Should Gary Neville be more understanding of financial crisis?

Gary Neville

Gary Neville has distanced himself from the appalling financial figures that were released by Manchester United last week. The club captain believes that the debt has “nothing to do with him” and that the players never get involved in “the financial side of things”. Neville’s comments are in complete contrast to former United captain and iconic figure Eric Cantona who claimed “Glazer could pay me 100m Euros to be manager and I still wouldn’t go there”. Should Gary Neville have been a little more tactful with his comments? It is difficult to believe that recent financial figures at Old Trafford would not concern a senior player like Neville even slightly. Or is he right – the players should concentrate on playing football rather than getting involved in finances – of course contract disputes are completely different matter, right Gary?

Gary Neville, who has made five Premier League appearances so far this season, was speaking to a Sunday paper and made the following comments:

“All the speculation about the finances at Manchester United does not affect the players. We are always very well protected and never get involved in the financial side of things. There have been talks and rumours over the years going back to when the Glazers took over, and even when Michael Knighton nearly took over in the 1980s. As players we never get involved in those things; our job is purely on the pitch and we allow people who are paid to do jobs in other areas of the club to do their job. It is nothing to do with us at all.”

I don’t understand why Neville had to make the comments in the first place? I agree that players shouldn’t be involved in the financial dealings of a club – but surely Neville understands the concerns, fears and anger from the United faithful towards the Glazer family? By stating, “it has nothing to do with us” is distancing himself with the fans that saw him replace Paul Parker in the mid-90’s and become one of the most successful full backs in the history of our club. Talk of selling Old Trafford, Carrington and Wayne Rooney to help fund the Glazer debt is quite literally unbelievable and I think Neville might be a little concerned if Rooney leaves for a rival club.

So is Neville right to distance himself from the financial crisis OR does he, as club captain, have a responsibility to speak up and voice the concerns of the fans?

7 Comments on Should Gary Neville be more understanding of financial crisis?

  1. Well done bossdem.

    Re : the article now. I had this on my mind; surely at some point it’s got to weigh on the players mind. I’m not saying during the 90 minutes. But the 90 minutes of a match is only a tiny part of the life of a supporter – even of the matchday experience, the match doesn’t consume the most time, you can spend a couple of hours talking before and more than a couple after.

    I think Neville is right to distance himself from it in some respect – in that he is not responsible, I wouldn’t blame players wages because it’s all relative to earnings at United, or it would be normally if not for the obscene levels of debt, which isn’t the players fault.

    But he is wrong in the aspect that I’m sure if it came to them taking a 50% wage cut or something then I’m pretty certain he’d be the first to kick off (well, maybe not him given it’s United, but 99% of the squad would), perhaps with some justification as a professional, but that’s where the alienation kicks in, when players refuse to accept £10k A WEEK at least such as the rumoured Pompey strike the other week.

    The comments are confusing in a way because as you say, as club captain he has a responsibility – perhaps he sees that responsibility as speaking out to attempt to diffuse the negativity around the club, but I don’t think he has really done that, hence the confusion.

  2. OF course it shouldn’t be a problem for the players. The fans would be the first to complain if we went on a five game losing streak and the players complained that their minds were on the finances. The players are there to play. Gary’s time would be better spent considering his form and why he is repeatedly being skinned by jumped up championship players.

  3. J – Totally agree (regarding Neville’s form as well) regarding the finances BUT do you not think that under these circumstances he should have kept his mouth shut? I don’t see how distancing himself from the business side of the club will help him or the rest of the team perform on the pitch anyhow?

    When there are a large chunk of fans asking Ferguson to resign, it is clear that these aren’t normal discussions – and that is why I think Neville should have kept his mouth shut.

    BTW – I can’t think of one good reason to distance himself and I would appreciate anyone giving me an example of how you think this helps the side.

  4. I agree that Neville should have kept quiet over the whole situation as there is too much of a gap between the common fan and superstar footballers these days. But I must say that I do not think any footballer should be involved in the financial dealings of a football club and for that matter I understand his comments.

  5. Agreed but we all know how the media work. It is presented as a statement from neville but it will have been pulled together from direct questions such as “Is the team’s form suffering due to uncertainties over the finances?”, a question that he would be expected to answer. The answer given, defending the teams form, being twisted to appear other than intended. He’s not a stupid man, Neville, but journalists, particularly football journalists, are adept at twisting intentions in order to stir up such reactions and blogs as this. At the end of the day Gary Neville is (was) a footballer and despite media training he’s not paid to provide financial comment or pick his way through a carefully planned media minefield.

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