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Big Nev

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Dixie Dean on the radio this morning got me thinking about the greatest Everton player I have ever seen... Sadly I'm too young to have seen Dixie Dean... Maybe the best I've seen is the binman, Big Nev.

Almost 10 years ago, I was out on the piss in London and wandered into some student place with my friends. After another pint we wandered through to the dance floor... there was a five-a-side goal on the dance floor and Big Nev was there saving penalties from anyone who cared to take them.

Spent the rest of the night drinking in the queue, taking a penalty, hugging Big Nev, getting his autograph, then going back to the back of the queue again... think I woke up with a dozen of his autographs in the morning. Sorry Nev, if I spoilt your evening, but you made mine!!
Tom Brown, London     Posted 03/05/2008 at 09:25:31

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George Brooks
1   Posted 03/05/2008 at 15:06:17

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Here here, Tom. I agree that in my time as yours obviously, Big Nev was undoubtedly a hero amongst heroes. There were many players in that era who will alway?s stick in the memory for many of us:? Reid, Bracewell, Steven, Stevens, Sheedy, Mountfield, Heath, Sharp, Ratcliffe, Van den Hauwe... even Paul Power (I quite enjoyed his stint at goodison as well).

I will bet anything that all the aforementioned would agree that Big Nev was their kingpin, their insurance, who never let them down, and who could be relied on time after time. Keep hold of them autographs, mate ? they will be great memorabilia for the future.

Trudy Boston
2   Posted 03/05/2008 at 16:24:38

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Neville was the best goalkeeper ever to play for Everton, for that there can be no doubt, but Edward Sagar is maybe the greatest man to ever appear between the sticks for the blues.

Southall was without doubt, the best ?keeper in the top division during the mid to late 1980s and the early 1990s, and even played on for the blues in a defeat of the Liverpool in late 1997, when Danny Cadamarteri left some Norwegian on his backside and he raced towards through on goal to give us a 2-0 win over them. The first was a Neil Ruddock own goal if memory serves.

One thing about Neville Southall: after the 1995 FA Cup Final win over Manchester United, instead of staying on for the after match banquet he headed straight home to North Wales. He said in the post match interview "If you had been with these players for as long as I have, you?d want to go home as well!"

A quiet man, and a bit of an odd ball at times, but as mentioned, a fine goalkeeper, and an Everton legend.
Brendan George
3   Posted 03/05/2008 at 16:56:49

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Nevile Southall is definitely the greatest Evertonian in my lifetime. One of my earliest memories of him as a nine year old was a game against Man United at Goodison in the 1988-89 season (which we drew 1-1) making a superb double save from Brian McClair and somebody else. And on Eric Cantona’s debut for Leeds, a Cantona had a one on one with Big Nev, and big Nev positioned himself so well that when Cantona aimed his shot it curled wide of the far post. Finally, from my childhood, I remember a game when Holland played Wales, the headlines was Southall Vs Holland. He made miraculous saves from the likes of Van Basten, Koeman, Gullit and Rikaard until he was finally beaten in the last eight minutes. There was also another game I can recall at Derby when Peter Shilton applauded a phenomenal save from Southall. People talk of the likes of Schmeichel and Seaman or even Yashin, but Southall was the best from what I’ve seen.
Michael Coffey
4   Posted 03/05/2008 at 17:48:39

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Back in about 1980 I went to watch Chorley play a Cheshire league match at Winsford. Chorley won 4-0. Winsford?s goalkeeper that day was... Neville Southall. I still have the programme.

Oh, and I won the Golden Goal as well.
Paul Gladwell
5   Posted 03/05/2008 at 18:19:21

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And how do those lads feel about that nasty binman flag they brought out?
Shame on them, I actually still see them now and again, feel like reminding them of their slur on a legend and all because he saw his arse because people's standards were not matching his.
Alan Farrell
6   Posted 03/05/2008 at 19:37:10

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The same Neville Southall who sued his daughter leaving her with 6 grand worth of legal fees? Sound chap alright.
Gareth Humphreys
7   Posted 03/05/2008 at 19:58:31

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Thanks for that Alan.
Do you know the story behind that? The relevance of bringing it up is?
Jimmy Changa
8   Posted 03/05/2008 at 20:14:58

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The best match I ever seen Nev play in wasn?t even for Everton. It was a 7-1 mauling of Wales by the Netherlands.

