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Neville Gives Us What Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal Don’t Have

Pepe Reina weakly palmed the ball in to the back of the net, the strength from Rio Ferdinand’s header too much to keep out. The Stretford End behind went mental. We’d done it! In a match where Liverpool arguably did more with the ball, United snatched the three points at the death.

Like every other red, I couldn’t wait to see Match of the Day that evening to relive the great moment. It was only when I was settled in my lounge, watching BBC 1 with a beer, that the true greatness of the day was revealed. Gary Neville had charged to the away corner, grabbing his badge and shouting at them. It was magic. God only know how they were reacting, but he didn’t give a fuck. Banging his fists on his thighs, the emotion of beating the dippers in injury time turned him almost tribal.

This behaviour is exactly what sets us apart from our rivals. We have players in our side who have supported the team since they were lads, who live and breath United just like us. Our rivals have players who claim to feel the same way, as dedicated and loyal servants to the club.

Liverpool have Steven Gerrard, who claims to love the club… but has handed in two transfer requests and thinks playing for England is bigger than playing for his club. Chelsea have Frank Lampard, who claims to love the club… but has stalled on a contract for nearly two years and will probably sign for Inter Milan this summer. Arsenal have… Arsenal have… Cesc Fabregas? He seems fairly committed for the time being, but will be at Barca by the time he’s 25-years-old.

Fergie has hinted that Gary Neville’s days at United might be over, which could have disastrous effects on United…

“I am hopeful Gary Neville can come back,” said Ferguson. “I am sure he can. At 33, it is always difficult if you have been out of the game for a year. But Neville is such a determined character. You would not bet against him coming back. He’s not bitter about having to fight for his place. He is a low-key type of lad who neither gets up nor down. But he has a great determination and that gives him a chance to return. He is club captain so that is another incentive.”

Gary Neville’s appointment as captain has coincided was a resurgence from Manchester United, after the period the media named “Manchester United’s decline.” Of course, there are several factors influencing this, but it’s not a complete coincidence. Neville is a leader, he’s passionate about United, and won’t ever settle for defeat. For him, United will always come first, with our success always being the priority.

If we compare this to Arsenal’s captain, William Gallas, who behaved disgracefully at times, there is no wonder Arsenal fell away so rapidly last season. The incident against Birmingham was one of the most humiliating sites I’ve ever seen on a football pitch. He refused to defend the last minute penalty, angrily pacing in his own half of the field. Had the player he was supposed to be marking scored from the rebound, I can only imagine the Arsenal fans and manager wouldn’t have jumped to his defence in the way that they did. Highly immature and self-obsessed.

Whilst his team mates ran off the field at the final whistle to check on their team mate who’d broken his leg, Gallas sat in the centre circle crying. He is a complete drama queen who cares far more about his own press and his own success than he ever will do Arsenal.

I think we are right to be concerned over our future success without Neville’s influence as our captain, whether on the pitch or from the dressing room during his period of injury. The fact that Gary Neville was fined £5000 for celebrating that goal against Liverpool shows just how much football is changing. The loyalty to clubs is going, fewer and fewer local lads play for the teams at the top, and contract are starting to mean nothing. In this day and age, to have a player like Gary Neville (Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wes Brown…) gives us an advantage over our rivals, who are lacking in this respect. However, if Neville has played his last game for United, it’s not all doom and gloom.

He’ll stay

When Neville stops playing, that will not mean we see the back of him. Just like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Bryan Robson and Sir Bobby Charlton, I have every faith Neville will continue to work for the club, in some role or another.

Rio Ferdinand

Three years ago, I would have laughed at the suggestion that Ferdinand replacing Neville as captain would be something I supported. This, afterall, is the man who stalled on his contract after missing 8 months of football. However, the change we have seen in Ferdinand, particularly over the last year, is remarkable. Ferdinand is highly competative and is similar to Keane in his regards for love of winning and hatred of losing. Watch footage back of Hargreave’s freekick over Arsenal or Tevez’s late goal against Blackburn and look for Ferdinand’s reaction. He loves winning, and now it seems, he loves winning for United exclusively, signing a 5-year contract in April of this year. What we’ll lose in complete passion for United in Neville, we’ll see replaced in complete passion for winning in Ferdinand.


