From Solskjaer to the Super League: 10 of Gary Neville’s most passionate rants

The former Manchester United defender turned Sky Sports pundit has never been afraid to ruffle a few feathers.

April 20, 2021 - a historic victory for English football as officials of the proposed European Super League announce the competition has disbanded.

From fans outside grounds passionately protesting to enraged managers and perplexed players - soccer appeared to unite as one impenetrable unit against the announcement of the 12-team league.

Very few figureheads in the English game were more outspoken and influential on the competition's proposed implementation than former Manchester United and England full-back turned Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.

In the same vein as Red Devils' affiliate Marcus Rashford, Neville stood as a fearless voice for the people - providing hope to the masses, where it appeared as if all had been lost, with his impassioned on-air rants receiving mass acclaim from all those in love with the beautiful game.

This is not the first-time Neville has spoken out on issues both on and off the pitch - his brutal honesty, astute tactical analysis and unfazed expressiveness have made him a vital asset across Sky programming.

Planet Sport have taken a look at ten times Neville has famously spoken his mind - to varying degrees of consequence.

The six Premier League clubs joining the Super League

Neville became further infuriated with the newly proposed Super League on this week's edition of Monday Night Football, when he unleashed a scathing attack on the owners of the tournament's 12 proposed sides, in the build-up to Leeds' 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's side were among six English teams whose owners had agreed to the breakaway format, alongside Manchester City, Manchester United, ChelseaTottenham and Arsenal.

He was later embroiled in a war of words with the German manager during his post-match reaction who vocally expressed his disapproval of Neville's comments and his references to their motto of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

The former Manchester United man said:

"It's criminal, it's a criminal act against football fans in this country, make no mistake about it, this is the biggest sport in the world, the biggest sport in this country and it's a criminal act against the fans, simple as that. Deduct points, deduct the money and punish them.

"They're bottle merchants, you never hear from the owners of these clubs. Absolute bottle merchants, they've got no voice. They'll probably hide for a few weeks and then say it was nothing to do with them, they were only talking about it."

The Glazers' decision to join the Super League

In addition to his comments about the competition, Neville also launched a scathing attack on the Glazer family - Manchester United's owners - for their involvement as ringleaders of the proposal.

The Glazers have presided over Old Trafford for more than 15 years, receiving frequent backlash from large sections of the club's fanbase, who continue to passionately campaign against them and their ownership of the club.

Neville, who has been greatly critical of the American consortium on more than one occasion, ensured his feelings were known on the club's controversial decision:

"They've overstepped the mark.

"They are scavengers, they need booting out of this football club and out of this country.

"They want the money for themselves and they must be stopped."

Arsene Wenger's tactics

Following Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Liverpool in 2015, Neville was heavily critical of Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger and his failure to recruit players in key areas, citing his shortcomings in struggling to replace Patrick Vieira after a lacklustre performance from the north London club.

Describing it as a "black mark" on the Frenchman's tenure at the Emirates Stadium, he further elaborated on his management style and why he believed Arsenal were struggling to compete in the Premier League:

"To me it's arrogance. I think it's arrogance. I really do. To think that you are not going to adapt your team, to change to impact on the other teams that you're playing against and their strengths. It is either naive, or arrogance. Because they keep losing this way."

Mino Raiola's Paul Pogba claims

Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola came under immense criticism from Neville last year, when he expressed the Frenchman's desire to leave Old Trafford the night before the Red Devils' derby clash with Manchester City.

Following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side's goalless draw against City at Old Trafford, Neville explosively condemned the actions of Raiola and the timing of his statement regarding the future of the Manchester United midfielder in an impassioned rant.

The Portuguese agent later responded to Neville's claims in a TalkSport interview with Jim White, claiming he couldn't care less what he says.

"Great, well done but Manchester United have got a big problem whilst they've got a star player in the dressing room who has an agent that is categorically going to go out the night before the biggest game of the season. The lack of respect!

"The guy should never be dealt with again by this football club. This football club has got to stand still and look at what is happening."

Reflecting on his international career

Reminiscing on his international career and playing in the infamous 'golden generation' of English soccer that weren't able to secure a trophy, Neville revealed all in his book Red.

