I'm a lifelong City fan and an avid reader of biographies and autobiographies. So after exhausting all the genres which I enjoy including football. I came to Gary Nevilles book. Could I bring myself to read the book of someone who I considered arrogant unsporting, and egotistical ?? Surely not. But I'm glad I swallowed my pride and read on.
Firstly I must apologise for assuming Gary to be as I described him. - Because he certainly doesn't come across as that. Yes, he's a committed decicated player of Manchester United, a team he supported since childhood. A team who he would literally die for if he had too. He always gave 100% and had no tolerance for collegues that gave anything less. Yes he emphasizes how he had a dislike for Liverpool and Arsenal football club, but he also praises their players who also have his work ethic, such as Steven Gerrard... More than that Gary shows what a brilliant football brain he has, tactically and technically, and how he never stopped learning until the day constant injuries brought his career to an end.
He praises fellow players in other clubs when they deserve it and is not afraid to criticise his own clubs shortcomings. He describes pinnicle occasions at Old Trafford such as winning the treble and many other tiles and trophies that went United's way with enthusiasm, describing the euphoria it gave him, he also describes the lows he felt from United's poor performances and his own. He is first to admit he's not the world's greatest footballer and that it is sheer hard work and undeniable commitment that has driven him into the heart one of the greatest United teams of all times.
He is honest, and openly criticises the F.A., pointing out weaknesses and highlighting occasions when their actions beggar belief. He has strong opinions and not afraid to air them ( which we knew anyway). He also indulges us in his England career, and expresses how disappointing many managerial regimes have been. He highlights his favoutrite English manager as Terry Venebles and also has praise for Sven and even positive words for the early Capello..
But it's manner in which Gary writes this book which sets it apart from other footballing autobios. He finds a balance between telling all, yet holding back enough so as not to incur the wrath of his fellow professionals - but you can read between the lines and know exactly what he's getting at.
If only other's, not only footballers but people in other walks of employment, had Gary's commitment and work ethic, the country would be a better place.
There is no doubt the ability, tactical and technical know how, of this Bury born and bred battler ( as evidenced on Sky Sports too) will take him much further in his nonplaying football career. He will most certainly be England manager one day, and quite probably United's too and as a City fan, I'd be happy with that.
It's a great read and I'd highly recommend it even to my fellow City supporters. It's extremely revealing, fascinating and often surprising, and there are lots of 'behind the scenes' ongoings which make it a must read book !!
My only disappointment is that he's not been on the blue half of the City, but I won't hold that against him now. Great book !
A light read that is more descriptive than insightful. I had hoped to get an insight into the life of a high profile footballer but was left disinterested by the writing. I find Gary neville to be one of the best pundits to watch. He is usually forthright and opinionated, unfortunately I was expecting more because of this. A decent enough book for a train journey.