Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall almost became the Merseyside club’s manager 20 years ago, a new book has revealed.
The Toffees are currently in the hunt for a permanent new boss after sacking Ronald Koeman on Monday and placing David Unsworth in temporary charge.
“Faith Of Our Families – Everton FC: An Oral History”, due for release this week by deCoubertin Books, gives some amusing and timely insight into the club when it was in a similar position in 1997 following then manager Joe Royle’s resignation.
The book tells the 140-year-old club’s story through the voices of people who played or worked there and former media manager Alan Myers explained how close Southall came to being handed the role.
“I don’t think anybody, including Neville himself, was aware how close he came to becoming Everton manager,” Myers said in an excerpt.
“I was outside Bellefield (training ground) with (then chairman) Peter Johnson the morning after Joe had left and we were discussing who should take over as caretaker boss.
“‘I have a shortlist of two,’ said the chairman. ‘Dave Watson and Neville, but I’m leaning towards Neville because a goalkeeper has less responsibility on the pitch’.
“At this point Neville pulls up in the car park – it was early and he was always first in for training – gets out of his car and heads for the Bellefield entrance.
“Seeing me he yells, ‘Alright Alan, you fat c***!’ As he headed in through the doors, Peter says, very dryly, ‘I think the shortlist is down to one.'”
Watson won one of his seven games as caretaker boss before Howard Kendall was appointed as permanent manager.
Southall made his debut for Everton in 1981 and went on to make 578 appearances for the club during his 17-year spell at Goodison Park.
He was considered one of the best British goalkeepers of his generation and won 92 caps for Wales during a 15-year international career.
“Faith Of Our Families – Everton FC: An Oral History” will be officially released on Saturday and more information about the book can be found here.