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Here's why you should absolutely be following Neville Southall on Twitter

Big Nev is the hero we need right now.

IF SOMEONE HAD said the name ‘Neville Southall’ to you around 6 months ago, you might not have known who they were talking about.

Soccer - StreetGames Football Pools Fives - Cardiff Source: PA Archive/PA Images

The former Everton and Welsh international was a hero for club and country in the midst of his playing days between 1981-1998. But more recently he’s earned a name for himself on Twitter and become a hero to a lot of people.

Affectionately referred to as ‘Big Nev’ (which is a nickname from his playing days), Southall has become an icon for many people for the simple reason that he is asking questions and trying to learn more about the world around him which no doubt has changed a lot in his 59 years.

You might wonder why it’s important that a 59 year old former footballer is asking the difference between cis and trans. Well it’s simple really, Southall is trying to understand more about the world so he can help more people.

That interaction was 6 months ago and Big Nev hasn’t stopped there. He’s become an ambassador for LGBTQ+ rights for both his former club Everton and charity. He’s got his own column too. Most people love him for his brutal honesty and for the fact that he refuses to disappear up his own arse.

Also Big Nev is sort of obsessed with skeletons and it’s just really funny.

Like really obsessed with skeletons.

But all his tweets just sort of make sense. He’s got a following of over 132,000 people and he’s just using his platform to give marginalized people in society such as sex workers a voice.

He’s exposing a lot of people to these issues which they might not have had to confront before. And he’s doing it with humour and kindness which is above all, the best thing.

He’s coming at all these important issues from a unique aspect, a place of genuinely wanting to learn about topics that he might not have come across growing up in Wales in the 1960s and 70s.

He’s a man in his late 50s asking questions about difficult topics and trying to better himself all the time. He’s not trying to speak for groups but instead tries to amplify the voices that too often are shouted over.

Some people laugh at that and dismiss him which baffles a lot of people. Why dismiss someone who is trying to learn about the issues? We so often hear about straight white older men who don’t want to check their privilege or learn about anything and yet here is a man who is doing exactly what you want him to do and you laugh at him?

Not on my watch. I will defend Big Nev to the death.

He regularly gives his Twitter over to people to tweet about different issues and gets people to think about or confront issues that they might not think about normally such as drug addiction or the rights of sex workers.

He also regularly takes on the abuse that he gets and handles it with such grace and good humour. His offhand way of tweeting seems to endear everyone to him and the fact he’s calling it as he sees it with regards to the Tories being in power only enforces that.

And if you think it’s just me that loves Big Nev then I’m afraid you’re very wrong. Big Nev is as popular on Irish Twitter as he is anywhere else.

If we could all could be a bit more like Big Nev then the world would be a much better place. So if you want to learn some things and laugh along the way then I suggest you get over to Twitter and give Big Nev a follow. God knows we could do with more like him.

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About the author:

Rachel O'Neill

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