It was only when I watched Match of the Day that evening that I saw Gary Neville’s celebration following Rio Ferdinand’s injury time winner. Like Neville and every other Manchester United fan, I had gone absolutely mental, so missed his thigh slapping and badge holding.
Of course, like every other time the two clubs meets, Neville was on the receiving end of stick all match. Standing out as a player who loves United, he therefore warrants the hatred of scousers everywhere.
“I can’t stand Liverpool, I can’t stand Liverpool people, I can’t stand anything to do with them,” Neville once said in a United fanzine, instantly winning the hearts of the Mancs whilst igniting the hatred in scousers.
It is no surprise then, taking in to consideration his feelings, that he went absolutely crazy when Rio put the ball in the back of Pepe Reina’s net. What was a surprise is his was fined £5,000 for doing so!
“You are caught up in the moment and for a few seconds you can go bananas,” he said. “What are you meant to do? Smile sweetly and jog back to the halfway line? I laughed when I heard someone say that it was not the behaviour of a 30-year-old because they are probably the same people who have accused us of lacking passion in recent games. The stick is part of the game. One week you take it on the chin, the next you give it out. That is how local rivals have always been – and always should be. I have to put up with Liverpool fans singing plenty of songs about me, none of them tasteful, and I struggle to believe that I have caused them any grave offence with an exuberant celebration. Increasingly people seem to want their footballers to be whiter than white and there are calls for sanctions over every little incident. Do they want a game of robots?”
So, with the United game at Anfield coming up, Mancunia Merchandise have added a new Neville design, with shirts going for as little as £8.
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