Eye On The Experts: Gary Neville

He's bloody good at working a massive iPad, he's not a 'medals on the table' type and he genuinely gives insight. It's The Neviller and our media boys are a little in love...

Last Updated: 28/11/13 at 14:26 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Premier League Top Scorers Quiz - Answers

Post comment

One player was the answer twice. Naughty! Here are all the answers...

F365's Premier League Top Scorers Quiz

Post comment

We have 20 questions about every club's leading goalscorers in Premier League history. How well do you know your goal-getters?

All Articles

In the first of a new series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at some of football's pundits and commentators and try to pin down what makes them good, what makes them bad, and what makes them ugly. First up, it's Manchester United shop steward turned Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville...


Style
Smart suit, modern but not fashionable. Sensible clothes for a sensible man. Basically, looks as if dressed for a Manchester United away game. Club-style tie. Neat hair, not too long, not too short. Could be taken home to meet your mam without fear of a clothing faux pas.


Special interest
Being bloody good at working a massive iPad. Analysis of defence can be especially illuminating.


Strengths and Weaknesses
The priceless ability to translate knowledge picked up playing at the highest level into analysis. Doesn't merely offer an opinion, he uses frame-by-frame clips to illustrate exactly how he arrived at this point of view. There's no room for sloppy thinking or unprovable notions in Gary's world of punditry. Is notably weaker in the co-comms position, where he can lapse into just describing the action. Can also go squeaky - although we rather like that.


Tactical genius or tactics truck?
Definitely in the former camp, especially when it comes to the deconstruction of defending. Has done nothing less than redefine what it is to be a football pundit, by doing an apparently revolutionary thing for an ex-player pundit: serious preparation. He does a lot pre-show work and it pays off big. To be fair to his competitors, Gary is given plenty of time to stretch out and do his thing, not having to cram it all into 30-second soundbites on a non-specialist sports channel.


Leg squeezer geezer?
Is Gary part of that cabal of ex-pros for whom all non-footballers are ignorant outsiders? Most certainly not. Neville is much more democratic and less 'old boys club' than many an ex-pro in the media. His on-screen relationship with Ed Chamberlain never descends into the sneery "you wouldn't understand, you've never been a footballer". Thus he is much more inclusive than some 'medals on the table' types.


Bantersaurus Rex?
Banter. Mates. Night In. WKD. Hashtag Bants. The scourge of modern society, or just blokes having a bit of fun? The banter gene is present in almost all footballers, having spent their formative years in all-male environments where cutting a hole in someone's suit or passing a stool into their kitbag is TOPBANTZ. To his credit, Gary displays the same stoic, grown-up resolution in the TV studio that he did on the pitch, is proudly northern and as such, emotionally repressed. Unlike some ex-pros, Gurreh actually comes across like an adult.


Cliché counter
Not impossible to hear him dropping a 'for me...' or a 'we don't want to see that' when he's involved in commentary. Much less so in the studio, and we feel that he'd rather not rely on such mannerisms and tries hard to avoid the worst excesses.


Why does he get gigs?
Because he's never short of a word, knows his stuff and is reliable. Can cohere a sentence and is obviously hard-working. Has street-level working-class credibility paired with a more educated man's articulation. It's a killer combination which sees him at the top of the tree, casting a long shadow over those who put in less effort and are simply less interesting.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See extracts from Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here.

Johnny's new crime novels are here.

You can also follow Alan and Johnny on Twitter.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

aha, as a German supporting United I can only agree with your great insight in German football! No idea why, but I HATE Eintracht Braunschweig and please don't ever place a bet on Leverkusen, they mess up my ticket every time!

utzelot
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

M

ichael Owen's BT Sport commentary. Michael Owen's Match of the Day punditry. Michael Owen's annual moustache. Michael Owen's unwavering belief that Michael Owen could still do a job for England if called upon in the next major tournament

stevenjameshyde
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

L

VG with Rooney up top. The 3 in MF being Blind, Herrera and Mata. Young on LW and Di Maria or Januzaj on the RW. You know it makes sense.

GVMUFC
Big Tactical Calls For Manchester Pair

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Tony Mowbray set to replace Steven Pressley as Coventry City manager

Coventry City will name their new manager this afternoon, with Sky sources reporting that Tony Mowbray will be placed in charge.

Chelsea captain John Terry says he is fighting to earn a new contract at Stamford Bridge

John Terry says he is fighting to earn a new contract at Chelsea and does not see himself ever playing for another club.

FA planning to send men's and women's GB teams to 2016 Olympics

FA are planning to send men's and women's Great Britain teams to compete in the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio.

Mail Box

LVG Stick Needs A Little Context...

LVG's rough ride from the media needs some context - then you would understand, while the Mailbox urges Nabil Bentaleb to go down...

Henderson The Best Midfielder In PL?

Jordan Henderson is named by two afternoon Mailboxers as the PL's best midfielder, while another suggests Man United are trying to emulate Barca...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company