Considered among the greatest goalkeepers of all time and one of English football's defining figures over a career that spanned more than two decades, Neville Southall has for the first time decided to tell his extraordinary life story.
For more than sixteen years Southall kept goal for Everton and Wales, becoming his club and country's greatest servant, as well as Everton's most decorated player. Uncompromising, unorthodox and often unkempt, Southall's career followed an incredible trajectory: from football-mad binman, to the greatest goalkeeper in the world in the space of a few years.
Now he lifts the lid on a career that saw him win virtually every major honour, offering a window not just on Everton's glory years and the rapidly changing landscape of British football, but also the latest chapter of his life - working with disadvantaged youths. It is also a story of a time before the game was all about money; when a young player's love of the game and ceaseless commitment to excellence could see him rise to the very summit of world football.
A reflective man with trenchant views on the direction of the modern game, Southall's amazing story is the ultimate antidote to the dull stereotype of the modern footballer.
Neville Southall MBE was born in Llandudno in 1958. He left school at 16 and worked as a hod carrier, binman and waiter, while rising through the ranks of amateur and non-league football. His breakthrough in 1980 came with Bury, and a year later he joined Howard Kendall's Everton. Over a 16-year Goodison career Southall would go on to become the club's most decorated player, twice winning the League Championship and FA Cup, as well as the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup. He was awarded Footballer Writers' Player of the Year in 1985, an MBE in 1995 for services to football and is Wales's most capped player.
James Corbett is a sports correspondent and award-winning author who has reported from 20 countries across five continents for outlets including the BBC, the Observer, the Guardian, the Sunday Times and FourFourTwo. Most recently he has worked with Neville Southall on his eagerly awaited autobiography, and his Everton Enyclopedia will be published this autumn.
"Ability, dedication, charisma and desire made him the King of Keepers."
-- Joe Royle
"As good as anyone I have ever seen in all my years in the game – he stands alongside the likes of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton."
-- Howard Kendall
"During the mid-1980s, Southall's superb anticipation and spectacular reflexes made him the finest goalkeeper in the world. He always demanded the best from his Everton team-mates and his rumpled exterior camouflaged his perfectionism."
-- David France