What is alarming about Gary Neville being sacked after less than four months as manager of Valencia is the public reaction to the news.
It is hardly unexpected that England’s assistant manager has lost his job after managing only three wins in 16 league matches in La Liga. For Neville to turn things round at a Spanish club in disarray was always a tough ask for a first management job.
In my opinion, you have to respect Neville for the way he defiantly fought against all the odds, and no shortage of bad luck, even when the fans turned hostile against him. There was no surviving the ‘Festival of Fire’ when burning effigies of Neville, along with Valencia’s chairwoman, Layhood Chan, and owner, Peter Lim, lit up the Valencia sky.
But the way he has been written off as an abject failure in some quarters. While others are hailing him as a potential saviour at Manchester United, speaks volumes about the crazy football world in which we now live.
It is typical of the media to fan the flames with extravagant headlines as Neville’s managerial debut crashes and burns. “Manchester United fans want Gary Neville – not Ryan Giggs – as Jose Mourinho’s assistant manager” screams the Metro. While TalkSport went one step further with suggestions he could be the next manager at Old Trafford. The logic is bonkers.
Equally bonkers. But no less predictable, is that social media has been awash with self-proclaimed experts revelling in the failure of a former Manchester United hero, whose previous job was as an outspoken television pundit on Sky Sports. Instead of acknowledging that Neville’s double act with ex-Liverpool rival Jamie Carragher was the best pairing in football punditry we’ve seen in this country, possibly ever, there are those who love to kick a man when he is down.
To add insult to injury, Gary’s younger brother, Phil, will be kept on at Valencia in his coaching capacity. So there is no doubt that the Spaniards are pinning the blame for their continued decline squarely on the shoulders of their departed manager.
But that will not stop punters speculating that Neville could be England’s next England manager. While others predict he will be back at Sky, or heading for the Championship come next season.
It will certainly be interesting to see what Neville’s next job will be. Especially as he has another chance to shine, as Roy Hodgson’s No.2 with England at Euro 2016 this summer. Meantime, the odds on Neville’s next port of call will inevitably be affected by Manchester United’s upcoming match against Everton.
Wherever Neville ends up next, it only intensifies the interest in football’s never ending soap opera. And you have to wonder how top sites like Betway go about choosing their odds. It’s a tough life as a football manager. But it’s not easy being a bookmaker either. So make sure you keep abreast of the news as it happens.