Look, during his playing days Gary Neville was a *&%@#$#@*I&^**%^%$#@#^%%^&%.&$@%Y^&%$#%^##T.
He was Lord Wrigley Sir Fergie Old Baconface’s pit bull terrier, a perpetual wind up machine, a man who reveled in the dark arts.
In my list of top 100 people I hate the most, he was the only multiple entrant and came in 13 times.
His one and only redeeming feature was that he could troll the fuck out of Liverfool fans.
But its what he is doing post retirement that is really setting the cat among the pigeons so to speak.
First there was the goal-gasm
As a Chelsea fan, that was pure symphony.
Then there was the news about his eco friendly teletubbyesque house
Then there is his awesome analytical skill and ability to call a spade a spade without sucking up
And his neutrality as a commentator
All that ensured his burgeoning reputation as an all around decent bloke.
His latest act just cemented that reputation.
He was redeveloping a building into a hotel but when some homeless squatters entered the building to stay for a few days, he not only let them, but made a promise that they and many other homeless people could stay the whole of winter for free.
When Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs got planning permission to turn the historic Manchester stock exchange into a boutique hotel replete with basement gym, spa and rooftop private members’ terrace, they envisaged opening it up to an exclusive and moneyed clientele. Instead, a group of homeless people with little or no money have moved in – with Neville’s blessing.
The hotel, which is undergoing extensive renovations before opening its doors to paying guests, was occupied on Sunday by a group of squatters and housing activists called the Manchester Angels. Instead of the usual response of property owners – rushing to court to obtain an order to get the uninvited new incumbents evicted – the famous ex-footballers who own the building have told them they can stay, not just for a few days, but throughout the coldest months of the winter.
Wesley Hall, 33, a housing and human rights activist who is leading the protest, said that he broke down in tears following a phone conversation with Neville on Sunday in which Neville said he had always supported homeless people and had no problem with the activists using the hotel to house people during the cold winter months.
“From my point of view, I’m quite relaxed about this,” Neville replied. He added that for the past 10 years he had offered support to homeless people he has seen on the street while walking through Manchester.
“Thank you so much – you don’t understand what you have done for us,” Hall said repeatedly to Neville.
Hall and his fellow activists say they can now act on their plan to provide a one-stop shop for homeless people – a roof over their heads, hot food, health checkups, benefit advice, workshops, signposting to other services and help with securing permanent accommodation. They are calling the initiative Operation Safe Winter
Homelessness is tough, especially in colder countries, especially in winter. Many of these people have mental problems, some have drug related problems, some have run away from abuse, they are all in one way or the other troubled.
And they are all poor.
They deserve our help, not our disgust or condemnation.
Most homeowners kick them out, get them arrested by police, beat them up etc.
With this act of humanity and generosity, Gary surpassed them all.
Its always better to be a good human than to be a mere good footballer – something the tax dodging Messis of this world should understand – football is important, but not that important.
With his act, Gary has joined those who are/were both excellent on and off the pitch; people like Didier Drogba who build hospitals, Craig Bellamy, Mesut Ozil etc
And with this act, Gary is officially off my list. I don’t care about his shenanigans on the field anymore.
Of course, Ryan Giggs is a partner of Gary and was involved in this humane decision.
However, Ryan Giggs is a man who fucked his own brother’s wife for years; so he does not get to be a hero.