Nev: Blues needs a leader and a defensive coach

, 23 February, 73comments  |  Jump to most recent

Southall was a bedrock of Everton's backline during the mid-1980s golden age
Neville Southall says that Roberto Martinez's problem is balancing attack with defending and that bringing in help on the defensive side of coaching, coupled with a player capable of dragging the team up by the bootstraps would be big steps in the right direction.

The Everton goalkeeping legend has never been shy about telling it like it is but while he has made no bones about his belief that Evertonians have become conditioned into accepting top-six finishes as "success" in recent years, he feels that Martinez is a fantastic manager with the potential to succeed at Goodison Park with the right changes in approach.

Talking to Bwin news this week, Southall says that the Toffees are fine going forward but, contrary to Martinez's own rhetoric, he also insists that clean sheets have to be the foundation of any top side.

"Our problem is balancing attacking prowess with defending," he said. "Ive got no problem with our attacking play, its old-school in that its outscoring your opponent rather than keeping it tight.

"But to be honest, theyve got international players in goal and across the backline. Theyve got a good back four and if you cant defend with five internationals, you shouldnt be playing in the Premier League."

"Roberto Martinez sets the team out to attack but all the fans want clean sheets if we want to win the league weve got to have clean sheets."

Southall played in some of the finest teams ever to wear the royal blue jersey in the 1980s, sides blessed with natural leaders who mixed finesse with grit and it's his belief that there aren't enough of those kinds of influences in the current setup.

"The team is missing a real leader in the midfield a captains captain to change the game," the Welshman continued.

"If you look at the squad and its a good squad were missing one special player who doesnt have to be a world-beater, but someone like Steven Gerrard who will come in and take a team by the scruff of the neck.

"Overall, were not far off but were definitely underachieving and were missing that spark. I look back at the Peter Reids and Roy Keanes who would assert themselves on a team and make the players play to their tune."

For now, Southall retains his support for the manager, particularly given the uncertainty over the future of the club as speculation regarding investment or a takeover by an American consortium rumbles on.

In his view, removing Martinez now would be counter-productive and he hints that the Catalan deserves one more season to prove he can steer the talented squad he has inherited to greater things.

"I personally wouldnt get rid of him as I think hes a fantastic manager," Southall explained, "but in the summer, he needs to sit down and see if he can find someone to work on the defensive side of the game.

"As I said, were amazing going forward but were struggling defensively. The situation regarding the board is so unknown at the moment. Nobody knows if someone is taking over the club, so whats the point in sacking the manager and bringing in a replacement who might not be there in six months time anyway.

"There will be massive pressure and hes getting tons of stick. If we can get to the end of the season in the top five, the fans will be happy, but I wont be."


Reader Comments (73)

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Denis Richardson
1 Posted 23/02/2016 at 18:15:45
I see Big Nevs been reading TW...
Winston Williamson
2 Posted 23/02/2016 at 18:57:04
Proper blue! Even manages to unintentionally slag off The Dark Side's hero:

"If you look at the squad – and it’s a good squad – we’re missing one special player who doesn’t have to be a world-beater, but someone like Steven Gerrard..."


Colin Glassar
3 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:27:45
Spot on, Nev. I wouldn’t change a full stop or a comma of that. We have a great team with nice players.
Don Alexander
4 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:31:11
Well said Nev but I think Martinez would rather put his own bollocks through a mangle than recruit a Reidy, a Kean or a Gerrard. They knew what's what and did summat about it, on and off the pitch, unlike the nice lads the Incredible One signs.
Brent Stephens
5 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:35:42
Yes, Winston, that's brilliant! Made my evening!
Danny Broderick
6 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:44:15
Nail on the head. If you want the truth, Nev is the only one of our ex players to say it like it is.

It's obvious the manager has to improve our defence if he wants to succeed. The players are all internationals, so replacing individuals is surely not the answer. It's the system at fault.

Based on his record in management, the manager's weakness is defending. The goals against records tell you that. We need a defensive coach, like Wenger has Bould at Arsenal.

If we can get one, we are not far away from being a top side. Over to Roberto...

Raymond Fox
7 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:54:29
Its not necessarily clean sheets that we need, although they would be nice; it's wins! It's quite apparent that we can't score as many goals as we are now and also be tight in defence, we're too stretched a lot of the time.