United have just completed the second most successful season in the club’s history, claiming the league title and European Cup double. Whilst Neville was still a presence in the dressing room and training ground, we spent the whole season without his presence on the field.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. a good point says:

    but it won’t be valid in a year or so when neville scholes and giggs have all packed up

    then you’ll all be relying on the loyalty of ronaldo…..oh wait.

  2. Neil Brown says:

    I think your forgetting that Liverpool have Jamie Carragher.

    Nuff said.

  3. spike says:

    Arsenal have got more than enough Neville’s thanks.

    You do me useless crocks always injured dont you?

  4. JB says:

    It wasn’t Gaz, that’s for sure.

  5. TopGunPires says:

    You can stick Cesc, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy in that bracket for Arsenal.

  6. Craig Mc says:

    Nik, I take it you are not a United fan – so what happened to visiting your own teams website instead of ours?.

    Nev is, and always will be a true red. His kids will stand on the terraces with the rest of us, they are brought up the way he was. When he has his kids that is.

    Red Nev has been a great player and servant for United, and he has the medals, and fan support to prove it!.


    i think nik has not understood the point of this article or supports asnl, liverpool or chelsea and it hurts that none of his players have this sort of passion to the team he loves.

    this article hits the nail right on the head, i for one know that gary and ryan are united fans you can see this when they score a goal, win a title and even when we get the winning goal against a rival. something i love to see in united players – people who are at the club not because they like playing for us but because they physically love united (like us fans).

  8. peterb17 says:

    Agree with some of this Neville does give passion and there isn’t any harm in this but were you are wrong is your selective memory….you forgot Liverpool have Jamie Carragher who is as passionate about LFC as Neville is of MUFC. In fact when Neville ran to celebrate in front of Liverpool fans Carra was one of the ones who said afterwards it wasn’t a problem cos he would of done the same…
    Don’t forget LFC sing ‘We all dream of a Team of Carraghers’
    Anyway good luck tp players who have true passion for their club

  9. Kings says:

    Totally agree about the change in Rio’s attitude. The one thing that summed up his qualities for me was when Ronnie netted the penalty for our equaliser against Arsenal. Rather than going berserk with joy, he called everyone back as if to say: ‘Come on we’re right back in it, there’s time for a winner, let’s regroup and take the game to them’. Gary’s passion is unquestionable, and the fact that he got fined for the celebration is a joke, especially when you have cunts like coke snorting bastard Fowler giving it the 5 finger salute to the United fans when Citeh beat us 3-1 in 2006, is that not inciting crowd trouble? mind you, what do you expect when you’ve got a scouse cunt as FA Chief Exec?!

  10. Duke says:

    This is on the Arsenal newsnow page, hence me (Arsenal) being here.

    Good article though. Any Arsenal fan who reckons Neville is useless is an idiot. The Neviller may be a twat, but he is a great player who loves Man U. Can’t deny that.

  11. Stephen says:

    Sue we all can’t have such loyal players like Henry, Hleb, Adabeyor , Anelka, Viera er and you are on a United site mmm who is obsessed fucking idiot!

  12. anakin says:

    That just shows how popular we are.

  13. Gunner77 says:

    Gary Neville wasw highly instrumental in your double last year wasn’t he?
    Wasn’t your most effective player Cristiano Ronaldo? Doesn’t he want to join Real Madrid?
    Fairplay, Neville is a loyal servant for your club as is Giggs and Scholes but don’t think that being a local boy will always guarantee that loyalty. Ashley Cole grew up at Arsena and grew up supporting the club. Look how he turned out.
    Actually, with regard to Viera and Henry, both gave us great service and played for us during the best years of the career. We sold both at the right time. Once Neville, Scholes and Giggs go you will also have trouble finding such loyal players, just as we have since, Adams, Keown, Dixon, Winterbrun, Parlour etc left us.

