Gary Neville could make a good candidate for MP. We believe so.
Don’t mess about. Put it in the mixer. Following the runner. Putting a foot in – Neville never stood for nonsense on the pitch during his career, and he doesn’t stand for it on Twitter now, either.
The former Manchester United and England defender was hailed as the best right back of his generation by Alex Ferguson, and he’s turned out to be a pretty handy commentator too.
Since his playing career finished in 2011, he’s become one of the most popular pundits in the game, forming an unlikely partnership with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.
It’s not just football he’s become known for discussing, either.
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Neville is a vocal critic of the Conservatives, and one of the most vocal supporters against the proposed super-league. His takedowns on the internet have made him viral many times in recent years – and caused us to consider how he would do in politics.
In fact, he’s considered the prospect before, telling Nick Robinson’s BBC Political Thinking podcast: “I say to myself sometimes ‘I’m able to communicate. I know what I want. I have got a business mind, I can manage people.’ But I just think I’d get eaten alive.”
He shouldn’t be so hard on himself – these are some of his best moments, which shows he’s got what it takes.
‘Disgusted’ by the planned super league
“I’m absolutely DISGUSTED!” | Gary Neville’s verdict on the European Super League proposalswww.youtube.com
Everyone outside of the boardrooms of England’s top teams thought the super league was a terrible idea, driven by sheer greed and sure to alienate fans, and Neville was one of the most passionate, prominent voices when the news broke last year.
Hitting out at his former club for initially backing the plans, Neville said: “I’m fuming, that Manchester United football club, that have been pioneers, that should be leading from the front…”
He added: “It’s greed, it’s selfish, it’s inappropriate, it’s disgusting and it needs punishing. Football was a small savior for these people, and indeed sport generally. This could have been the positive side effect of this pandemic. They have taken defeat from victory.”
Neville didn’t mince his words after former England captain John Terry called for him and other players of his generation to be recognised with MBEs recently.
Terry wrote: “Can someone explain why Gary Neville , Phil Neville, Paul Scholes , Ashley Cole, Nicky Butt, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher, Wayne Rooney, have never been honoured for their services to football. We are talking the BEST of the BEST EVER?”
Neville responded in a typically direct manner. “I don’t think I’m anywhere near but I’d rather have a most improved player award for a sunday team than an award off this lot.”
It doesn’t always have to be passionate rants – sometimes Neville’s comments are more impactful when they’re more lighthearted.
After more developments in partygate, Neville and Carragher made a joke about Johnson. They also introduced a Sky Sports game.
Claiming North Shropshire “spoke for us all”After booting out Tory MEP
Neville called Tory parties “the mob”They lost their North Shropshire 200-year-old seat to the Liberal Democrats in the recent by-election. It was held after Owen Paterson, Tory MP, resigned following a lobbying scandal.
The ex-footballer claimed that the disastrous result for the party showed how the rest of Britain feels.
Boris Johnson learning form Gareth Southgate
Commentating on ITV after England won in the semi-final of Euro 2020 against Denmark last summer, Neville celebrated the win and praised England’s manager Gareth Southgate in particular – comparing him to those in Downing Street.
He said: “The standard of the leaders in the past couple of years in this country has been poor but look at that man there… he’s everything a leader should be: respectful, humble, tells the truth, genuine. He’s fantastic, Gareth Southgate”.
Tearing into Sajid Javid’s defence of Johnson
Neville slapped Sajid Javid for defending Johnson’s prime ministership, while he was still subject to widespread criticism as partygate unfolded.
Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, took to Twitter and wrote: “I completely understand why people feel let down. The PM did the right thing by apologising.
“Now we need to let the investigation complete its work. We have so much to get on with including rolling out boosters, testing and antivirals – so we can live with Covid.
Neville, far from impressed, hit back by saying: “People still working from home and kids wearing masks and you lot weren’t scared in Lockdown 1, yet terrified us all. You’ve been taking the p**s for 2 years.”
On Johnson’s government’s rhetoric fuelling racism
Some of Neville’s most impactful moments came following the shocking racism abuse aimed at England’s footballers following the defeat in the final of Euro 2020.
Neville passionately spoke about it on Sky News “comes from the top” as he took issue with Johnson’s messaging around taking the knee – with the prime minister initially declining to call out England fans who booed players “taking the knee”We must resist racism.
Johnson’s comments about Muslim women were also mentioned by Johnson. Southgate could be a great resource for the prime minister.
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