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Southall: Investment is essential but protests have no effect
The Everton legend was on Merseyside today to announce the publication of his autobiography and spoke openly and candidly about his time at the club, in which he made 750 appearances for The Blues.
“I’d like to see investment on the pitch,” said Southall, who has played more games for Everton than anyone else.
“There’s no point in building a new stadium until you’ve got a team that will get enough supporters in to fill it. You don’t want a 60,000 capacity stadium with 30,000 fans there.
“The club need to give the supporters some hope for next season. They need to be making enquiries for players and making those enquiries known so that fans can see that investment in the squad is coming in the summer.”
When asked if he was aware of the unrest surrounding Everton, Southall said he knew about protests but didn’t feel they would have much impact at board level at Everton.
“I wouldn’t have thought protests will have any impact on the board, but they are obviously born out of frustration which isn’t helped by that lot over the road doing better each season,” added the former Everton captain. “Although saying that if they are giving us something better to beat then Liverpool improving might actually help inspire Everton.
“I’d love money to come into the club, but do you want someone who doesn’t understand the club coming in and ending up like a Blackburn? You need to be careful what you wish for, as ‘good’ takeovers seem to be in the minority.
“For me, a new investor would need to bring somebody in who understands Everton, maybe someone like Colin [Harvey] or Joe [Royle] and also someone from a supporters club because at the moment fans don’t seem to have too much of a voice.”
Repay the fans’ loyalty
Southall also feels that the club could encourage supporters to get behind the team more towards the end of the season by offering those who attend each of the final six home games of this season with a free ticket to the first home game of next season.
“The club could be a bit more clever with fans,” continued Southall. “They know they need the fans to get behind the team, so they should tell you. They should say ‘we need you more than ever now’ and then reward fans by letting them in to the first home game of next season for free.
“They’re not going to lose any money on that, as they’ll fill the ground for the rest of the season, and those extra fans will also then spend money in the club shop or at the bars, but it builds a sense of togetherness between the club and the fans and bridges any divide that may be forming.”