  14. connor says:

    If neville was a proper mancunian he would be playing for city.

  15. Scott the Red says:

    Do all proper Londoners support West Ham? All proper scousers support Everton?

    Connor, you are a moron.

  16. TopGunPires says:

    Vieira and Henry were sold when Wenger wanted them to go not the other way round.

  17. Craig Mc says:

    NielBrown and PeterB, totally agree with you about Carragher. He does have serious passion for L’Pool, and is loyal to your cause, as Red Nev is to ours.

  18. Stephen says:

    Er why did Henry sign a new contract at the beginning of that season, was that the same with Overmars and Petit then when they like Henry joined Barca, does he want to sell Hleb and Adabeyor?

  19. Steve says:

    Henry signed a new deal so that Arsenal would get a decent fee for him and not kick up a stink the following summer. We all knew when he signed that it was an agreement between Arsenal, Henry and Barcelona.

  20. Craig Mc says:

    Gunner77, Ashley Cole’s other reason for leaving Arsenal, other than MONEY, was all team talks being in french. If that is true, then who could blame him for wanting out. Also, when Nev, Scholesy and Giggsy leave, we still have Brown, O’Shea, Fletcher, Carrick, Rooney, Rio, and Hargreaves, who are United thru and thru, and have said they will never leave unless pushed.

    Connor – proper mancunian?, don’t make me laugh!. We have more Manc supporters than you. Thing is, we have to keep expanding our seating capacity, because we play the kind of football that all other football lovers want to see as well as Mancs. Tell us again, what is City’s ambition lol, to beat United home and away – such little people. That’s why we won PL and CL trophy, and what did you lot win again – O yes Nothing!.

  21. Steve says:

    Scholes is an Oldham fan, Carrick a Geordie, Rooney Everton, Rio West Ham and Hardgreaves is Canadian. The others you mention are periphery players at best Craig. To call any of them “United through and through” is delusional to say the least.

    Maybe if we all took our rosey couloured specs off for 2 minutes we’d see that most players are in it for the money. Do you think that Brown, O’Shea or Fletcher could earn the salaries the do at United elsewhere?

    Fair play to Neville, he is a very comitted player and along with the likes of Giggs deserves the mantle of “loyal”.

  22. Craig Mc says:

    Steve, I don’t know about rose coloured specs mate, but I do know that Hargreaves didn’t just come to United for the money. The other players I mentioned may have supported other clubs, but they do have United in their blood now, and love the place. Rio and Rooney said recently they don’t understand why CR7 would want to leave United for Madrid. None of the players I have mentioned just want to play for United for money alone, but then maybe I am not sceptical enough Steve!. Perhaps I believe them too easily when they say they want to spend the rest of their careers here. I’m all of 24 years of age, so I still have misguided youthful exuberance Steve lol!. I need more time to become a sceptic.

  23. jon says:

    Rooney loyal…. You cant put those words in the same sentence. Rooney “once a blue always a blue” in a dig at Franny Jeffers… When Utd came knocking he ran to them… Utd through and through…. More like i will go to who pays the most…. Why would he wanna leave Utd… If Real offered him more money he would be off like a shot… Sadly he hasnt forfilled his potential, so will probably stay at Utd…

  24. Gunner77 says:

    Craig, it’s well documented that Arsenal’s team talks are not In French an that Wenger makes sure everyone at the club speaks in English.I think most football fans are in agreement that Ashley Cole is one of the most odious creatures in English football, so judging our club by comments made in his ‘book’ is pretty tenuous.
    Good luck to Utd, I was genuinely thrilled that you won the European cup over Chelsea. Like Spain winning the Euros I will always be glad to see an attacking, attractive team win rather than defensive minded stodge Just don’t think you are immune to players wanting to move on. Some of our most loyal players have been so called ‘foreign mecenaries’ and some of our most disloyal (Ashey Cole) were apparently Arsenal through and through. It’s different for players than it is for fans, even Tony Adams considered joining your club at one point in his career when things went a bit stale at Arsenal. Don’t take your views from the tabloids and look at the bigger picture.

