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Welcome back, Phil

With most reds still coming to terms with the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson would no longer be our manager, not many of us gave much thought to the prospect of the backroom staff changing.

It was a big shock when Eric Steele was dismissed, in light of the great work he’d done to bring David de Gea out of his shell, and a decision that was not at all popular with the fans.

Rene Meulensteen, who Robin van Persie claimed was one of the best coaches in the world, then opted to snub David Moyes’ offer to become our assistant manager in favour of working alongside Guus Hiddink at Anzhi Makhachkala.

So, amidst all this disappointment, I was pleased to see that Phil Neville looks set to join our coaching team. He was photographed arriving at Carrington this morning. Whilst not having the experience other coaches might, he’s a Neville, so I think it’s a great decision to bring him on board. Not only is he another link with the Sir Alex Ferguson regime, with first hand experience of the standard required at United, he has a fantastic attitude, desire to achieve and as a red, will do everything he possibly can to help our club be a success. It also doesn’t harm his situation that he will obviously be in regular discussion with brother Gary Neville, whose insight and experience is valued by the England coaching set up, who will no doubt have a few ideas and opinions on what is needed at United.

David James recently sung the praises of Phil for his behaviour when he was on England duty.

“I remember sitting with Phil Neville for a chinwag and, like a typical footballer, ranting about a team-mate of mine who I found annoying at the time,” said James. “When I’d finished I expected Phil to reciprocate. But there was not a word. ‘What an absolute prick!’ I thought, red-faced after pouring my heart out only for him to remain tight-lipped. But later I concluded that his approach was an exemplary – and clever – way to carry yourself through a career in football. All the United players were the same, no one would ever say a bad thing about their team-mates. It all contributed to that sense of separation: there were United players, and then there was the rest of us. And I have little doubt that it was Ferguson himself who encouraged that segregation. For it was Ferguson who was the first manager to ban opposition players from entering the home players’ lounge for a drink after a game. Until then post-match mingling had been a tradition. But while Ferguson famously enjoys a glass of red with rival managers at Old Trafford, he was quick to ensure there was no such socialising among his players. At the time the football fraternity was horrified. There was this feeling of “Just who do you think you are?” Little did we know. Everyone keeps asking whether David Moyes can control the United dressing room, but United players police themselves. Ferguson created an environment in which players would control each other, so that he didn’t have to. The presence of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes was significant. Two players who had won more trophies than anyone else meant that there were authority figures in the team, whom younger players dared not question.”

A few years ago, Rio Ferdinand also commended the attitude of the Nevilles.

“Looking back, the Nevilles, people used to laugh at them, saying they were ‘so professional’ and this and that,” he said. “But they were good professionals at a young age. Look at the length of their careers now.”

Phil has spent the summer with the England U-21s and you imagine he is delighted to get the chance to return to United. I am happy to admit that I’m a sentimental bastard but I genuinely am chuffed to see him back at the club.

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. AlphaRS says:

    If Moyes takes his sweet time to win trophies then I imagine there will be some fans atleast who turn on him. But then I would remind those fans that some fans also turned on SAF and look how that turned out….

    Thanks mate. It’s all change. It’s a shame that some of the staff have gone, personally I really was impressed with the work Rene put in, not to mention Steel with De Gea. But as you say Moyes is the manager and it is his choice who he wants to bring in to help him out.

    I don’t think United have been great over the past few seasons but I guess they have a very high standard to achieve such as the 1999 and 2008 teams. At times I think we have been spoilt by SAF. The amount of other teams who would be happy just to win the league in any old style :D

    There are alot of things to talk about and there is a lot of pointless negativity. I guess people are just very nervous. How long do you think it will take before people turn against Moyes? If we don’t get a win in the first few games imagine what it’ll be like on here…!

    Sorry mate I must have missed your question on the other thread. When I made that username up I had a thing for the Ford Focus RS and I’ve used it ever since. So you are right :)

    Is mes short for like james?

  2. mes says:


    My god, I CAN imagine, it would be a combo of hilarity and unbearable. If we lose the first three you’ll be able to hear ROM posters imploding under the weight of their own disgust…

    Hopefully we don’t come to that. I can’t see it.

