Manchester United’s Gary Neville has been hit with an improper conduct charge from the F.A,. over the way he celebrated Rio Ferdinand’s late game winner at Liverpool last Sunday. I wish I could tell you that Neville proposed marriage to a cheerleader or used the corner flag as a javelin, but alas, he merely ran the length of the field and kissed the badge of his shirt in front of the already enraged Liverpool fans.
While Sky’s Andy Gray calls the F.A.’s actions “a disgrace” Anfield Road’s Jim Boardman would probably disagree.
Neville œwrites for The Times, where he used his current week™s column to plead innocence: œI would have been apologetic if I had run up to one of their players and tried to belittle them but this was a celebration. You are caught up in the moment and for a few seconds you can go bananas. The lack of control from Neville is inexcusable enough in itself, no doubt stemming from his loathing of all things to do with œscousers, but to not even be prepared to apologise afterwards puts into question why a player with this attitude has been given the responsibility of being captain of his club.
Perhaps it™s the fact that Manchester United have got away with these types of incident so many times in the past that makes Neville feel it is such a minor incident. Wayne Rooney scored against Liverpool at Anfield last season and after hearing himself chanted at all game went to the Kop to pull an odd face in celebration. Taunting the opposition fans enough that one fan, wrongly but perhaps understandably, threw a mobile phone on the pitch. The fan was arrested and convicted, and rightly so, but Rooney was let off without any charge whatsoever, despite his avoidable actions leading to that consequence, but thankfully nothing worse.
Rooney is from the city that Neville hates so much with a passion. Rooney hears his own supporters having a go at his fellow scousers every week “ United fans sing about scousers regardless of the opposition “ and it™s surprising he hasn™t commented yet. The hatred is not just for Liverpool the club, but Liverpool the city and its people. Despite this Neville claimed that, œNo disrespect to Liverpool was intended. Ironically, Liverpool is also the city where Neville™s brother now plays his football.
Neville’s actions created a situation that could very easily have turned nasty, yet he now turns it around into an argument over whether what he did caused long-lasting hurt to Liverpool fans. It obviously didn™t – Liverpool fans care little about Neville™s views on the world at large “ but it could have caused serious problems: œI have to put up with Liverpool fans singing plenty of songs about me, none of them tasteful, and I struggle to believe that I have caused them any grave offence with an exuberant celebration. Increasingly people seem to want their footballers to be whiter than white and there are calls for sanctions over every little incident. Do they want a game of robots? What Neville fails to realise is that all the rewards he gets from the game, all of his medals of days gone by and the lucrative wages he still gets, all come at a price. One of those prices is that you will have songs sung against you.
United Rant, naturally, offers yet another point of view.
Of course the vermin and the self-righteous moralists watching have cried foul – that somehow Gaz was “inciting” the bindipper fans into something. Alan Greene, the commentator (RANT uses the word loosely) for Radio5 Live, who critics have suggested is a fat racist bastard Liverpool-supporting bastard cunty cunt cunt, hinted that scousers would have been justified in rioting because of Neville’s actions. He was followed by a legion of vermin from around the country claiming on the 606 show that Neville must face everything from a ban to public hanging. Hilarious.
Ridiculously the police today threatened to get involved in the Neville affair after the BBC’s campaign. This will almost certainly lead to an FA witch-hunt and a possible ban by the FA who are always more concerned about PR than justice. Of course the real crime here isn’t the fact that Gaz celebrated in front of the bindippers. No, Gaz’ faux-pas was to come up with such a clichÃ©. Fist pumping, badge kissing – just so passÃ© Gaz. So to avoid further celebration calamities RANT suggests some of these:
Firmly planting a United flag in the middle of Anfield next time the Reds visit
Ceremonial burning of the shell-suit – that ought to get the vermin really frothing at the mouth
Donning a comedy perm and dancing the funky chicken while shouting ‘deydodondeydo calm down calm down’
Screaming ‘I luv it, I luv it’ into the Sky Sports mics
Holding eight fingers up – it’s the number of times that United have won the Premiership since Liverpool last secured the title.