All the times Gary Neville proved he should leave football for politics

All the times Gary Neville proved he should leave football for politics
Gary Neville saying 'everyone should be raging' at government

Would Gary Neville make a good MP? We reckon so.

No messing about. Putting it in the mixer. Tracking the runner. Putting a foot in – Neville never stood for nonsense on the pitch during his career, and he doesn’t stand for it on Twitter now, either.

The former Manchester United and England defender was hailed as the best right back of his generation by Alex Ferguson, and he’s turned out to be a pretty handy commentator too.

Since his playing career finished in 2011, he’s become one of the most popular pundits in the game, forming an unlikely partnership with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.

It’s not just football he’s become known for discussing, either.

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An outspoken critic of the Conservatives and one of the most vocal campaigners against the proposed super league, Neville has gone viral plenty of times over recent years for his takedowns online - and made us consider how he'd get on in the world of politics plenty of times.

In fact, he's considered the prospect before, telling Nick Robinson’s BBC Political Thinking podcast: “I say to myself sometimes ‘I’m able to communicate. I know what I want. I have got a business mind, I can manage people.’ But I just think I’d get eaten alive."

He shouldn't be so hard on himself - these are some of his best moments, which shows he's got what it takes.

'Disgusted' by the planned super league

"I'm absolutely DISGUSTED!" | Gary Neville's verdict on the European Super League

Everyone outside of the boardrooms of England’s top teams thought the super league was a terrible idea, driven by sheer greed and sure to alienate fans, and Neville was one of the most passionate, prominent voices when the news broke last year.

Hitting out at his former club for initially backing the plans, Neville said: "I'm fuming, that Manchester United football club, that have been pioneers, that should be leading from the front…”

He added: “It's greed, it's selfish, it's inappropriate, it's disgusting and it needs punishing. Football has been a little bit of a saviour for people during these times - sport in general. It could have been the good that came out of this pandemic. But they've grabbed defeat from victory."

MBE? Not me

Neville didn’t mince his words after former England captain John Terry called for him and other players of his generation to be recognised with MBEs recently.

Terry wrote: “Can someone explain why Gary Neville , Phil Neville, Paul Scholes , Ashley Cole, Nicky Butt, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher, Wayne Rooney, have never been honoured for their services to football. We are talking the BEST of the BEST EVER?”

Replying in typically straightforward fashion, Neville said: “I don’t think I’m anywhere near but I’d rather have a most improved player award for a sunday team than an award off this lot.”

Party puns

It doesn’t always have to be passionate rants – sometimes Neville’s comments are more impactful when they're more lighthearted.

Neville and Carragher took a cheeky dig at Johnson following more developments in the partygate scandal, with a host of not-so-subtle jokes while introducing a game on Sky Sports.

Claiming North Shropshire “spoke for us all” after booting out Tory MP

Neville called the Tory party “the mob” after they lost their 200 year old North Shropshire seat to the Liberal Democrats in a recent by-election held following the resignation of Tory MP Owen Paterson after a lobbying scandal.

The former footballer claimed that the hugely damaging result for the party has shown how the rest of the nation feels.

On Boris Johnson learning from Gareth Southgate

Commentating on ITV after England won in the semi-final of Euro 2020 against Denmark last summer, Neville celebrated the win and praised England’s manager Gareth Southgate in particular - comparing him to those in Downing Street.

He said: “The standard of the leaders in the past couple of years in this country has been poor but look at that man there... he’s everything a leader should be: respectful, humble, tells the truth, genuine. He’s fantastic, Gareth Southgate”.

Tearing into Sajid Javid’s defence of Johnson

Neville tore into Sajid Javid after he defended the prime minister Johnson, while he continued to face widespread criticism as partygate unfolded.

Home secretary Sajid Javid took to Twitter and wrote: “I completely understand why people feel let down. The PM did the right thing by apologising.

“Now we need to let the investigation complete its work. We have so much to get on with including rolling out boosters, testing and antivirals - so we can live with Covid.

Neville, far from impressed, hit back by saying: “People still working from home and kids wearing masks and you lot weren’t scared in Lockdown 1, yet terrified us all. You’ve been taking the p**s for 2 years.”

On Johnson’s government’s rhetoric fuelling racism

Some of Neville's most impactful moments came following the shocking racism abuse aimed at England’s footballers following the defeat in the final of Euro 2020.

Speaking passionately on Sky News, Neville said it “comes from the top” as he took issue with Johnson’s messaging around taking the knee - with the prime minister initially declining to call out England fans who booed players "taking the knee" in opposing racism.

He also called out Johnson's comments on Muslim women and said the prime minister could learn a lot from Southgate.

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