Isles. He'd had little to do, but suddenly somehow turned aside a shot that was heading into the top corner. I knew then we had a class keeper on our hands. "My only worry is Wayne is not a Premier League regular. Which I find a little strange because from what I've seen of the other 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 need to build our own stadium. We could have a museum, restaurant, hospitality. Wales' national ground. "Not necessarily in Cardiff. Why not find a site more in the middle, so it's fairer for everyone? Fans coming down from the north for a game are writing off a whole day. We have to help them see international football. "The transport links north to south still aren't brilliant here, are they? I know, I've driven it often enough. "I sometimes tell people I never know how Wales has never produced a Formula One world champion. Those drivers just seem to go round and round bends the whole time - and that's what we do with our roads in Wales!" A brilliant anecdote upon which to finish. Neville Southall. He's one of a kind. Neville Southall: MIND GAMES cover Mind Games: by Neville Southall (HarperNonFiction, £20) is available to buy online and in most book stores .

Source = MetiNews.Com

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Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News


Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News


Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News


Britain news Neville Southall at 62, the Wales football hero with a new calling these days Breaking News

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