Southern donates profits to charity

Keith Southern
Keith Southern
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KEITH Southern has announced he is to donate a chunk of his testimonial profits to Brian House and to a testicular cancer charity.

Despite moving to Huddersfield in a £300,000 deal last week, the midfielder will line up against Everton tomorrow – a game organised to recognise his 10 years of service to Blackpool FC.

In testimonial matches, all proceeds go to the player. But in typical Southern style, he is having none of that.

“I don’t even know whether we will make any money yet, so I don’t want to be presumptuous,” said Southern.

“But if we do, then I want to donate a decent amount to those two charities.

“It is something I have thought about and something I would like to do, and if it can make a little bit of difference to anyone else’s life, then great.”

A crowd of around 9,000 is expected at tomorrow’s Bloomfield Road clash with David Moyes’ Premier League outfit (kick-off 3pm), including 2,100 Everton supporters.

Southern will be accompanied on to the pitch by four mascots son Ryan, as well as three youngsters from Brian House.

“That was something else I wanted to do, so I asked Viv Thompson (wife of assistant boss Steve), who works at Brian House, if we could get three children to join in the day and enjoy it.

“I am delighted to have them as my mascots, because I want the whole afternoon to have a charity feel to it and to do some good.”

Shirley Morgan, press and communications manager for Trinity Hospice said: “It’s such a lovely gesture and we are thrilled that Keith is helping Brian House in this way. Blackpool Football Club has been a staunch supporter and it’s great to see the partnership continuing. We wish Keith all the best for a fantastic testimonial.”

Southern joined the Seasiders in summer 2002, when Steve McMahon was in charge.

He played for four more managers – Colin Hendry, Simon Grayson, Tony Parkes and Ian Holloway.

When fit, he has been a virtual ever-present throughout the last decade, and his stock rose even higher last season, when he returned to action just two months after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from one of his testicles.

Southern didn’t really want to leave Blackpool, but when Huddersfield came in with their bid – which Pool accepted – and offered a two-year contract with a further 12-month option, Southern decided to go.

“It is a new challenge at Huddersfield, and one I am really looking forward to,” said the 31-year-old.

“But I can’t lie and it is very sad to leave a group of players I have been with for a long, long time.

“But I had to put myself and my family first, and at my age it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, to start a new chapter in my football career at an ambitious club.

“I also think that 10 years is probably a good time to bow out.

“I never wanted to out-stay my welcome, not that I would have been doing that had I stayed.

“The gaffer at Blackpool made it clear that by accepting Huddersfield’s bid it wasn’t a case that I wouldn’t have had a chance of playing.

“He just said that he wanted me to have a say in my own future, which I appreciated.

“Tomorrow is going to be an emotional and sad day but everything comes to an end in football.

“The saddest aspect of all is the people I’ll leave behind, lads I have known for so long.

“They are some of the best mates I’ve got in life, never mind football.

“I have spoken to a lot of the lads over the phone in the last week and they are sad to see me go.

“All I can say is that I hope Blackpool and Huddersfield both get promoted. Or failing that, we play each other in the play-off final at Wembley – that would be some occasion.”

Admission tomorrow is £10 adults and £5 concessions. It is pay on the gate.