We trail the very top teams in midfield, Ross is growing into the player he’s always threatened to be but there’s more to come, Cleverley and Besic are good players but what a difference a midfielder the likes of a Silva, an Ozil, a Willian would make.

Just take a look at the players the usual top 4 teams have to choose from in midfield, we are not even close!

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:36:05
Denis (1) I was thinking exactly the same.
Brin Williams
10 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:38:43
I believe we already have that player if only he can keep fit ....Besic.

Make him Captain.

Dave Ganley
11 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:58:51
Love big Nev, he was one of my heroes growing up, but I have to disagree with his opinion of Martinez. I would love to be a believer, but I just don’t think getting in a defensive coach will solve the problems. It's the way he sets up his teams. To be solid at the back, he can’t just concentrate on attacking football with his fatally flawed philosophy. The full backs would have to be more measured, wingers would have to do a portion of defensive work as would the midfielders. Players would have to cover for each other and we would also defend from the front. Allied to that, we would have to be able to control the ball much better than we do... and the team would have to be a lot fitter.

If we compare big Nev's side to the current team, then really, there is no comparison. There were no passengers (okay, maybe Sheedy at times but he could do and regularly did do extraordinary things with the football). There were no poor excuses for deficiencies and they worked bloody hard to get the ball back when they lost it. It's like comparing chalk and cheese. Martinez would have to completely undergo a total revamp of his strategy and philosophy and that, I’m afraid, is never going to happen.

Kunal Desai
12 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:17:19
I wouldn't give Martinez a crack at another season. He’s not going to change so it’s better to change the manager. Much of that will depend on this takeover. Which ever way, he should be sacked in the summer.
Ray Smith
13 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:33:51
Pre Southall, Banks
Post Southall, nobody

Truly a great. I remember one game in particular, away to Chelsea, can't remember the year, but it was Hullit's first game for Chelsea, big Duncs last game before visiting HMP. I was in the top tier and heard Hullit's shot cannon off big Nevs chest. Worth the entrance fee £25 (expensive at the time) also Hullit was worth the entrance fee.

However, why has Nev never been snapped up as a coach???

Jamie Crowley
14 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:46:48
Even the most ardent backer of Roberto couldn't argue the premise.

Adding a defensive coach couldn't hurt and could only help.

For Roberto's own reputation and in the interests of building his image / public relations:
- it would show he's much more "open minded"
- it would deflect the spotlight away from him were there issues on the defensive side and more onto a new defensive coach tasked with improving our defensive game
- it would placate discerning fans

This happens a lot here in the NFL. If a team is having issues stoping the opposition from scoring, often times the defensive coordinator is changed or takes the brunt of the criticism.

I don't know how you can argue against this idea.

John Roberts
15 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:48:47
Ray (#13), maybe the above interview was his application.
Bill Gall
16 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:50:42
As other supporters are saying, this is what they have been saying from midway of last season, but the problem is that Martinez is just not willing to change his systems or philosophy, no matter what anyone says.

Managers are paid to study the opposition and set their teams accordingly but Martinez sticks to the same system. There are a lot of supporters who want Martinez to stay but reading the comments even some of them are changing their minds with his rigid views of how the game should be played.

I doubt that Southall is the only ex-professional saying these feelings and will not be the last but will Martinez read this or take notice? I doubt it.

Jamie Crowley
17 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:56:02
Also I have to echo, in a removed type of way and very much embarrassingly, what others have said about Neville Southhall’s comments regarding all things Everton.

I unfortunately never saw the man play. More’s the pity to be sure. But I’ve read, in my time as a long distance Blue, so many things he’s said about Everton and I’ve never once disagreed with him.

He clearly loves – and I mean loves – the Club. And he absolutely tells it like it is. He’s a refreshing breath of fresh air who continually cuts through the bullshit and tells it like it is.

For lack of anything but a kindergarten descriptor, it’s pretty cool. It’s just awesome to see someone who’s such a massive part of the history of the Club and someone who is beloved be so openly honest and show how much he cares. Awesome. It just sucks to high heaven writing this as I wish I could have seen the man play. Personally tragic.... I know I missed something so special....

