Football: Keeper Southall samples low life with the Shrimpers

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The Independent Online
The difference was almost 50,000 as Neville Southall, Welsh international and the rock of Everton's defence for 16 years, made his down-table debut yesterday.

As the Toffeemen were devoured like a Christmas trifle before a Boxing Day crowd of 55,167 at Old Trafford, the 39-year-old Southall was parading in front of 5,341 at Brentford's Griffin Park.

Signed on a month's loan by Southend's Alvin Martin to bring "stature" and "massive presence" to the Second Division club, Southall kept the third-from-bottom Bees at bay until he was stung by 42nd minute goal from Robert Taylor.

By that time his successor in the Everton goal, Thomas Myhre, had been beaten twice by Manchester United, and Southall also had the satisfaction of not being a loser - Regis Coulbault scoring with 10 minutes to go, which left the Shrimpers three places higher than their hosts.

Southall, who is wealthy enough not to have to play out his days in the lower divisions, is keen to go into management. Whether this introduction will have encouraged him to start low remains to be seen. No doubt Southend's regular keeper, Simon Royce, having served a one-match ban, will hope the Premiership bright lights lure the interloper back to Goodison.