The Lead

Gary Neville didn’t attend journalism school. He wasn’t educated in objectivity, ethics, research, balance or any of the other mantras ingrained upon the thousands and thousands of graduates every year. Yet oddly enough he practices the pillars of integrity better than most sports journalists, reporters and pundits alike.

Although you may not voice the same opinions as his, there is relief in knowing a sports commentator continues to uphold the ideals of journalism (trust me and this coming from a j-school student herself).

Now of course no one is without bias. It’s human to have specific leanings, but Neville is one of the few ex-player pundits who tries to not let his biases and relationships interfere with the majority of his analysis.

In today’s Guardian, Michael Cox argues Neville’s popularity lies in the following three factors: his attention to detail, his neutrality, and his willingness to challenge the status quo, values Cox acknowledges very few media personnel sadly follow.

Unlike Jamie Redknapp, for example, Neville isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade, even at the expense of his former teammates and friends. But this is exactly what makes Neville so sought after and unique. He puts his personal friendships and feelings aside and enters a zone of greater objectivity. It’s also refreshing to hear a former footballer criticize his past teammates. No one wants to hear the truth, but that’s exactly what Neville does. He does the ‘dirty work’ most pundits prefer to avoid (and even journalists out of fear of compromising relationships with athletes).

Cox goes on to explain what makes Neville so distinct:

In this respect, Redknapp’s fault is nothing more than being a nice man, and he’s become more critical, but at the start of his television career the situation was ludicrous. When analysing England’s Euro 2004 defeat to France, when England conceded a penalty courtesy of Steven Gerrard’s wayward backpass and David James’s clumsy challenge on Thierry Henry, Redknapp managed to blame Ashley Cole for not thumping the ball downfield. Both Gerrard and James, of course, had been Redknapp’s team-mates at Liverpool. Neville has avoided such partisanship, seemingly in spite of his coaching role with England.

Moreover, Neville has a natural gift for dissecting action on the field even some coaches and former players would have trouble in executing. He’s meticulous and balanced. He thinks before he speaks and he crafts his examples into pieces of art work. His recent analysis of the Stoke City goal illustrates this. It’s his ability to make the small details seem obvious in retrospect.

Perhaps, audiences want to hear the truth.

While we have yet to hear Neville criticize his brother (still waiting for that moment), at least we can be grateful that he has reached the standard of journalism to what it ought to be.

Cox sums it up best when he writes “… he has become universally popular for merely filling his job description.” Simple perhaps, but deeply difficult, and in Neville’s case worth the pause to notice.

Canada

Michael McColl profiles Carlo Basso, a future MLS prospect.

England

West Ham’s Allardyce wants strong and swift action to be taken against those responsible for the anti-Semitic chants.

Chelsea meet with Mark Clattenburg to reconcile.

Jack Wilshere in talks to extend contract with Arsenal.

Michael Cox explains why Gary Neville‘s analysis is so popular. He simply does what all journalists and pundits should be doing.

Italy

Napoli’s victory takes them to second place in Serie A.

Inter unhappy with yesterday’s loss.

La Liga

Barcelona’s Dani Alves could miss action for a month due to an injury.

Higuain still optimistic Madrid can win title despite Barca’s 11-point lead.

Germany

Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart likely out of action until the new year.

BVB fans turn rivals’ Allianz Arena from red to yellow.

MLS

Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza heading to Wigan Athletic.

Deal to add another stadium for MLS’ 20th team in its final phase.

Bit and Bobs

Shakhtar Donetsk owner disappointed with Luiz Adriano’s Champions League goal.

Here are the nominees for FIFPro World XI (midfielders).

In case you missed it. Here is Joey Barton speaking English with a French accent.

Comments (9)

  1. I don’t like to be overly critical, and I see that this might be Alima’s first time writing the AM round-up, but I read the Guardian piece on Neville myself around 9:30EDT. I don’t need to re-read here at The Score at 11:00.

    • Then follow the first half of your opening sentence and don’t be needlessly critcal. She’s analysing Cox’s piece, fella. Don’t nitpick for the sake of nitpicking. It reeks of someone who wishes they had their own platform.

      • Thanks Patrick. That’s exactly what I was doing.

      • 1. Not nitpicking – just making a point, as a daily reader of the site, of the content I’d like to see here. I figure The Score would rather know what I think than just have me stop coming to the site. Whittal said as much in his Counter-Attack intro piece a few days ago.

        2. I have no desire for my own platform, at least when it comes to Footy; my own job offers me plenty of satisfaction. Saying my comment “reeks of someone who wishes they had their own platform” strikes me as someone reading WAY too much into the comment.

        3. There was barely any “analysis” in this piece, it pretty much re-hashed The Guardian piece. Literally the only point made here not made in The Guardian was about Neville having not yet criticised his brother.

    • Understandable, but that’s why it’s called ‘The story so far’. Most of our leads are always based on recycling/using a relevant story from that day.:)

      • True. I get that. I just find that there’s usually a little more value added.

      • I suppose they want you to go the rag route and give us a bunch of wild, nonsense predictions, like “Nottingham Forest to bid 45 mil quid for Phil Kessel”, or “Chelsea hire Rafa Benitez”.

        Oh…

  2. Well done Matthew, you win the interwebs today. 10,000 bonus points. enjoy.

    Thanks for the links and the story. I for one use this as a quick stop to grab the news stories as I haven’t spent my morning scanning the worlds rags. great service IMO.

    oh, the BVB link took me to a WordPress login page. might just be me and a crazy fire wall.

    cheers

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