Must cling to the "no crying over spilt milk" mantra.

Ray Smith
18 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:59:48
John (#15)

If only, Robles would have been No 1 a long time ago.

Tim has been a very good keeper in his time, however, his sell by date has expired.

Big Nev and Big Dunc, no prisoners, if only!!!

Ian Burns
19 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:03:01
Big Nev is right in everything he says except his description of Martinez as a great manager (unless Nev is touting for a coaching position of course!).

Martinez is not a good manager and most certainly not good enough for EFC and the chances of him bringing in a defensive coach are zero. Even if he did, quite how it would fit in with his rigid/selfish philosophy is another question altogether!

James Marshall
20 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:19:37
Neville is right – Martinez should be given another season, especially with the changes going on at the club. It would be madness to change the coach now with a takeover going on (I’ve said this on other threads too).

Big Nev is my all-time footballing hero, alongside Ferenc Puskas but for very different reasons, and I have always agreed with everything the man says – a true legend of the game, and true-blue-Evertonian legend for me.

The reason he’s never been made a coach is due to his outspoken nature – he’d be a tough man to keep down and would bend the ear of any manager, director or chairman big-time. This is the real reason I believe he’s never been given a job with a top club.

I also think he’s right that Martinez is a good manager, but he has a stubborn streak which I believe is his undoing. He wants to play the right way, and that should be applauded, but we all know he also needs to be more flexible, especially during games. I’m not going to bleat on about that too much, it’s like a broken record on here!

Big Nev for life President!

Andy Crooks
21 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:27:31
James, I absolutely agree with you about Nev. However, in my view, giving Martinez another season is insane. I would hope that a new owner would see it is a priority to appoint a coach with a semblance of competence. I expect a longlist could be drawn up with, perhaps, five or six hundred names.
Nick Entwistle
22 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:31:09
I'd like to see Dunc on the sidelines bending a few ears. He's as passive as Giggs.
Peter Mills
23 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:32:00
Our manager's failing is that he would be unable to manage a side that included characters like Southall, Van den Hauwe, Ratcliffe, Reid and Gray.

I don't mean this in a "they were the good old days" kind of way, rather that a good manager is prepared to have leaders on the pitch, allows them to take decisions, is confident enough in himself to let this happen, yet still be a strong enough character for those players to truly respect you.

Have I seen any evidence of this in Roberto Martinez? Nada.

Sam Hoare
25 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:51:57
Funes and Besic bring a bit of bite to a team that has needed it. Robles brings some confidence and assertiveness to a team that needed it. Lennon brings some work-rate to a team that needed it. I’m hoping Niasse will bring some energy and unpredictability from a team that needs it.

I’m hoping to see this team before too long:

Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines;
Besic, Barry;
Lennon, Barkley, Niasse;

Subs: Howard, Stones, Baines, Dowell, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Cleverley

Andy Stewart
27 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:08:13
Big Nev is right. We have accepted mediocrity for far too long. We are Everton. Need to raise our expectations back to being nothing but the best. First step, get someone with half a brain in charge.
Tony Hill
28 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:14:30
How on earth can anyone be a fantastic manager if he is incapapable of setting up a defence properly or indeed considering it of any real importance at all until the last third of the season? This follows a consistently damaging record of defensive ineptitude throughout his career.

Let's give him another season to see if he can realise that a football team requires balance. Extraordinary.

Colin Gee
29 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:22:54
Big Nev is right, we need a snide in the team, last one was Tim Cahill, Mo Besic looks like he is one, just need to get those hamstrings sorted!

Imagine Big Nev coaching Robles!

Des Farren
30 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:25:04
Jamie @17 while all your reasons for an appointment are valid, the one that matters most is whether it would improve the team.

The terms of reference/responsibilities of such an appointment we would never know of so it is difficult for us to judge.

Also, not sure how many clubs adopt this approach. I know Bould is frequently mentioned. BTW, has Pulis got an attacking coach?

James, I would be with you all the way on Puskas.
Nick Armitage
32 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:42:50
Brin Williams - 100% right. The player Everton need is a fit Besic. Sort his hamstrings out and get rid of McCarthy. Besic is potentially one hell of a player, him and Barkley in midfield would be unstoppable.
Oliver Molloy
33 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:55:10
Big Neville is not the first to suggest a defensive coach and a "take no prisoners" midfielder would do no harm and he probably won’t be the last until it gets sorted.
Derek Thomas
34 Posted 24/02/2016 at 00:52:06
What Nev said, doubled, in spades, with nobs on...Twice.


