Gary Neville has revealed that he would have considered signing for Newcastle had Sir Alex Ferguson ever told him his time was up at Manchester United.
Neville, speaking to Geoff Shreeves as part of the Sky Sports ‘Off Script’ podcast, ruled out the prospect of joining bitter rivals Liverpool, Man City, or Leeds United, but listed us alongside Arsenal and Aston Villa as the three ‘proper clubs’ he would have played for.
Here’s what he’s told Sky Sports this week:
“If Sir Alex had said at 28 I had to go, I’d have said Newcastle, Arsenal and Aston Villa were the three clubs would be the ones (I’d have gone to).
“If you’d said to me in a perfect world in my years of playing in the Premier League, which clubs did I think were proper clubs and had a bit of tradition?
“Arsenal would be number one in terms of you used to go to Highbury and you felt the tradition of it and they always did things the right way.
“The clubs in Europe I always admired were Juventus and Bayern Munich because we played against them a lot in the late 90s and 2000s. I just respected them as football clubs in terms of the teams they had and Bayern were just meticulous.
“In the Premier League it would be Arsenal – not that they would ever want me. I also like Aston Villa. Newcastle are another club (I’d have played for).”
The former England full-back would have been 28 during the 01/02 season, which means Warren Barton would have been approaching the end of his tenure on Tyneside.
We actually signed a right-back following that campaign with the acquisition of Andy Griffin, who went on to have six injury-ravaged years at our club.
Today’s generation may think that including us in his list is an odd choice, as it’s hard to imagine the Newcastle United of the Mike Ashley era as being European competition regulars. How things have changed!
Man United themselves are a far cry from where they were in the early noughties, but even so – would their current right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka consider us as an option if he were to leave Old Trafford in a few years time? I doubt it.
Nice comments from the Sky Sports pundit, but the fact Neville’s words come as a surprise show how far we have deteriorated under Mike Ashley more than anything.
If only some rich new owners could come in and save us..