Talking Nonsense, Neville

When Gary Neville was announced as the newest pundit for Sky Sports I was pretty gobsmacked. At first I thought it was a story started up by Manchester United fans to wind up Liverpool supporters.

Then he started on Monday nights with his giant touch screen and he impressed. He talked sense, he wasn’t nearly as biased as I thought he was going to be and he brought the viewer some great insight into the games that he was covering, which is essential for any good pundit.

So last night, I sat down to watch Napoli vs Chelsea in the Champions League and I was quite happy that it was Martin Tyler and Gary Neville on commentary.

Unfortunately the happiness didn’t last. The commentary and the analysis of the game were woeful to say the least.

Now after last nights game you have to ask yourself if Gary Neville has actually watched Serie A this season or just missed Napoli?

I know ESPN have the coverage but I am sure Mr Neville can afford to add that to his ‘free’ (I am guessing) SKY package! Do some research.

He continually told us that this was a poor Napoli side, especially defensively.

Ok yesterday wasn’t the best I have seen them play in defence but that said they only conceded one and were not overly stretched at the back for too long.

The main point is and if Neville took time to do any research then he would have spotted it straight away, Napoli love to give up possession to the bigger teams, then get the ball and with quick passing and runs, get it to there danger men and create their own goalscoring opportunities.

Its called a counter attack Gary and at the moment Napoli are one of the best at perfecting that particular move, especially against teams that are considered better than them!

For all the possession Chelsea may have had, even if you take away the goals Napoli still created the better chances. So it was no fluke result, they had that game plan all along and it worked.

Gary then seemed to suggest that this Napoli side were no better than most EPL sides this season!

Really Gary?

Again facts don’t back you up.

They were beating Chelsea at the time you said this and they went on to win 3-1. They also played Manchester City twice in this competition and they won one and they drew in Manchester. Last time I checked that same Man City side were top of the EPL. Also you can’t have the excuse ‘oh but that was City’s first crack at the Champions League’ because this is Napoli’s first time too.

Gary told us twice that Chelsea should be winning this game 4-1. Two minutes after the first time he said it, Chelsea conceded a second. The second time he said it Napoli were already 2-1 up and a few minutes later went 3-1 up. What on earth was he on about?

I think co-commentating is a really tough job and it means a lot of thinking on your feet. I think both Gary Neville and Ray Wilkins are great in studio pundits but aren’t so good on the gantry doing minute by minute analysis.

Now Gary isn’t the only problem SKY had with their team last night.

Martin Tyler, you may or may not be friends with Andre Villas Boas but when you are commentating you are a professional and by that standard you cannot call the Chelsea manager ‘AVB’ all night. Hard as it is to believe but not all your audience will know who ‘AVB’ is. As a commentator you have to understand that, don’t treat them like idiots but at the same time don’t treat them like pals you have ‘banter’ with.

Also why does Martin always link Edison Cavani with a move to the English side he scores against. Last year it was Man City, last night it was Chelsea. There is no need to add speculation to a football match especially when its February and the transfer window has just shut.

Jamie Redknapp seems to think that the EPL is the greatest league in the world, well he is paid by SKY after all. But come on Jamie, I don’t think Man Utd are wondering ‘why are we not in this?’ they know why. Its beacause were not good enough to finish in the top two in their group.

This England dominating the Champions League thing is all a bit of a myth. Yes they usually do well but up to a point. Yes they like to reach the quarter finals and the semis. They reach a few finals but rarely do they win it.

In the 19 years of Champions League football only two English sides have won it, Liverpool and Man Utd. Out of them only United have one it twice. So that is three wins out of 19 years, not exactly dominance. Three Italian sides have won it, combined they have won it five times. Spanish sides Barcelona and Real Madrid have won it 6 times between them.

So in fact the English teams are not dominant in the competition, they do well but thats it. This year has shown that they are also in decline no matter what excuses SKY feed us.

So SKY treat your audience with some common sense. They can see that at the moment English football isn’t the best, do some research and give foreign teams like Napoli the credit they deserve and please stop spoon feeding us nonsense.

