Southern backs Mac at Pool

Keith Southern
Keith Southern

Blackpool Premier League star Keith Southern believes the club has picked the right manager in Neil McDonald.

Midfielder Southern, a fans’ favourite for a decade at Bloomfield Road and part of the team which won promotion to the top flight in 2010, insists that what the club needs most is stability.

The 34-year-old, now with Pool’s League One neighbours Fleetwood Town, called for fans to give the new boss time and for chairman Karl Oyston to give him the funds to rebuild a threadbare squad.

Southern understands the frustrations of Pool fans, who have seen their club relegated twice in four years.

But he told The Gazette: “They have appointed a very good man and a very good coach.

“He’s got a great grounding in the game, having worked with Sam Allardyce for so long.

“He’ll have a great grounding in the technical side of the game as well as the health and welfare sid, in which Sam has been a pioneer over the years. He’ll have learned a massive amount in that time.”

Southern echoed the comments of Pool legend Jimmy Armfield, stressing that a change of atmosphere around Bloomfield Road was essential for the club to bounce back from relegation.

Tensions boiled over on the final day of the last campaign, when a pitch invasion forced the abandonment of Pool’s final Championship fixture.

But Southern added: “If you’re not all pulling in the same direction it can be a real challenge.

“When we got out of this league in 2007 we had everyone with us, everyone believing.

“It was a huge achievement, having been outside the top two divisions for 30 years.

“It’s different this time but not impossible. The manager will need the backing of Karl Oyston and hopefully he’ll get it.”

McDonald has indicated it may take more than a season to push for promotion back to the Championship.

But Southern is glad to see a manager talking about a long-term plan, insisting McDonald is no low-cost option.

He said: “All the pessimistic Blackpool fans will think it’s just another cheap appointment. They’ll think he is someone brought in because the club will not spend any more.

“For me it’s not like that – it’s a positive to have a man of Neil McDonald’s standing take over.

“I don’t think Blackpool could have found a better man for the job right now.

“Can he turn it round? Only time will tell.”