Gary Neville has been a revelation since he started at Sky as a football pundit. Even Liverpool supporters, some of whom ran a campaign to get him kicked off the channel, agree their former foe is pretty good at his job.
It hasn’t surprised his former team mates at Manchester United who presumably had to put up with his analysis and opinions for years at the club. Rio Ferdinand is quoted on Manchester United’s website as saying “Gary’s found his niche. Finally he’s found somewhere where he’s allowed to talk as much as wants.
“I can’t believe people actually pay him to do it. We would have paid money to shut him up!”
Neville’s fondness to share his opinions has won him many fans over the years but it’s also had the opposite effect with more. Piers Morgan said in his Daily Mail column in 2011 “Loved by his own, despised by everyone else. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. My own hatred of the rat-faced weasel ran so deep that the mere sight of him would make me come out in blazing boils of fury.
“As his former colleague, Jaap Stam, so memorably observed in those ill-fated memoirs a few years ago, Gary and brother Phil were ‘a pair of busy little ****s’. And the Dutchman didn’t mean they were always occupied.”
Piers Morgan went on to use every angle of insult he could conjure up in that column but begrudgingly said he’d have loved Neville at his own club, Arsenal. Obviously Morgan isn’t really well placed to comment on dislikeable people in football, but his views were shared by many who don’t support Manchester United.
His work for Sky is changing that. As opposed to many pundits you can clearly see he puts time and effort into his role, preparing well for each job. Added to his experience, this provides a real insight.
Even Rio Ferdinand is impressed “Seriously, though, Gary talks a lot of sense. There are hundreds of people out there who have played the game to a similar level, but how many of them are as honest as Gary, or can put their points across as concisely as he does? He’s doing a top job. We’re all pleased for him.”
Or maybe he’s just happy he can now turn the TV down rather than have to try and escape Neville’s opinions at Manchester United.