Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughI Like Gary Neville – Who Knew? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough I Like Gary Neville – Who Knew? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

I Like Gary Neville – Who Knew?

As a Liverpool fan, the last person I or anyone else would expect me to be commending is Gary Neville, given his history in Man United – Liverpool games and just for the fact he was a United player, and I must admit when I heard he was to be a new Sky Sports pundit for this year I expected him to be pretty poor to say the least – but actually the truth has been far from it.

For me Neville is a refreshing breath of fresh air: opinionated, pulling few punches and, having only just retired, possessing an up to date knowledge of what The Premier League is like today, not what it was like when Mark Lawrenson played or Kevin Keegan played or even when Jamie Redknapp played. He’s not yet in the same league as Andy Gray or Alan Hansen as a pundit, but I own up to looking forward to hearing his take on games, and genuinely respect his opinion, which has on the whole been objective, unbiased, and well thought out. He still has a bit of work to do as a co-commentator on the other hand, but I certainly prefer him to Ray ‘I love everybody especially Chelsea players’ Wilkins, who has to be the most irritating co-commentator on TV, if only because he’s too bloody nice. Every single player, Chelsea or not, is “the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet off the field” and “a great professional” or “a real class player”. I mean, are we seriously meant to believe Ashley Cole is actually a “really great guy”, when it’s clear he’s a total tosser. By the look of things, Ray Wilkins could have been a character witness for Josef Stalin. I was in stitches watching the QPR-Chelsea game hearing him say on more than one occasion “Petr Cech: he’s such a good footballer – so good with his feet” after Cech playing a 5 yard pass.

To digress to other pundits/co-commentators, am I the only person who quite likes Lee Dixon? Every comments page I read is slagging him off, but as part of maybe the best back four the Premier League has seen (though there are a couple of other contenders), I think he is entitled to his opinion, especially when it comes to defending. As for ESPN, they seem to have decided to pick co-commentators who are as miserable as possible, perhaps in an attempt to be controversial, but it just comes across as listening to various grumpy middle aged men having a moan about nothing in particular. Alan Shearer on MOTD just doesn’t have a personality, but I think we’ve always known that.

So on the whole, thumbs up to Sky for a good choice of new pundit, though it only partially compensates for the massive thumbs down for getting rid of Andy Gray in the first place. Richard Keys was less of a loss, especially as the leaked footage did make him look like a total prick. And – though I never thought I’d say it except through gritted teeth – well done Gary Neville for providing the right blend of opinionated yet intelligent insights, and in general coming across as not a bad fella after all. Although obviously, I still hate him just a little bit.

Matthew McNally

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *