Gary Neville To Taste Real Paella

Posted: December 2, 2015 in Managers, Opinion, Spain
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Gary Neville is off to Valencia or, from a gastronomic point of view, morcilla will meet paella.

Valencia is the undisputed home of paella. The Spanish dish originally comprising of chicken, rabbit, snails, green beans, white beans and rice. It is now a global dish consisting of whatever people feel like throwing in the pan.

Gary, (and brother Phil), were born in Bury, the undisputed home of the black pudding. So there is some connection between the two. Black pudding or morcilla is also a favourite dish in Spain. How can this match made in heaven possibly fail?

Well, there is the fact that neither of the Neville’s have any management experience. This, of course, may not be a problem as everybody has to start somewhere, but Valencia is a big Spanish club in La Liga, the third best supported after Real Madrid and Barcelona not, for example, Burton Albion which saw Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink take his first steps on the managerial ladder.

There is also the fact that neither of them, as far as I am aware, speak Spanish, although Phil is taking lessons. This is a good move but will not keep them in a job on it’s own. David Moyes found out that having the ability to count to four in Spanish was no substitute for winning football matches when push came to shove.

Add to that the fact that both are relatively young and don’t appear to be taking a mentor just yet, and yes, it could go wrong.

Gary has, wisely, only agreed a deal until the end of the season. This should give him enough time to find out three things. Firstly, if he can do the job. Secondly, if he can work with Phil, (working with a brother is very different to playing with a brother). Thirdly, if he can adapt to life in Spain, the language, the culture, etc. If he gets a positive answer to these three questions then I expect him to sign a two or three year contract when the time comes.

They have, between them, worked under some successful managers and they have both worked under the most successful of all British managers, Sir Alex Ferguson.

This is no guarantee of success. Where now are Paul Ince, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to name but four of Ferguson’s proteges? They are still in football but none have become successful managers, or have even had the moderate success of Gordon Strachan, Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce, the only three of Ferguson’s apprentices to stay the course.

Gary has the added experience of working with England and Roy Hodgson, who knows a thing or two about working abroad and the importance of speaking the language. Hodgson is fluent in German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish and Japanese. He can also get by in Korean, Danish and Finnish. So learning one language should be a piece of cake for Gary!

The other advantage that the Neville’s have is that they both already know the Valencia owner Peter Lim, the Singaporean businessman who also just happens to own 50% of Salford City, the non-league club whose other half is owned by the class of 92 minus one David Beckham. Beckham, of course, doesn’t realise he could easily have been involved with a club in England. Instead of which he decided to take the complicated route of setting up a new club in Miami, which is proving to be very difficult but is also, another story.

I hope there is no conflict of interest in this arrangement between the Nevilles and Peter Lim because I would hate to see Salford gaining an unfair advantage by having players loaned to them by Valencia.

Seriously though, the Nevilles are two of footballs nice guys, possibly too nice for what they are currently undertaking so I wish them both all the best and plenty of the luck they will need for this new project to work.

  1. The Void says:

    Obviously, there is a HUGE conflict of interest. The Nevilles aren’t in danger of being sacked though as Peter Lim is a Manchester United fan.


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