If you are a footballer and harbour a post playing career in media then it seems you need to play for Liverpool. Graeme Souness, Jamie Redknapp, Alan Hanson, Mark Lawerenson, Jim Beglin and Stan Collymore all donned the red shirt and now, depending on which TV channel you watch and radio station you tune in to, give us the benefit of their opinion. Hell even Clive Tyldesley used to commentate for Radio City!
So although it sticks in the throat, perhaps it is fair, not to mention inevitable, that after retiring from The Mancs Gary Neville should be called up to address the balance. So here have it, the man with the apologetic moustache, sitting alongside our Jamie, our Graeme and Uncle Jeff Sterling to utter forth on the Saturday’s Champions League final.
I should say that I chose to watch the game on Sky rather than ITV as I simply couldn’t face the otherwise reasonably OK Tyldesley’s simpering over Barcelona. Yes they are good and I appreciated and enjoyed the game however, I have not come to worship at the Catalan alter. I don’t want to listen to Tyldesley and Andy Townsend repeat the evangelical uttering’s about Guardiola’s men they did at Arsenal game team as if they’ve just discovered the secret of alchemy… or God!
Anyway back to our Gary. It is early days yet but the initial disappointment that Neville isn’t going to keep a low profile and retire quietly to his proposed new eco friendly home and make compost was soon out weighed but the realisation that their could be some fun to be had here.
Gary started off with a nice and predictable swipe at Liverpool by saying that Xavier Mascherano shouldn’t be playing at centre half and that he didn’t fancy him in the team full stop because he’d played against him at Old Trafford. Basically he thought Mascherano wasn’t good enough because he’d failed “the Neville test” forget all the other games. So one couldn’t help but smile when after the game Mascherano, with a winners medal around his neck, dedicated his win to Liverpool.
“I know that Liverpool supporters were a little sad with me after my exit so this was for them as well”
I’m sure he didn’t hear soft lad’s pre match assessment of him but, in the light of his comments, you do wonder? Gary Neville 0 Liverpool 1
I guess it’s nice that Mascherano should think of us and it does show a degree of regret over the way things were handled. No doubt Mascherano will argue that his move was justified and with us not even in Europe next season and he with a Le Liga and Champions League medal in his cabinet, you can’t really argue?
Anyway there was more to come from Mr Neville. Conveniently forgetting who they were playing he likened Barca’s incessant, intricate passing to the tactics of his own side – pass, pass, pass so that teams become tried and make mistakes at the end of the game. The insinuation being that his mates conceded the final two goals because they were tired and not comprehensively outplayed by a more accurate, skilful consistent form of passing. It’s a fanciful notion, when I watch the Mancs play, Barcelona do not immediately spring to mind! Souness was also having none of it openly dismissing Neville’s mad cap theory and suggesting that rather than being tired The Mancs simply gave the ball away cheaply! Ouch and 2-0!
Still there were some good points. Gary did give us a wonderfully fascinating glimpse into the life of the modern professional footballer. Replying to Uncle Jeff’s question about what The Mancs would be doing before the kick off. Gary gave us his thoughtful insight.
“Getting their shin-pads on, having a drink, using the toilet.”
Thanks Gary that’s blown open the hitherto unknown behind the scenes world of Football!
To the game and perhaps, like Arsenal, The Mancs have been given something of a footballing wake up call? Despite Neville’s protestation’s anything they think they can do Barca, it seems can do, much better. For all the media’s trumpeting about the Premier League English teams (excluding Chelsea’s defeat to the Mancs) have lost to foreign clubs in four out of the last five Champions League finals.
The Mancs, the English Champions remember, were so disorientated by Messi and his men, so comprehensively out played and out thought, that I feel there will be more to come before English teams improve. The pace and general cut and thrust of the Premiership surely doesn’t help English teams when they come up against sides like Barca however, it is not often you see the majority of Mancs squad staggering around like they’ve just come out of a spin drier! I thought Valencia was a fan who had just wondered out of a North London bar and onto the pitch so clumsy and off the pace was he! With a less tolerant Referee surely he would have been in the bath by half time!
Anyway, I know it was for small minded childish reasons, and it will probably come back to haunt me as the Mancs get one over us again at some stage in the near future, but for this Reds fan it was immensely enjoyable evening!
Oh and when is Gary on again?