Scotland may be Chris Coleman’s last chance with Wales
Former Wales great Neville Southall thinks manager could be fired if his side lose
Wales manager Chris Coleman. Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Wales legend Neville Southall fears Chris Coleman could be out of a job if his team lose to Scotland in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier at Hampden.
A Gareth Bale double gave Wales a 2-1 victory over the Scots in Cardiff in October but that was their first Group A victory from a campaign in which hope is slipping away from both countries after four fixtures.
Scotland are bottom of the group with two points, ahead of Gordon Strachan’s first competitive game as boss, but former Everton and Wales goalkeeper Southall believes a win would be more important to Wales manager Coleman, who took over in January last year after the death of Gary Speed. If it was his choice, though, Coleman would be given plenty more time whatever tomorrow’s result.
Speaking at Hampden Park, Southall said: “It is a massive game for both countries, probably more so for us.
“Strachan will be given another chance if we lose, but I think with ours it could nail the coffin for the manager, for us financially, and for the fans.
“We need to win it for our sake. We are really struggling to get people in the door and when you have a player like Gareth Bale I find hard to understand, so we really need to win this one.
“Personally, I wouldn’t sack him but if we lose this one there will be an awful lot of people queuing up to put a knife in his back. I do think they should give him until the end of the campaign and have a look then or give him another year.
“At the end of the day we have a certain number of players to choose from, you need stability and you need people to put things in place and he hasn’t had enough time.
“If you are in the job for a year you have players for five days over six games which is 30 days, it is really hard to build a successful business in 30 days. We need to give him a bit of time.”
Southall goes by the affectionate nickname of “The Binman” after doing the rounds before his playing career began. Having made his name as a world-class goalkeeper, Southall was shooting from the hip in a lively media conference at Hampden. While backing Coleman, he was less than sympathetic or complimentary to the Welsh FA, whom he described as “probably useless” .
“We look at things probably a little bit negatively and that comes from the top of our FA, who are probably useless to be fair,” he said. “I just think as an FA, we don’t think seriously enough.”
Southall has been baffled by the low home crowds for Wales internationals and said the FA of Wales should look to make those matches more of “an event”.
“We need to get more positivity about the place and really need to push and have a good go, and if we can’t make the games exciting in Cardiff and Swansea then we need to do something about it.”
“The trouble for us is we are having trouble getting people through the door and it is only a tenner and a fiver.
“If we lose on Friday, there will be me, two goats and a sheep at the game (against Croatia) on Tuesday.
“So something is clearly wrong and we need to rethink our strategy for getting people in the door.”