'Martinez has the team set up to attack'...Not so.

Martinez has the team set up to 'The Philosophy'...The good attacking AND the defensive frailties are mere by products.

This 'Philosophy' is like a footballing version of 'Asimov's 3 Laws of Robotics'.

Where, the 3rd law automatically prohibits any danger to human life, that application of 1 or both of the first 2 might cause.

Same with the Philosophy... any change to the appointment of a Defensive Coach (danger Will Robinson!) ...which WILL cause a serious life threatening change to the Philosophy, automatically invokes this 3rd Law / Catch 22.

The man is in his own little closed loop...philosophy=right; right=philosophy; philosophy=right; right= etc. etc.

Short version; Not going to happen.

Don Alexander
35 Posted 24/02/2016 at 01:10:16
I’m sorry to say I find it pathetic that any of us contend Duncan Ferguson as a potential asset. For the record this is a guy who after being officially made bankrupt begged our club for a coaching role without pay. Since then he’s got a salary. Lucky him, as a bankrupt.

When he (rarely) played for us his record was poor. Talking about Rom many of us say he’s the best forward we’ve had in decades/Sharpy and they’re correct. The following was published by a national newspaper in 2003 about Ferguson. He never sued, ’nuff said, and some of us still revere him?;

’That deal is regarded here at Everton as the worst in the club’s history. When Peter Johnson [then chairman] sold him behind Walter Smith’s back to Newcastle the fans went ballistic. But in hindsight, had that been left alone, it would’ve been one of the best pieces of business the club has ever done. It was a huge fee - £7 million. But to buy that man back does come to represent the one truly great mistake of the new era. The basic truth is that since he came back to this football club he has done nothing but drain away resources.’

So speaks a senior Everton insider on Duncan Ferguson, keen pigeon fancier, cult hero among the fans and, of all the multi-million-pound earners in 10 years of Premiership football, arguably the biggest waste of money of all. And Peter Ridsdale was not involved.

And this is the guy some see as the way forward! Give your heads a shake.

John Daley
36 Posted 24/02/2016 at 01:39:22
"For the record this is a guy who after being officially made bankrupt begged our club for a coaching role without pay. Since then he's got a salary. Lucky him, as a bankrupt."

Is it one of those records that has an alternative (seemingly always satanic) 'message' if you play it backwards or something, because you seem to have the events a bit arse about face there.

Ernie Baywood
37 Posted 24/02/2016 at 01:52:58
I can't believe anyone would contend that Besic is potentially one hell of a player I'd we get him fit, yet say we should get shut of McCarthy. Isn't McCarthy already one hell of a player if we get him fit?

You could say that football reputations are fleeting but I prefer to call it what it is... ridiculously fickle.

Gary Russell
38 Posted 24/02/2016 at 01:53:29
Food for thought Don but it’s like the present situation with certain players and our manager. Hard to blame the players when the manager or the club act in certain situations i.e.; getting selected or offered large wads, contracts.

Who wouldn’t sign a piece of paper offering lengthy and lucrative deals? Evo Morales wouldn’t or Jose Mujica... oops, sorry they are politicians not footy players. But both careers are self-serving it seems to me.
Eric Myles
39 Posted 24/02/2016 at 02:29:06
Don (#32), wasn’t it only in this last month that Dunc was declared bankrupt, and how many years has he been coaching at the Club??
Eric Myles
40 Posted 24/02/2016 at 02:31:41
Brin (#10), first name that popped into my head was Besic but I think he could do with a season or two of experience in the Premier League first.
Michael Penley
41 Posted 24/02/2016 at 04:35:10
There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell Martinez would hire a defensive coach. I think that’s the right approach. Football isn’t NFL with separate "phases" where you attack and defend. Attacking and defending is something you’ve got to have your mind on all the time in football.

You need the team to have the same mindset, not for the defenders to do one thing and the attackers to do another. That requires a singular approach, which is why there’s one man in charge of the team. He can take on advice but he’s got to have full control of the reins.

