Neville expresses his feelings for Scousers
Neville's relations with the city of Liverpool put even Boris Johnson in the shade, cemented by quotes attributed to him (and never denied) in a United fanzine: "I can't stand Liverpool, I can't stand Liverpool people, I can't stand anything to do with them."
Neville takes on the Kop
In October 2006, after a last minute winner by Rio Ferdinand in a game against Liverpool, Neville, as ever subject to the taunts of Liverpool fans, ignored his team-mates to run half the length of the pitch to celebrate, badge-grabbing and everything, in front of the home fans in Liverpool's Kop end. The FA gave him a £5,000 fine.
Red Nev comes out on strike
Neville was thought to be the ringleader behind a threatened strike by England players in support of team-mate Rio Ferdinand who had been handed a lengthy suspension for missing a drugs test. The match eventually went ahead, but Neville had cemented his reputation as a barrack-room lawyer.
Neville takes on the money culture
There's a whiff of the old-school about Neville, who was tutting and shaking his head earlier this season over the ways of the modern footballer, who he decried as 'too fragile and cocooned'. Bemoaning a world where players pay people to do the simplest things for them, Neville said: "It is one of my pet hates. They don't know how to set up their own bank account, they don't know what they're spending their money on and they can't make their own decisions. Not every player is like that, but some are now totally dependent on agents and advisers... Every footballer needs an adviser at some point, but a player doesn't need to pay between 5 and 15 per cent of his wages to a guy to set up a bank account, buy him a new fridge or ask his club's chief executive for a pay rise."
Neville taunts City fans
As City have got richer and inched towards success this season, Neville has, like many United fans, been irritated by it. So when United beat City 4-3 in this season's first league match between the two, with a last minute winner from Michael Owen, the non-playing substitute Neville was seen running down the touchline celebrating and apparently goading the City fans. The then City manager, Mark Hughes, accused Neville of acting 'like a lunatic' and the full back was warned by the FA over his future conduct.
Giving Carlos Tevez the finger
The most recent example was in the first leg of Manchester United's Carling Cup semi-final against local rivals City. It began when Neville was warming up on the touchline as Carlos Tevez began his celebrations following the first-half penalty that pulled Manchester City level. Tevez appeared to gesticulate towards Neville as if to say "shut it", in response to the United skipper's comments that Sir Alex Ferguson was correct to let the Argentina star leave Old Trafford last summer. Neville's own reply, captured on camera, was of the one-fingered variety, which triggered more taunts from Tevez. The FA are investigating.
Gary Neville has never been afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and gestures and outbursts which perhaps come from the heart rather than any strategic long-term planning have been a trademark of thte Manchester United defender.
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For Manchester United fans, it's always been endearing. For the rest, it's been very annoying, but always a talking point.
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