"As for Maidenhead, the conga (which was amusing) aside, quite a strange bunch really – some the oddest chants I've ever heard at a football match" ~ localboy86, Amber Planet forum, 26th April 2015

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Credit where it's due (even for Red Nev!)

Not unlike, I suspect, the majority of football fans up and down the country, I don't (or didn't?) much like Gary Neville. The charge sheet reads as follows:

  • He played for Manchester United
  • That pathetic moustache
  • His whiny Manc accent
  • He played for Manchester United
  • His infamous attempt to organise an England team strike (I would have more respect for him on this issue, upon further reading, if he'd stuck to his guns)
  • The impression, always given, that he was David Beckham's lapdog
  • He played for Manchester United

I do think, however, that his co-commentary for Sky during last night's Arsenal v AC Milan game was refreshingly enthusiastic, largely cliché-free, insightful, and entertaining (especially in comparison to the expert analysis dross often served up by the likes of Andy Townsend and Chris 'Pelanty' Waddle).

I particularly liked his "it's bingo time down Milan's left flank!" line from last night after it had become clear that Djamel Mesbah was out-of-his-depth. (Neville had earlier expressed his doubts because the Algerian had cost next to nothing, as a 27-year-old.)

That Neville repeatedly struggled to pronounce Zlatan Ibrahimovic's surname correctly - and has (apparently) never heard of Guinea-Bissau - are minor gripes; his understanding of the game was, for my money, excellent. (To be expected, I suppose, when you've made 400 appearances for one of the most successful managers of all time and have, it would seem, half a brain cell.)

To continue the Red Nev love-in for just a while longer - don't worry, I'll have a shower as soon as I've finished writing this! - I read the other day (not in the Daily Star, but I couldn't find another link) that Beckham's best man was, in 2007, primarily responsible for the suggestion that all England players donate their match fees to charity, a gesture that continues to this day and has so far raised over £2M for good causes.

Once again, fair play.

I still can't forgive that moustache, though!

P.S. Back to the Arsenal-Milan game: there has been much talk about the Robin van Persie miss/ Christian Abbiati save. Personally, I'd class it as a save rather than a miss. Either way, I bet RVP wishes he'd blasted it now ... low and to the goalkeeper's left. Presumably, he wasn't aware of Abbiati's political persuasion!

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