Laurie Hartley
42 Posted 23/02/2016 at 04:56:21
Apart from the defensive coach suggestion, there are two things I picked up on that Neville Southall said:

"The team is missing a real leader in the midfield – a captain’s captain – to change the game,"

I am not sure whether I am misconstruing what Neville is saying but like Brin # 10 - we have in Mo Besic the perfect "captain's" captain? But what about the captain?

I think Phil Jagielka needs to be given more authority on the pitch to organise the defence. In the long run I would like to see John Stones take over from him because I think that young man would be this teams natural leader and Mo Besic would be the perfect foil for him.

Laurie Hartley
43 Posted 24/02/2016 at 05:10:01
Forgot to mention the second thing that Neville said that I picked up on:

"He feels that Martinez is a fantastic manager with the potential to succeed at Goodison Park with the right changes in approach."

I must admit that bamboozled me a bit but I’d have to say Neville Southall almost certainly knows more about footballers and football managers than I do.

Steven Jones
44 Posted 24/02/2016 at 08:06:10
I agree with Nev... and think RM would agree on a better balance and has been saying similar recently – hailing clean sheets etc

Having watched our defensive set-ups, we are not doing much wrong. Think individual mistakes, given Tim’s now past best and never was great at commanding box, plus young players making mistakes coupled with playing too much at the back when not up to it yet etc.

Staff changes – Goalkeeper: Tim out and new one in (Robles an improvement).

Central Midfield – It is not a Premier League winning one. Barry is a great servant, great season for him etc. However he is slow to recover at pace – the Nevas goal against City big example; lots of others where he cannot make it back.

McCarthy – is okay, but not as destructive as we need, not a turner of games.

Besic – If fit could make a difference with one other.

The one other is not Barry. Gibson – gone but a shame ... probably gone! McCarthy – Okay... maybe.
Move Ross to central midfield with Besic covering him.

New signing!!! This is the last piece of the jigsaw for me

Steven Jones
45 Posted 24/02/2016 at 08:10:17
In short...

Change the goalkeeper and fix central midfield with two athletic destroyers and creators That would make a big difference

Jim Bennings
46 Posted 24/02/2016 at 08:13:42
Funes Mori, Besic and Lennon do add a bit of bite and a little of that "I really want to win this frigging game because it means something to me"... They have that attitude that they enjoy playing football, it’s not a chore or just a job to them as it comes across with some players.

The teams that Neville Southall played in never lacked bite, leadership or big characters. The team that lifted the 1995 FA Cup may have been limited technically but they possessed a big leader in every single position on that pitch from Nev to Watson to a young David Unsworth to Barry Horne, Parkinson, Ebbrell and Stuart to Big Dunc. Every man knew the requirements of playing for Everton.

We miss that bit of nastiness, I recall a crunching tackle from Joe Parkinson on Man Utd’s lynchpin Paul Ince early in that Cup Final, it set the tone for the day and let United know they were in for a hard day.

The Charity Shield against Blackburn, a lesser game but we still had a nastiness, a ruthless streak where we wanted to win the battles before the war, I remember Barry Horne using Tim Sherwood as a doormat to get up, much to the dislike of Sherwood’s team-mates. But we didn’t care, we had hard men who didn’t shy away from a battle.

I look at us now: yes, they look like talented lads but I just wish there was a bit more "win at all costs" mentality there, players who wanted to win their own personal battles and be a bit more nasty, fair but nasty.

For me that’s no doubt where we’ll let ourselves fall short again probably in winning the Cup this year.

Brin Williams
48 Posted 24/02/2016 at 08:21:47
James (#19),

Spot on, mate. I agree with every words and that is the reason he is not taken fully into the fold, they just couldn’t cope with him.

Niall McIlhone
49 Posted 24/02/2016 at 09:40:55
Jamie Crowley: There is no need to use the term "removed" in any context. You are an Evertonian, ergo, YOU were chosen. You are one of us. Whether you saw Big Nev play in the flesh or not is immaterial.

Southall does not mince his words, and neither does he feel the need to kow-tow to the old boys alumni set up at Goodison. I suspect that the manager and chairman, however, both regard him as an irritation? Truth hurts sometimes, eh?

