Reader Responses

Selected thoughts from readers

Dave Williams
Posted 07/04/2019 at 18:25:50
Quite simply the best I have seen anywhere. I met him at a sportsman's dinner in Torquay not long after he finished with them and he was very down to earth and definitely not impressed with our goalkeeper at the time. A shame he has never been hired to coach our keepers, most likely due to his outspoken nature.

When I look back on my 55 years of watching Everton his will always be in my top 5 players who I have enjoyed watching the most.

The word “ legend” is used for a ridiculous number of average players these days but this guy embodies the word.

A class act!
Alan Kenyon
Posted 07/04/2019 at 20:00:55
I have told my son all about Big Nev and told him he is THE BEST footballer I have ever seen live. Everyone forgets that a goalkeeper is most probably the only position on the field where the is nowhere to hide and Big Nev never hid. Great article
Dave Abrahams
Posted 07/04/2019 at 20:03:28
I’ve seen every Everton goalkeeper since the Second World War and Neville is the stand out, just superb, couldn’t fault him, he inspired confidence in the whole team.

Talking about the Second World War though Nev could have started The Third World War with that mouth of his, but he will always be well regarded by the fans at Goodison.

David Pearl
Posted 07/04/2019 at 20:10:55
Once in a lifetime keeper for any team. Doubt we will see his equal for a long time, if ever. What a team that was. My favourite save of his was against John Barnes in a derby at Anfield. Another favourite memory was Speedy running into him and then having to have treatment. Must have been like running into a wall.

He had everything. Reflexes, strength, a big mouth and confidence to always make the right decisions. The only keeper that comes close would be Schmeicel. In my time anyway.
Steve Barr
Posted 07/04/2019 at 22:16:03
Very privileged to have been at the Tottenham game for that astounding save and also at Goodison when he came out early at half time and sat down in front of one of the uprights. He was pissed off at our dreadful performance against a newly promoted Leeds if memory serves me well?!

Best keeper I ever saw, and what a character.

Love the Alf Tupper comparison, spot on.

Bill Watson
Posted 08/04/2019 at 05:47:36
Like Paul I've seen all the great goalkeepers at Goodison, since the 1950s, and Big Nev was simply the best.
Rick Tarleton
Posted 08/04/2019 at 08:27:32
By far the best Everton keeper that I've seen in my sixty five years of Everton watching. He ranks with Banks and Jennings as the three best I've seen.

However, he impresses me equally as a compassionate and caring human being and I honour him even more for that.
Ray Short
Posted 08/04/2019 at 08:51:04
Respect to Neville, so far above his contemporaries, and my favorite player of all time, and given the other Everton Greats that is some accolade. And now?? once again a true person of real humanity. What a hero
David Price
Posted 08/04/2019 at 10:25:58
I was at the Spurs game that night too, the save was as good as it's described in this great article. It was at the far end of where the Everton fans were. If anything it gave us the best view as the ball was crossed over from the Everton right and the header sending the ball to the top corner.

Nev, à la Banks, had to come from his right hand post to position himself centrally before flinging himself in a split second to his left to knock the ball over the bar. Magnificent memory from a magnificent player.

A friend of mine, who supported Stalybridge, remembers a young Nev getting dogs abuse from their supporters whilst playing for Winsford.

He said, Nev just went into the crowd where the few loud mouths were behind his goal and "had a word". Job done.
Christy Ring
10 Posted 08/04/2019 at 14:13:57
Big Nev was a class act and he was the best keeper in the world when Everton were worthy champions in the 80's. He had no weaknesses to his game.

I read his book and Nev said that Mimms couldn't be blamed for losing the league to Liverpool. He kept six clean sheets and conceded 3 goals in 9 games which was very impressive.
Tommy Coleman
11 Posted 08/04/2019 at 21:20:20
Paul, thank you for that superb read. I've read Nev's diary and your piece adds to his legend.


Jerome Shields
12 Posted 08/04/2019 at 23:07:04
When asked about playing against Wales when Holland failed to score though they dominated the game Rudd Gullit said .’ They had a really good goal keeper’ . Southhall saved every shot on goal and dominated his area .
Jerome Shields
13 Posted 08/04/2019 at 23:24:45
I was at the Tottenham game on 3rd April 1985 amongst the Everton Supporters behind the Tottenham goal with my girlfriend and future wife . Tottenham got nowhere when they got to the Everton end , Southall dominated and his distribution had Tottenham under continuous pressure in their final third, where they where completely outplayed .The Tottenham defenders where in panic ( you could see it ) they didn’t know what was coming next , under wave upon wave of a relentless attack .

Everton Everton Everton .

I remember it well.

Winston Williamson
14 Posted 09/04/2019 at 14:10:56
The first game I ever watched at Goodison Park was against Southampton in September 1990. We won 3 v 0. I was an aspiring goalkeeper, in the Upper Bullens. I had my eyes glued to Neville Southall in the Park End and missed the first goal (John Ebbrell I think).

As a non-scouse supporting Blue,and a goalkeeper, Neville Southall was one of, if not the biggest, reasons I started supporting Everton.

Every chance I got I tried to replicate his saves during my own games, much to the annoyance of my manager!

I got to meet Neville in 1995. I was extremely shy (aged 14), but once I told him I was a goalkeeper he was fantastic with me.

A rare occasion you meet your hero and he's not a dick...EFC Legend in every sense

Michael Spear
15 Posted 09/04/2019 at 17:57:44

For more insight into Big Nev and his thinking you should have a read of some of the occasional columns he has written for the 'i' newspaper ( over the past year or so.

For anyone who has also read 'The Binman Chronicles' you won't be at all surprised to see that the great man hasn't changed a bit.

Les Graham
16 Posted 10/04/2019 at 00:10:56
Great article...Neville Southall is, outside of Evertonians memories, largely and quite inexplicably forgotten.
The man was a collosus inbetween the absolute Everton Legend..!
Craig Walker
17 Posted 11/04/2019 at 16:52:55
Great article. Pickford could learn a lot from Neville. As mentioned in the article, Southall helped us win a trophy and then quietly drove home. He just saw it as doing his job. I feel privileged that I got to see him play live for the Blues on numerous occasions. He probably is THE greatest Evertonian in his position that I have seen play. I worshipped him when he was our keeper and my admiration for him has gone up having read the Binman Chronicles and followed him on Twitter.
Joe McMahon
18 Posted 16/04/2019 at 21:04:55
Fantastic article, my faves Pat Jennings, Phil Parkes, Peter Schmeichel, but the best if all Big Nev, and Jennings takes some beating!
John Maxwell
19 Posted 23/04/2019 at 10:22:15
Of all the players I've seen play live. Southall is well up there, 2nd I would say behind Thierry Henry.

The saves I have seen him make begger belief, like how to f$5k did he keep that out.

The most memorable game was at Coventry away in 1988 (Cottee's 2nd game) we won 0:1 somehow and got slaughtered at the game, somehow Big Nev managed to keep out a penalty from Brian Kilkline and at least another 4 saves which youtube don't do justice. I'm sure all the Evertonians there that day will tell the same story.

I would say he is our 2nd best player to wear an Everton shirt behind Dixie.

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