Gary Neville talks exclusively to Mancunian Matters about the similarities between football and netball, but how he won't be switching sports any time soon.
He may have been a ubiquitous source of football punditry on Sky Sports this season, however Gary Neville has no plans to hold court in the netball Superleague television studios anytime soon.
Last night the ex-Manchester United and England right back swapped Monday Night Football for Monday Night Netball, as he spent the evening watching Northern Thunder, coached by his sister, Tracey, overcome Yorkshire Jets 57-36.
However he left the Sky Pad at home: “I don’t think that would work, but there are a lot of synergies between the movement in netball and in football,” he told MM.
“We’ve been brought up watching my mum play netball on a Monday night and when we were younger we used to go everywhere with my dad playing cricket, football, my mum playing hockey, netball and rounders, so we know quite a bit about sport – but not enough to start doing analysis on it.”
He was joined at the game by brother Phil and former teammate Paul Scholes, with the three participating in Thunder’s ‘dads and daughters’ promotion, and Gary was only too happy to support his younger sister.
He added: “I’m happy that we’re able to support Tracey, obviously she’s been away from us in terms of large parts of the last few years and we’re happy now that she’s back in Manchester, coaching Northern Thunder.
“She’s very professional and driven and knows what she’s doing.
“It’s important for the sport to get publicity. It's important for all amateur sports to get publicity and sponsors and exposure to get money into the game because I think when you look at the difficulties that players have and those choices that they have, whether to actually go full time and almost be like professionals, but also they need to earn money and get a job as well.
“It’s very difficult to progress to the very top, you have to sacrifice an awful lot so the more exposure it gets the more that this Superleague can take off, the more exposure it can get from the television channels it will be better for obviously everyone in the game.”