Nick Page
50 Posted 24/02/2016 at 09:41:05
If its the right thing to do, expect it to be totally over-looked until its absolutely glaringly obvious; such is the mindset of the current incumbent.

Anyway, isn’t that Dennis bloke supposed to be a "defensive coach"? Or just another of Bob’s Wigun mates stealing a living?

Helen Mallon
51 Posted 24/02/2016 at 10:21:02
This is not a pop, but big dunk is skint and needs the job so he’s not going to bend anyone’s ear.

There is not going to be a takeover – it should have been done by now.

Dave Richman
52 Posted 24/02/2016 at 10:52:46
Roberto Martinez has been on the record, saying words to the effect of "The philosophy will never change" .... so I doubt anything substantial will happen – unless there is a major catastrophe or something.
Winston Williamson
53 Posted 24/02/2016 at 11:13:57
Helen (45): Patience Helen. These things take time. They’d be spending £200M so they’re not going to rush it. That said, I totally understand the frustration! Just buy us already!!
Ken Buckley
54 Posted 24/02/2016 at 11:17:05
Helen and Winston.

The word from those who reckon they know is that the takeover is a done deal.

We shall see!!

Winston Williamson
55 Posted 24/02/2016 at 11:30:09
Fingers crossed Ken! It could be exciting times ahead. Although, I wouldn't be expecting immediate drastic changes.
Brian Harrison
56 Posted 24/02/2016 at 11:36:38
Surely the simple answer is hire a manager who understands you have to defend as well as attack. RM stated only last week that he would never set his team up for a 0-0 result. RM is a below average manager as his record tells us; stop pussyfooting about and start looking for his replacement.

As for the takeover, I guess the new owners are waiting till Premier League football for next season has been guaranteed, before signing on the dotted line.

Michael Polley
57 Posted 24/02/2016 at 11:55:55
Some good points from Big Nev. The problem is Martinez’s mindset. How do you change that and his stubbornness to accept we have major problem in defending? His whole philosophy needs changing, and I for one cannot see that happening. Yes, more than likely he will stay on for another season, and that I’m afraid that could be a disaster for our club.

I’m dreading the summer once the Euros finish – who stays, who goes, who comes in??? This summer will determine our fate!!!

Daniel A Johnson
58 Posted 24/02/2016 at 12:00:08
It's the Martinez way or the highway.

Look at match days – he stands on the touchline barking orders for 90 minutes.

Not once does he turn around and consult/chat with his coaching staff. Not once do they step forward and talk to him either.

He's Captain Ahab and he will have his whale.

Bill Gall
59 Posted 24/02/2016 at 14:09:44
Players like Gerrard, Keane, and Reid that Southall mentions are not the type of player that in today’s market Everton could afford.

At the club, we have Besic, who has the potential to become a driving force in midfield, but there are questions about his injuries that hopefully are just a temporary setback. I am not sure if we have any youngsters that may come through to be this type of player but, as Southall is saying, we need one now.

The other problem is whether Martinez will want this type of player, who will definitely stand up to him and tell him what he thinks the problems are? I doubt that he will as there have been enough comments from media pundits and it appears he ignores them.

If Martinez were to appoint a specialist defensive coach it will show what a poor Manger he is, as it will have taken nearly 7 seasons in the Premier
League to realize the problems he has had with the defensive side of his teams.

Don Alexander
60 Posted 24/02/2016 at 14:10:39
If I had had to design a perfect centre forward I would have ended up with someone like Duncan Ferguson. He had it all, in abundance, and what sickens me is that he took maximum advantage of the faith we Evertonians had in him and delivered so very little in return. His appearance record for every one of his clubs was poor, with only 239 games in 12 years for us; his goal per games ratio is poor at only 74 for us, that's a little over six per year on average, and if you didn't know better you'd have to say the regularity of when he went missing "injured/suspended" at the same times every season was, erm, "unlucky".

Now that he's bankrupt (and millionaires like him know they're in the doo-dah well before that axe drops) he'll do whatever it takes to keep getting a salary.

On the other hand it may be, I suppose, that he really has turned away from the life of skiving thug, and it may be that if Martinez gets the bullet he'll turn out to be a tremendous coach, and, and........oh hang on! There's a pig flying over, I'll have to get me gun!

