GTF signs new Pool deal – Southern no nearer

Keith Southern
Keith Southern

GARY Taylor-Fletcher has signed a new deal at Blackpool – but Keith Southern still has no idea if he’ll be at the club next year.

Southern is in his tenth season at Bloomfield Road and would love to remain a Seasider.

Like Taylor-Fletcher, he rejected the club’s first offer of a new contract. But while Taylor-Fletcher and his representatives have had further talks with chairman Karl Oyston and have managed to reach an agreement, Southern has heard nothing.

Taylor-Fletcher has signed a new one-year deal, with a further 12-month option.

His agent Matt Buck said: “We had further talks with the club on Friday and they went well. Gary always wanted to stay at the club because he has had some great years there.

“He is pleased it is now almost resolved and delighted to sign a new deal.”

That leaves Southern as the only player not to agree a new contract since relegation from the Premier League.

The 30-year-old said: “From what I’m led to believe, Fletch is more or less done. But I’ve had no dialogue with the club.

“I want to stay. I just don’t know at the minute. I’ve got nothing really to report.

“I love it here but if they don’t want to come back to me...

“I’m just a little bit disappointed with the way it has turned out, given that I’ve had ten years at the club.

“Karl (Oyston) is looking after the club’s interest, that is fair enough, but I’ve got to look after my interests.”

“If it is my last season, then I hope it finishes in promotion but I am hopeful we can work something out in the near future. I’m just a little in the dark at the minute.”

Southern will have the support of the fans as he waits to see if the club return with a fresh offer.

Signed by Steve McMahon in the summer of 2002, the midfielder has played under five managers and has always been a regular.

Southern has racked up 355 appearances.

He was a key member of the sides which won promotion to the Championship and the Premier League, playing at Wembley in both play-off final victories.

Boss Ian Holloway is keen for Southern to get a new contract, describing him as “a cracking lad” and “the kind of player every manager wants in his team”.

But if Southern is to stay, both parties need to start talking again.

The midfielder added: “As far as I was concerned, it was kind of dead and buried a couple of weeks ago.

“Fletch has kind of revived the talks from his personal point of view and good luck to him.

“But I haven’t spoken to anybody. No-one has approached me, so I’ll just keep going, keep plodding on and see what happens.”

Southern has proved his value by making an impressive start to the season and was one of the better performers in an under-par team display against Cardiff on Saturday.

He added: “The match was hard work for one reason or another. I don’t think we started well and it went from there. We were a bit pedestrian.

“They did a job on us, I thought. They came with a gameplan and I thought they did quite well but we never really got goin.

“We didn’t have fluidity or tempo but credit to Cardiff.”

Asked if the wet conditions hindered the Seasiders, Southern replied: “We all thought the pitch was going to be really boggy and the ball wouldn’t really roll, but it turned out the opposite. It was slick and very fast.

“No excuses – on the day we just didn’t hit the heights we are capable of. But we take the point and we move on.”