  25. Ole Gunner says:

    Unfortunately for you lot Neville’s also completely shite and has always been.

  26. Nick Pearson says:

    “we have Rooney who is United through and through” Is this the Rooney who said” once a blue always a blue”

  27. Anant says:

    i wish ronaldo was as loyal as fabregas !

  28. . says:

    these players who are loyal to their clubs through thick and thin regardless of big money offers from other clubs, like neville and co. are a treasure, granted.

    but they’re a dying breed, money motivates this generation.

    remember neville giggs etc are the same generation as zola, tony adams, lee dixon, countless others, who were loyal to their respective clubs, in yesteryear

    you do make a good point about love for the shirt, but honestly once nevills giggs and scholes retire, maybe next year, or the year after, you’ll be in the same boat as every other top 4 club.

    so i wouldn’t get too carried away with the idea of your players being more loyal than other clubs’ players

    footballers are now modernised, they care about trophies and money. they doin’t give a shit about the club they’re representing, and you’re naive if you think they do. rooney showed how loyal he is, when he left everton and lashed out at moyes, it’s fine when a player shits on their team to join you, but it does mean they’ll shit on you just as quickly

    ronaldo is a prime example. ferdinand hargreaves etc. they’d just as quickly jump boat if there was enough money on the table, everyone has their price, footballers are no exception to that!

  29. Craig Mc says:

    Gunner77 – I did say IF it was true. From what you say it isn’t, so fair do’s mate!. I didn’t get that info from any book of Cole’s, but it was widely reported in the press at the time. Can’t understand why Cole would want to lie about something like that though if it is as you say in his book. If it is not true, why haven’t Arsenal sued him for defamation, as Everton manager did Rooney?.

    Anyway G77, will see you Arsenal fans in the new season, looking forward to the combat between our teams.

  30. Craig Mc says:

    Ole Gunnar you always manage to lower the tone. What’s the point mate?.

  31. Scott the Red says:

    Anant – see how loyal Fabregas is if he ever becomes the best in the World.

    Nick – yeh he said that when he was a teenager. Since he’s kissed our badge at Goodison Park. I can’t see Rooney going anywhere during the rest of his career.

  32. there's only one team in london says:

    it’s natural for you, like any other football fan, to want to believe there’s something special about your team that sets you apart from the rest, but frankly, your article doesn’t speak much truth

    footballer like money

    footballer like team with big money

    footballer soon forget where he come from

    rooney will stay loyal as long as united pay the highest wages, do you think if united slipped out of the top 4 and real madrid came a’knockin he’d stay loyal the way past players would have

    fuck off he only loves the club that pays his wages. like any other shit for brains footballer.

  33. KingOfZamunda says:

    TopGunPireswho you kidding?? Cesc, Kolo and Clichy maybe your most high profile long-term players but do not for a single second claim them to have anywhere near the passion Red Nev has??!! You can’t for a single second claim to believe that all3of those would jump ship soon as Wenger decides to move on or they endure tthe next 3 seasons trophyless. Oh and they’ve never shown the passion Red Nev ever has so please get off out of cuckoo land.
    Duke- a very rare gooner who made a fair enough point on a Manc blog so respect to you. BUT one man’s twat is another man’s hero and Red Nev is Hero through and through!!!!!!

  34. franco says:

    you mancs make me laugh. You’re all muppets, starting from your manager, right down to the tea lady.
    And yes I’m a true Chelsea through and through.

  35. Drew Vader says:

    well then get fucked rent boy

  36. Tom F says:

    Franco- you’re right Fergie is a muppet. I just wish that Manchester United had a manager that could win trophies. We will always be seen as a shite team until the silverware starts to arrive at Old Trafford again.

