20110207

Neville ready to tell all

FOOTBALL BOOKS


Gary Neville’s retirement as an active footballer clears the way for the publication of his autobiography later this year.
The Manchester United captain and former England international defender signed a deal with publishers Transworld at the beginning of last year on the understanding that the project would be completed only after he finished playing.
Given his reputation for outspoken comment, you suspect the delay in going to press might have less to do with needing time to put the finishing touches to his story than not wishing to meet some of his opponents on the field again once they have read what he thinks of them.
Neville has never been afraid to speak his mind, to the extent that he was prepared even to take on Sir Alex Ferguson as the Professional Footballers’ Association representative in the Old Trafford dressing room, the players’ equivalent of a shop steward.
He took it upon himself to be the players’ spokesman in the England team, too, once threatening to lead the squad out on strike after Rio Ferdinand was banned for missing a drugs test.  It was not only for the colour of his shirt that he was often referred to as Red Nev.
Paul Hince, the former chief sports writer of the Manchester Evening News, wrote recently that Neville once took the paper’s sports editor to task over what he considered to be unfair “marks out of 10” scoring in match reports.  It is difficult to imagine one of the modern generation of football stars, many of whom seem to be masters of practised indifference, being bothered by such matters but Neville had a rare passion.
He also embraced Ferguson’s ‘us against the world’ philosophy in his role with United and did not care if some found that characteristic less than appealing.
Transworld’s advance publicity describes their client as “authoritative, insightful, fearless and never less than 100 per cent honest -- no-one has better credentials for documenting the story of United under Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Neville reveals the behind-the-scenes secrets of his early days with the likes of Giggs, Scholes and his best mate David Beckham; what it was like to play with Cantona, Keane and Ronaldo; the Treble in 1999; and of course an entire career of playing for the greatest manager in the game.
“Then there are all his experiences with England from being the youngest starter at Euro 96 to the ups and downs of five major championships and seven managers -- Venables, Hoddle, Wilkinson, Keegan, Eriksson, McClaren and Capello. There are opinions and analysis on Gazza, Rooney, WAGs and the true story of the FA and Rio Ferdinand.”
The Neville story has a projected publication date of September 1.  Even though it is as yet untitled, it is already possible to pre-order by clicking on this link.

Pre-order Gary Neville's autobiography.

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