You have great production values, you have the ability of making great sense but last night was a wake up call that you can turn into ITV if you don’t watch out.

8 Responses to “Talking Nonsense, Neville”

  1. Love this article.

    I think Gary was getting paid a little on the side by Sky. Had a obvious bias to Chelsea and English Football.

  2. You think that is bad …… I paid a fair few £ to buy a 3D Tv and SKY lumber me with 3rd rate commentary and analysis team (Think it was Gary Birtles ) I would have been happy with Tyler and Neville.
    No surprise that SKY try and ‘big up’ the EPL it is their baby after all.

  3. Great article. It’s always reassuring to hear thoughts like these, as I spent most of the game yesterday shaking my head myself.

    Unfortunately, as someone who has followed european football and Serie A in particular for a while now, the constant sly digs and belittling of ‘foreign’ leagues is nothing new, with Italy often bearing the worst of it.

    A little bias is understandable, but Sky/ITV is like the bully at school constantly making fun of the other kids to feel better about themselves. It’s clear that 95% of English pundits don’t watch other leagues, any ‘analysis’ or judgement is based on tired cliches and lazy stereotypes. Mix in a little irrational hate of other leagues and superiority complex and you get the shit punditry associated with any football on TV/Radio in this country.

    Graham Taylor on 5Live was constantly reaffirming his surprise that a team from boring old Serie A were actually attacking last night. Paul Merson said Cavani was a ‘decent’ player, his goal was a clear handball, and that Napoli didn’t deserve to score last night. He makes Jamie Redknapp look like Arrigo Sacchi. What is utterly depressing is that they are actually paid what I would assume is quite a significant amount of money to appear on TV to spout such verbal diarrhea.

    Never understood the circlejerk of Gary Neville since he started on Sky. Last night he was utterly woeful. Some gems: all Chelsea need to do is stop Cavani and Lavezzi, will win this game 4-1. ‘Simple’. The ‘none of the players are better than anyone in the Prem’ comment as you mentioned. His bitterness towards the end of the game towards De Sanctis in stoppage time ‘well done, you’ve saved one’.
    It’s actually incredibly satisfying to hear the commentary team’s mood drop and drop to an almost depressed tone as Napoli scored more goals. Same with Tyldelesy and Co last week during the Arsenal drubbing.

    A little research outside their EPL bubble and a bit more objectivity and maybe one day it’ll actually be bearable.

  4. Vic – I heard Gary Birtles last week covering the Zenit/Benfica game. He was awful. He actually sounded like he was angry & didn’t like football at all!

  5. Frank – Its simple, SKY won’t advertise Serie A as a good product because they don’t have the rights.

    So their pundits wont research the teams and as you have said they stoop to bringing out tired old wrong cliches.

    I forgot the De Santis comment, to be fair he only conceded one, while Cech (a good keeper) was praised beyond belief yet conceded three. Both Arsenal and Chelsea were fairly and soundly beaten, no excuses were needed.

    Graham Taylors’s opinion has never been one I would sought out and as for Paul Merson I really have no idea why he continually gets a gig. Its as though they love him for being wrong all the time.

    Thanks for your great points.

  6. Well put!

    You would think people of their standard would have an inspiring appreciation for football across the board.

    It is saddening that they pay good money to people that can sometimes ruin the nature of a game by letting their own beliefs and emotions cloud the commentary.

    It needs quality individuals (like yourself) who can bring out the best in the viewer and the game at hand, instead of pelting them with sometimes biased and subject to bad mood, back handed comments.

    Thanks for the blog, clear concise and to the point.

    You have a new fan!

  7. Thanks Dave, I am blushing haha.

    Totally agree that these guys get paid more than enough & we should expect a lot better.

  8. omg thank you.

    I honestly believe Gary and friends singlehandedly ruined the CL for me. id watch it in another language but i cant. sighhhhhhhh…

    gonna have to bear with him for the rest of the tournament. fml

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