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

Is Carrick's Return Crucial For United?

Post comment

There has been much discussion of Manchester United's departed or injured defenders, but far less of Michael Carrick. Will his return to fitness cause notable improvement?

Arsenal Fans Are Full Of Hope Again...

Post comment

Arsenal fans have been sucked back into believing Wenger can bring the glory years back after beating Borussia Dortmund. Plus, more on Liverpool's worrying decline...

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

L

oved the article. i remember at school, after failing an exam, I would become obscenely secretly happy if I discover that others failed as well. Misery loves company...Now here is to hoping Chelsea joins the party and Stoke city wins the league...Cheers!

gabu
The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes

C

haos reached its ultimate reckoning last weekend with Tony Hibbert looking assured at left back and Osman looking like a cultured ball playing midfielder before busting a gut to get to the back post for a Samuel Eto'o ball. Different chaos but chaos. If Kone scores the winner tonight I fear the world will end.

jelasfirsttouch
The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes

A

beautiful demonstration of why stats mean diddly-squat in football.

cheshire-gooner
WhoScored's PL Team Of 2014 So Far...

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Brandao jailed over headbutt on Motta

Brazilian striker Brandao jailed and fined 20,000 euros (£15,850) for headbutting Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Motta.

Jack Wilshere has had ankle surgery and the Arsenal man will be out for around three months

Arsenal will be without Jack Wilshere for around three months after the midfielder underwent ankle surgery.

International football: England up seven places in latest FIFA rankings

England have jumped seven places to 13th place in the latest FIFA rankings following a six-match winning run.

Mail Box

Arsenal Fans Are Full Of Hope Again...

Arsenal fans have been sucked back into believing Wenger can bring the glory years back after beating Borussia Dortmund. Plus, more on Liverpool's worrying decline...

Makes Sense To Make Gerrard Liverpool Manager

That's the thoughts of one Mailboxer, who wants Jamie Carragher as defensive coach. Plus views on Arsenal, Malmo v Juventus, Alexis Sanchez & tremendous improvement...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property