Take a look at this link if you want the low-down on our "legend";

John Daley
61 Posted 24/02/2016 at 14:27:11

We can all provide qoutes to paint whatever picture of the player we see fit.

You label him a 'skiver', the doctors labelled him someone who had played through the pain barrier for years with an undiagnosed sciatic nerve problem.

"That a player could find himself so besieged with injury was baffling for all concerned and many efforts had been made at diagnosis and long–term repair. The eventual discovery of Ferguson’s compressed sciatic nerve brought a degree of understanding to his inability to maintain fitness. Medical suspicion was that Ferguson had been harbouring the condition for the previous four years, undiagnosed, and that this would have caused extreme discomfort and pain from simply running, much less competitive football"

You label him 'a thug' and make repeated mention of him being declared bankrupt (a decision that can be reached for any number of reasons). There are many on Merseyside who can personally testify to his longstanding charity work and generosity with both money and time.

It's not a Ferguson thread though, so why keep banging on about him? What is the point you're trying to prove beyond your personal distaste for the man?

Don Alexander
62 Posted 24/02/2016 at 16:48:41
My take on him is that his credentials to coach are invisible up to now, even if he has to be a yes-man to stay employed. Add that to his history of regularly assaulting people, whether or not most if not all of his victims were way smaller than him, allied with the damning opinions of people who actually worked with him for all of his playing years, and in my opinion (and it’s only an opinion) he’s a poor role model for young, talented, enthusiastic footballers in our squad. As a club, we deserve better.
Brin Williams
63 Posted 24/02/2016 at 16:59:42
And he fancies the birds....
Ian Jones
65 Posted 24/02/2016 at 17:29:43
Don, bit harsh on Duncan Ferguson

At the risk of turning this into a Duncan Ferguson thread, whatever anyone thinks about Duncan Ferguson now or in the past, the link you have goes back to 13 years ago and obviously looks at his career prior to 2003.

I am assuming he may have changed his behaviour between those days and now – 13 years ago, I was different to how I am now.

His coaching skills/prowess seem to have impressed both David Moyes and Roberto Martinez, as this link suggests from more recent times, 2014:

However, it would be interesting to see what he actually does, as has been mentioned on this thread and before, none of the coaching staff seem to say or do much on match days..

Getting back to Neville Southall.

Shame for all those that didn’t see him play at all. Look him up on YouTube!!

He was immense!

Don Alexander
66 Posted 24/02/2016 at 18:39:46
Ian, I agree he was immense, especially in the '80s when he wasn’t (you know what I mean)! He was the best keeper I’ve ever been privileged to watch, bar none, anywhere.

I’m heartened he feels as I do, as per his last quoted sentence.

I know OFM and TIO seem to rate him but after the years Duncan Ferguson’s been coaching we’ve yet to see the glimmer of a forward having come through our coaching system getting more than one or two games in the first team, and in his third year Rom is now alluding to areas in his own game that need improving. I don’t believe the lad is idle, I think good coaching could have improved him, and us.

Ian Hollingworth
67 Posted 24/02/2016 at 20:52:15
Agree with Nev, apart from the bit about giving Martinez one more season..... No thanks – he has to go
Steve Davies
68 Posted 24/02/2016 at 21:55:46
Big Nev was an Everton great. Commanding, fearless, and probably the best goalie I ever saw. I agree with most of what he says about EFC needing a defensive coach.

But to say RM is a 'fantastic manager' is ludicrous. His record suggests that isn't the case. RM will not change. Maybe Big Nev is touting for a job at the club.

Anyway, I hope the Blues beat Chelsea in the cup but I have a feeling that Hiddink will have the tactical measure of RM.

Does anybody out there know when this tie is being played? I know it is the weekend of 12th March but when exactly?


Jim Bennings
69 Posted 25/02/2016 at 08:07:17

The FA haven’t set a date for any of the Cup Quarter Finals yet... what takes so long when the draw has been known since Sunday is beyond me.

Andrew Ellams
70 Posted 25/02/2016 at 08:43:49
What about Nev as defensive coach? He certainly knew how to organise the players in front of him.
Ernie Baywood
71 Posted 25/02/2016 at 08:57:35
Incredible goalkeeper, Andrew. No doubt.