The right-back featured for England nine times at youth level and 85 times at senior level in a number of different tournaments, but remarked that the treatment of marquee players such as David Beckham somewhat dampened his view of his tenure in the international set-up:

"There have been times when I've reflected on my international career and just thought: 'Well that was a massive waste of time.'

"Sorry for sounding sour, but my best mate, David Beckham, got butchered after the World Cup in 1998, then my brother, Phil, after Euro 2000.

"England was one long roller-coaster: some ups and downs, but also quite a few moments when you're not really sure if you're enjoying the ride."

On Manchester United's 6-1 loss to Tottenham

Earlier this season, Manchester United suffered their joint-worst defeat in Premier League history when they lost 6-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, leaving them 16th in the Premier League table after three games.

Despite taking an early lead, Solskjaer's side - who were reduced to ten men when Anthony Martial was dismissed in the first half - calamitously collapsed, emulating the embarrassment they suffered at the hands of Manchester City in 2011.

Astonished by the outcome of the fixture, Neville lambasted Solskjaer and his side for the catastrophic defeat:

"There is no excuse for those players who were out on that pitch today, they were absolutely pathetic.

"Their body language was terrible; it was spiritless and spineless.

"They've not helped themselves today, their reputations will be damaged, that was nowhere near good enough!"

England's Euros exit to Iceland

England suffered their worst humiliation in a major international tournament for 60 years when they were eliminated from Euro 2016 by Iceland, losing 2-1 in the last 16 of the tournament despite taking the lead.

The aftermath of the defeat resulted in the departure of manager Roy Hodgson who stepped down from his role along with his coaching staff.

Neville had been among Hodgson's coaching staff as his assistant, and reflected on the dismal defeat with dismay.

"When you lose to Iceland, you know you're going to be out of a job, it felt terrible.

"It felt shocking, shocking for the players, for Roy, for Ray, for myself, everyone who was there.

"The last 60 minutes against Iceland, I can't explain to you what happened on that pitch, I've watched it back twice before and I cannot explain it."

Racism in soccer

In 2019, racism once again reared its ugly head in Premier League competition when Antonio Rudiger was subjected to monkey chants during Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

During his post-match analysis, Neville greatly criticised the rules and regulations put in place to prevent racism in soccer, from the game's governing bodies all the way up to the UK government, reiterating its prevalence in British society.

He appeared further agitated when presenter Dave Jones announced to viewers that Neville's opinions were that of his own and not of Sky Sports.

"We have a racism problem in the Premier League, in England, and the Premier League have got to stand up.

"They hide behind the FA, the Premier League, on this issue, they hide behind the FA, in my opinion. They push disciplinary issues to the FA.

"I think there has to be something that happens quickly. I think we maybe have to empower the players to walk off the pitch and stop the entertainment while it's happening. That's the only way I can see it happen."

Arsenal Fan TV and football fan channels

Youtube channel Arsenal Fan TV is famous for portraying the reaction of Gunners fans upon the full-time whistle of their side's matches.

Despite its popularity, the channel continues to divide fans, many of which believe it makes a mockery of the club.

Following Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, Neville admonished the channel, brandishing it embarrassing, in response to frequent calls for Arsene Wenger's dismissal.

"I walked out the Chelsea ground yesterday and there were a couple of these Arsenal Fan TV camera things everywhere and to be honest it was embarrassing listening to it and watching it.

"I was watching Chelsea fans take the mickey out of them which was a bit funny and I was watching Arsenal fans slating and slanging into him (Wenger) and I thought to myself, he doesn't deserve that, that's one thing he doesn't deserve."

Manchester United's recruitment since Sir Alex Ferguson left

Since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have appointed four managers in eight years, spending over a billion pounds in the transfer market, yet a 14th Premier League title has continued to evade them in the Scotsman's absence.

Following the Red Devils' 1-0 defeat against Newcastle at St James' Park in 2019, Neville was asked how he viewed the side's recruitment and the direction he believes them to have gone in.

He expressed his dissatisfaction at important boardroom decisions, directly linking off-field struggles to some of those on it.

"They've cocked it up, they're completely responsible, in terms of recruitment, in terms of managers.

"If you completely change direction as a club every two years whilst investing £250million along the way, you're gonna be in big trouble!

"Manchester United are getting the pain they deserve for poor decisions at board level."

READ MORE: 14 players to speak out against the Super League

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