Gary Neville might not have been everyone’s cup of tea as a player for Manchester United. Indeed, some of Liverpool’s supporters may have questioned his parentage. And when one of those parents is called Neville Neville, some of those questions may have been valid.
But as a pundit on Sky TV, he is second to none.
The controversy over the recent developments at Salford City has been hitting the headlines in non-league football, with the club and their owners getting hammered over their signings and their wages. Neville, a co-owner of the club, has – quite rightly – defended them stoutly.
Manchester United paid £89.3million for Paul Pogba, Liverpool paid £65million for a goalkeeper, and Newark Flowserve pay their players. So what? That’s football in the modern day.
When I was growing up, it was a question of who had the most points. Now it’s who has the most pounds.
You can argue the rights and wrongs of that, but it’s the way it is. Gary Neville spoke very eloquently about it. And, once again, made simple common sense.
Quoted in the excellent The Non-league Paper, he said:“When you think of Jack Walker and the great work he did at Blackburn, investing in his local community, he was lauded for it and quite rightly so.”
He said that about the Rovers team who denied his own United side the title on the last day of the season during Ewood Park’s halcyon years.
The money that made that possible was coming from the pockets of a gentleman who wanted to invest into his local football club that he had fallen in love with.
Wonderfully, Newark Flowserve Football Club are now in a similar position. The town of Newark is blessed as a result.
For the last 33 years people have been asking me, as a local sports journalist: “Why not Newark? Why don’t we have a team that puts our town on the football map?”
Now we have. It’s the perfect answer to a third of a century of hope. Let’s enjoy it, people. Come on board one and all for the magic carpet ride.