Red is a colour, which symbolizes passion, excellence, desire, and most importantly a colour that symbolizes the red of Manchester United. A kiss on the badge and a knock in your mate’s head, those were classic English celebrations, and no other English player has done that or done as superbly as Gary Neville could have done. Those were the days of premier league where it was strength versus strength. No matter how silky skillful you are, ‘you come in my wing line I am going to kick you down the drains’ and Gary Neville was surely the brand ambassador for it’
In an age where people leave a football club for money or for lack of opportunities or whatever their PR team teaches them, Gary Neville is an absolute peach of a footballer. We as United fans feel happy or sad or dejected when we lose or win; imagine a fanatic crazier than us actually playing the game and reliving it for us. As the club’s official website puts it ‘Gary Neville You are a red’ nothing symbolises and fits perfectly to the best right back to ever play for Manchester United.
Born and brought up in a very humble family, Gary Neville’s first memory of Manchester United was watching Liverpool win the league and my oh my, it’s the most painful memory you can have as a Manchester United fan. He still believed how most Liverpool fans believe today ‘next year is our year’ but it never came. We here in India have a saying, ‘you are born with something in your forehead called as fate’. As fate would have it Gary Neville’s dream did transform to reality. From dreaming on about 1 Premier League, he became instrumental in many more to come.
Eric Harris, the class of 92 first team coach said:
‘Gary Neville is not the most talented footballers he worked with, but he was the most hardworking one’.
He should be a prime example of the quote ‘ Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. ‘ You don’t play for Manchester United for 20 years if you are not good enough.’
As all his first team coaches and Sir Alex Ferguson says, Gary Neville made himself a football player we never did make him one. I guess, Eric Harrison was the right influence needed for him at his age. Nicky Butt said they hated to play Gary Neville even in training or in a match not because he was very good or competitive, but because he wouldn’t stop talking and his endless yapping and trash talking and it made opponents off their game and him on his game.
Ultimate dream of any Manchester united Player is to wear the Captain’s armband and walk through the tunnels where an engraving of the Busby Babes has been carved. You walk out there and you play not for yourself or your country’s selection but you play for 75000 people who have dreams in their eyes, and Gary Neville was the glue which held Manchester United following Roy Keane’s untimely departure. If Roy Keane was SAF’s extension on the pitch, then Gary Neville was a level lower. No crap taking, no crap giving but whatever United did was direct and leads the enemy and most importantly on your face.
His celebrations may be over the top for other club fans but as he said he is a passionate red and not a robot, and he will continue to do so. I am not talking about his 602 appearances or his best moments as a United Player we all can do the virtual search. But what Gary Neville symbolises is what Manchester United is all about. If anyone who is reading this wants to be a professional footballer, he is the ideal man to be followed. Sacrificed his friends, social life and his favourite band shows in his local town to get up the next day and wear the burning red and walk down the Theatre of dreams to fulfill the eagerly waiting 75000 pulsating fans and a million eyes outside it.