    Also, Franco, I bet you were among the Chelsea faithfull who booed Jose Mourinho out of Stamford Bridge and also booed Avram last season, because after years of winning fuck all you have all become so fucking spoilt with your few seasons of Glory that you believe you deserve it all.

    Give me a break you silly twat, an owner that is as corrupt as you like cannot buy you the foundations your club craves. He can cover Russias Oil Mines in as much blood as he wants but your Scum bag team will never have class, neither will the supporters who are so stuck in their own stereotype that it’s unreal.

    Whoever said Neville is shit: You don’t know fuck all about football.

    Whoever said anything about Loyal homegrown players not playing a big part in our Double, well there’s Wesley Brown. Played most games for Unitedlast season, helped keep the best defense in the league and Europe and also scored against the Dippers.

  37. nick e says:

    good article mate, i’m an arsenal fan and i must admit you are right. we all know the more passion and love you have for something the more you fight to keep it or in this case make it suceed. Neville is a throw back to the days when some players in the team were fans before joining so as soon they put on the shirt that was it!! I do also wish we had neville types in our team, but i feel the academy is bringing these players thru and only today 6 academy players (5 of which have been with us since the age of nine) have signed professional contracts……….so lets hope these guys give us what players like adams and parlour did!!

  38. Craig Mc says:

    Franco, we get that you are Chelsea through and through!. We also get you are still BITTER because we took the CL trophy away from you!.

    Drew Vader said to Franco, “Well then, get fucked rent boy.” He did in the Champions league final lol.

    Duncan, so some of us have a different view to you on Ronaldo. Live with it. What is a true fan anyway?. If it is somebody who turns up every game home and away, come hail, rain or shine, and who goes home hoarse from singing and terrace banter, then that’s a good lot of us who happen to have our own take on Ronnie. We pays our money, a feckin lot of it, come to think of it, so we have our say. As for Scott the Red, if he isn’t a true United supporter, I don’t know who is?.

    Tom F – great post mate, and one which I fully agree with the sentiment of.

  39. AlexOfMancunia says:

    As Choco said, it will be surprising if we managed to produce another breed of players like Nev, Scholesl and Giggsy again, with the academy system like it is (but that is a different topic so I won’t divert any further).

    I hold the hope that once Nev, Giggsy and Scholes are gone, we will have the 2 Danny’s (Simmo and Welbeck) to come through, adding to Fletch, Brown and O’Shea and carrying on our proud tradition of having home-grown, local players, who show endless passion and love for the club.

    Fergie said himself that if Welbeck doesn’t make it, then we may as well give up.

  40. Anant says:

    Scott , valid point .
    however this is a topic where emotion overrides reason as far as i am concerned .
    why should loyalty towards the club that brought you to the big time , made you who you are and supported you through thick and thin be shelved aside just because you TEMPORARILY hold the tag of being ”the best footballer in the world ”.
    im sorry , but that just doesnt work for me . just look at messi – he adores barca and is probably the only player in the world who can rival ronaldo for that tag . i doubt he’ll ever leave them or for that matter even make the fans sweat over his future .

    And even though fabregas may not be ”the BEST” he still can claim to be one of the best in his position , especially after his euro exploits . I generally dont go around praising rival players , but it would be daft to disregard a talent of such quality . some even compare him to our very own ginger prince . dont think theres scope for any higher praise .

  41. Nev says:

    Neville would never hand in a transfer request, even if we got relegated. The way the bin dippers idolise Gerrard just makes them even more hilarious. Joke fans, joke club, let the circus show continue I say. 6 points again next season please. Rafa Beneathus, give him a key to the city, lock everyone inside whilst your at it. RS SCUM.

  42. jimmy Bob says:

    “I’m a true chelsea through and through”
    you and your blues brothers mates
    linfield and rankers make me sick
    where you one of the “through and through chelsea fans publishing league tables ignoring goals by paul cannonville cos he was black?

    fuck off rent boy and peddle your “im a right bleeding tough nut chelsea geezer shyte somewhere else”

    gary neville is a red he hates scousers and rent boys and citeh and goners etc ete


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