It could have been triple that. Southall got man of the match. Superb.
Steve Williams
9   Posted 03/05/2008 at 20:11:25

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Neville Southall was indeed a terrific player for EFC and I don’t doubt his place in history, but for me, I’d have no hesitation in naming Alan Ball. Bally was everything that any Evertonian would want in a player.

Had the great pleasure of meeting him and his good lady at the 100 Year Dinner at St. George’s Hall, spending 15 minutes in their company. It was clear that he was as big an Evertonian as any of the rest of us.
Micky Norman
10   Posted 03/05/2008 at 20:24:28

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Nev was fantastic, but as our best ever player? No question: Alan Ball.
Frankie Fannon
11   Posted 03/05/2008 at 20:01:23

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I normally only read the articles / comments on toffeeweb but for the first time ever I think I have to respond. Allan Farrell ? where do you get off on trying to blacken the name of one of the greatest legends EVER to wear the blue shirt. Neville Southall was is and always will be a legend to all blues fans. If you think anything to the contary then put on your red shirt and go to your local and clap at the telly.

Just to move it on a tad, I can?t decide if the save at Tottenham that won us the league - I think it was from Micky Hazzard although I may be very wrong (like Allan Farrell) or in the Derby match at anfield against John Barnes (although it was offside but Big Nev didn?t know that ) was his best save.

Michael Kenrick
12   Posted 03/05/2008 at 21:42:46

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This thread reveals some interesting things about football fans that never fail to intrigue me. One is the mental barrier some have in dealing with "negative" news about one of their heroes... and of course that means it?s "Shoot the Messenger" time.

Don?t get me wrong: Neville Southall is a true Everton Legend, certainly our greatest goalkeeper in the modern era, and possibly ever. But that was his job: ace goalkeeper ? not Paragon of Virtue or Perfect Family Man.

The story Alan Farrell mentioned can be found here (for those interested ... and for those who aren?t, best not click on that link; you won?t like what you read, cos it?s from eveyone?s least favourite national rag...), which I?m sure will only add to the angst of scared memories now clouded by knowledge of the man?s basic humanity.

Get over it.
Steve Ryan
13   Posted 03/05/2008 at 23:53:59

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Steve and Micky I respect your comments about the great Alan Ball and I was privileged to see him regularly having started watching the blues in 1967 as a 10 year old. In my opinion however, you cannot compare Bally who was with us for only 5 years, with Big Nev who stayed with Everton, playing in some woeful teams, for about 16 years. He could have gone to Real Madrid if he wanted as he was that good. I can only recall him playing about 4 bad games during that period as he single handedly kept us in the top division. Nev, unlike Bally, was the best in the world at his job, an absolute genius and in my opinion is up there alongside Dixie.
Arthur Jones
14   Posted 04/05/2008 at 03:13:28

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I loved Bally, my first hero. I?m far too young to have seen Dixie obviously; I never saw ?the Golden Vision ? which I regret even more now after reading David France?s excellent book about him.... But Big Nev, what a keeper! My recollection is how surprised I was (during our best years) if he was beaten. Bayern?s goal springs immediately to mind. A true legend, Nev, he could possibly still do a job? for someone anyway!!!
15   Posted 04/05/2008 at 09:59:07

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Southall along with Schmichael were the 2 best im prem...arguably ever
W Leaf
16   Posted 04/05/2008 at 11:05:07

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What is all this talk about Big Nev being the best in the league at the time...I have no doubt he was the best in the world during that mid-80’s period.

He was deprived of the top international stages thanks to Liverpool / Heysel and the fact that Wales never qualified for a major tournament during his tenure.

Should he have been more fortunate, his name would have been mentioned, by the uninitiated, with such as Shilton, Schmichael etc
Jason Lam
17   Posted 05/05/2008 at 05:19:36

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Neville Southall is the greatest Everton player in my lifetime too. Ironic as I hardly considered goalies as playing ’football!’. I recall images of him arching his back in midair to punch away certain ’goals’ that were deflected after he already entered flight. Unreal at times.

Also remember the game against Graham Taylor and David Platt’s Villa, when we lost 6 -2. Felt sorry for him and the bunch of wankers he had to play with.

To slate his place in Everton’s history because of ’personal problems’ is unfair, we all have issues and personal demons. Though playing goalie on a disco dance floor does push it a bit.

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