But he seems to have been a divisive character at clubs. Gut feeling that he'd cause bother and, while we might like to see some deficiencies outed, I doubt it would be good for the club.

Dave Abrahams
72 Posted 25/02/2016 at 09:25:16
Ernie (#65) you hit the nail on the head there, mate: best goalie I ever saw but can’t help himself with his mouth.

You have to ask yourself, Why hasn’t he copped for a good job in football? He knows plenty of people; it looks like they know Nev...

Kevin Tully
73 Posted 25/02/2016 at 09:36:25
Ernie, Dave. Do you know why Nev isn’t welcome at Goodison? I’ll tell you why... because he had the downright fucking cheek to state 6th wasn’t success for a club like ours.

He has criticised Kenwright, and his stewardship of the club, and we all know if you don’t say wonderful things about Bill, either in public or in the press, you are no longer welcome.

I’ll give you the actual quote, which was also a dig at the Ginger One while he was here: "They’ve brainwashed you into thinking finishing 6th is good; is it fuck!" – Neville Southall, 8 June 2013.

Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 25/02/2016 at 09:43:12
Kevin (#67),

I know how Nev feels about how the club is run by Billy Boy and I agree with him, he was great at a Blue Union meeting at the Casa in Hope Street.

I love big Nev, I’m just saying why he hasn’t got a big job ANYWHERE in football.

Andrew Ellams
75 Posted 25/02/2016 at 10:21:41
Ernie, my comment was a bit tongue in cheek. Don't know if you've read Nev's autobiography but I don't think modern day professional football is ready for his rather blunt view on life.
Winston Williamson
76 Posted 25/02/2016 at 12:29:26
Remember my first game at Goodison Park: missed our first goal in a 3-0 win as I was watching my hero in goal! Realised we’d scored when, simultaneously, he started jumping up celebrating and the crowd roared!

Brian Wilkinson
77 Posted 25/02/2016 at 19:57:05
Jamie@16, my older brother used to tell me about Alan Ball and the likes, I envied missing seeing these players.

I started my first visit around 1975, through those times seen some great and not so great players.

I always remember going to Birmingham City midweek away and Southall played in one of his earlier appearances.

I went home that night and said to my dad, Southall is going to be a top class keeper.

I really feel for anyone who never saw Nev in his prime, in all the players ive seen, Southall is still the best I've seen in an Everton shirt.

Victor Jones
78 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:23:41
Best two keepers that I have ever seen play. And this is just my opinion, Big Nev in goal for Everton. He was just bootiful. He made saves that other keepers could only dream of. And he kept his defence on their toes. No surprise that Everton had a great team in the mid eighties . That team could attack, but most importantly , that team could also defend. Southall and Reid. No way was anybody going to slack off with those two on your back. Pat Jennings was the other keeper. Especially with Northern Ireland. Catching the ball one handed. Enough said.

Don't agree with all Southall has to say. Is Martinez really a "fantastic"manager. Two mid table finishes(unless something dramatic happens). Hardly fantastic. And getting Wigan relegated. Again, hardly fantastic. But no arguments about getting this team to defend better. And to get a real hardnose captain in place. A Joey Barton type player. Please note I said a Joey Barton(type player), and not the actual Joey Barton. Nev Southall has the correct ideas on how to move Everton forward. But will Martinez ever act on anything that Nev ever says. I don't think so.

Off topic here, but I once had a drink with Duncan Ferguson. And he was buying. Thought all Scotsmen were supposed to be tight. Again , enough said.

Just a wee last question. Who was the opposition the day that Nev Southall refused to go in for the half time team talk. I remember it, but the opposition has completely skipped my mind. Was it Coventry?

Sean McCarthy
79 Posted 26/02/2016 at 01:39:59
1984-85 season:

Spurs away around February 85. Everton won 1-0 I think and Nev was MotM by a country mile. As Spurs were our nearest rivals around that time, that result and Neville's performance as good as won us the league. At his peak, nobody else came anywhere near him. The best in the world and he was ours!

These days, he's way to blunt and straight-talking for any club — ilet alone Everton to take a chance on him!! Plus at his, ahem, size not sure he’s in any condition to coach!!!

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