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Neville Southall exclusive: Why Everton have nothing to fear against Arsenal and great managers don’t lose the head

Big Nev knew how to use his hands and previews Everton's FA Cup clash with Arsenal on Saturday.

by Neville Southall | March 6, 2014

I loved playing Arsenal at Highbury back in the day.

Me and Andy Hinchcliffe got done by the police one year in the warm up because we used to boot the ball at the hospitality boxes “by accident” to practice our kick outs.

We got away with it the first year but someone must have remembered because when the next season when we tried it again, the police came over and asked us to stop.

Highbury was a proper old football ground.  It was the first place I went to where they had under-floor heating in the dressing room. When you opened the windows you heard the crowd outside filing past. It was a brilliant atmosphere.

We actually won an FA Cup semi-final there against Southampton in 1984 when Adrian Heath headed the winner in extra time. And we beat Watford 2-0 in the final.

The Emirates is a fantastic stadium but a club loses something – a sense of their history maybe  – when it moves.

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Highbury 840

Anger Management

The whole Alan Pardew thing is a bit strange. He tried to push David Meyler away with his head? What’s the matter with your hands.

Everytime I see him on the touchline he doesn’t come across as angry – he comes across as arrogant.

It’s one thing showing passion to the fans and another showing loyalty to the players and there’s a thing about showing who’s in charge. But he hasn’t done any of them.

He’s ruined his image now and will need some PR geezer to get him out of the shit.

Managers have to be really careful about what they say and do. If you say one thing and do the other the message gets lost. And players will quickly switch off.

Its a fine very fine line.  Maybe he should put “Don’t headbutt players” in his notebook for their next game against Fulham on Saturday week.

I’ve seen plenty of managers lose their temper alright – but the best ones do it for a reason.

Some,  like Mourinho are playing mind games and do it to get the best out of their squad.

Alan Pardew 840

You’re not expecting anyone to start shaking hands if you’re 4-0 down at half time but there has to be more than ranting and raving.

Mike Walker used to come into the dressing room and say the same old thing: “You’re not fit.”  Didn’t have a clue tactically – it was just ‘you’re not fit.’

But after a while we just switched off and went “Yeah, shut up Mike, let’s try and do this second half and see what happens.”

The pressure gets to all of us. One of my most famous “moments” was when I went and sat at the posts at half time against Leeds at Goodison.

Why did I do it? I was shit in the first half and didn’t need to be reminded.

I went into the dressing room but just needed to clear my head. People don’t believe it but I had done it at Wimbledon before. They used to put about 3,000 sugars in your tea and the dressing room was boiling. I needed to get out of their sharpish just to clear my head.

Only one fella has ever said to me that he’d seen me do that at Wimbledon.  Just shows you the size of crowd they got.

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Arsenal v Everton, Saturday, 12.45pm

Arsenal’s approach will depend on how seriously Arsene Wenger is taking the FA Cup this season – and it could be very telling either way.

If Arsene Wenger plays his strongest side he must think that the Gunners chance of winning the Premier League is gone. Everton will go there and play their usual game – go on the attack and try to get a result.

But they must start well because Arsenal are a very good side.

It should be a proper game of football with both sides looking to pass the ball and trying to get players forward. Everton are playing well again.

I was at the game last weekend against West Ham.  John Stones was fantastic and Steven Naismith won so many headers  against the Hammers’ giant defenders it was unreal. He’s got a great spring.

I met Roberto Martinez on Saturday night at a shareholders’ dinner. He’s a nice fella and incredibly positive. He wants to win a trophies with the Toffees.

There’s no reason why Everton should fear the game at the Emirates because we can match Arsenal all over the pitch. They’ve a squad full of similar midfield-type players but they lack a bit of depth up front.

One things for sure though is that they’ll likely come out and attack us and that will suit our counter-attacking style. We’ve got pace down the flanks and players who can score.

We got a 1-1 draw against them at the Emirates in the Premier League. I’m going for us to do the same again and get a draw at 13/5 with Paddy Power. to take the game to a replay. The 1-1 deadlock is 6/1 with Paddy Power .

 

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