    Focus RS, good taste mate. Belting car. Nearly bought one recently. Very nearly.

  3. mes says:

    Oh and Mes is a tag from when I was a little graffiti vandal!


  4. zigoo says:

    ppl need to stop muggin off pique

    he always speaks well of united and hw he loves us …its not as if he called a press conference himself and screamed what he said about wayne..

    he was probably asked and gave an answer….what do u wnt him to say?that hes shit?and craap….come on….show some respect

    u guys are starting to act like fuckin gooners when it comes to former players

  5. AlphaRS says:

    It will be silly season on here if Moyes loses a couple of games.
    Can you imagine the wrath is United fail to make the Champions League spots?

    Thanks mate. Thing is I went completely the other way and got myself a Honda Civic Type R instead, then wanted something a bit quicker so supercharged it with a Rotrex to 350bhp…! :)

  6. mes says:

    @Alpha, a charged Type R sounds lots and lots of fun!

    I ended up in an M3 CS with all the CSL bits bar the seats. Very happy.

  7. Rukky says:

    Never wanted phil but the deed has been done and it kinda feels good. Welcome home phil

  8. Scoreboard paddock says:

    Mes you just need to add another S to the end of you name.

    How on earth can you be happy with the decision of Phil Nev as first team coach, repeat first team coach as in first team !
    Please tell me what he will bring to the coaching set up to what the likes of our established players are used to, because I’m not getting it RVP from quoting Rene was one of the best coaches to somebody whose only experience of coaching is with that England mob under 21s I bet he has learned one hell of a lot from Pearce!
    I’m not slagging Phil Nev off at all but surely he should start in the lower leagues even Moyes does not know his capabilities as a coach it’s a bit difference from being team captain.

    One more point who would you rather between Phil Nev and Scholesy as a coach ?

  9. King Eric says:

    Well chuffed about this and Sir Ryan. Half you clowns haven’t a clue. Having a pop at EVERY decision Moyes makes.

  10. King Eric says:

    Zigoo. Pique is a fucking wanker. An over rated bastard with a HUGE swede. Best CB in World my arse.

    Giles. Spot on my friend. Good to see you. How’s your health?

    Red Mist. You’re one fucking moaning cunt. You havent had ONE good fucking word to say yet. Just sarcastic bollocks. You go on about Everton’s style. We couldn’t fucking deal with them many times. Lets face it we’ve hardly been playing great football last 3 seasons.

    Like I said other day the fucking abuse Moyes will get for losing a game will be laughable.

  11. Scoreboard paddock says:

    @ King Eric ……you sound like King Eric Morcombe more like!

  12. spidey says:

    It really doesn’t matter about Phil’s lack of experience because I have read that moyes will be incharge of the training sessions ( one of the reasons why Rene left I believe) .. Anyway with all this change it may take us some time to settle down let’s see how it goes

  13. King Eric says:

    Scoreboardpaddock. Yeah nice one. It’s not just Phil though is it. Giggsy, Lumsden and moyes hands on too.

  14. Reaver4United says:

    To me it is simple. You are either a fan of United, standing tall amongst thick or thin. Or you might as well be a scouser liverpoop fan who bitches about every little change that happens… knowing well that the situation will not change. Why complain or be sarcastic about a club you dare cal yourself a supporter knowing damn well that we will be alright. Time to stop pretending your fans of the yankees and accept that with transition comes room for improvment.

  15. Reaver4United says:

    And yes… I support moyes. Ferguson recomended him. Meaning obviously they had to have been working close together for some time. Sometimes we have to loose the best to discover what potentially can be better. In referense to that, Im sure we will be much better off then Arsenal who tend to lose their best and shit themselves.

  16. Scoreboard paddock says:

    Yeah somebody mentioned Fergie recommended Mclish to Villa…….perhaps manager recommendations is not one of Fergie’s strong points!

    I agree we have got to give any new manager time to settle and giggsy appointment is excellent he will gain experience as a coach whilst still playing but we are a different monster now than when Fergie took over and inexperienced staff is cause for concern surely you must see that!you cannot be blinkered that everything in the garden will be rosy just cause its MUFC !


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