Gary Neville took brother Phil to Sir Alex Ferguson’s house over Man Utd exit
Phil Neville has explained the role Gary Neville played in his exit from Manchester United in 2005.
The Neville brothers both progressed through the Red Devils’ academy system as part of the ‘Class of 92’, though the pair’s success at club level differed.
Gary spent his entire playing career with the Red Devils and would win two more Premier League titles than his brother as well as an extra Champions League.
Phil’s lack of game time towards the end of his time with United pushed him into looking for a way out of the club – a process that was accelerated by his older sibling.
Appearing on Jamie Carragher’s Greatest Game podcast, the current Inter Miami manager told the story of how his exit came about and the role Sky pundit Gary played in it.
“I was with Gary one day, and I said this is happening. And Gary being Gary, he literally picked up his phone and rang Sir Alex straight away, and within 10 minutes we were sat in his front room,” he said.
“Literally Gary wasn’t my team-mate, he became my brother, the protective one around me. He just took me straight to Sir Alex’s house, and at that time we decided it was the best thing.
“I had a cup of tea, a piece of cake, and we spoke about the next stage of my career, and literally came out of his house and I was no longer a United player. Ultimately, it was probably Gary that instigated the final bit.
“My dad was away on holiday with my mum. And he literally picked up the phone and rang the boss, and said right we need to talk, Phil wants to talk, and within an hour, Gary had got me a move to Everton.”
Leaving Old Trafford was a tough decision for Neville to make, particularly as the though of facing up against the Red Devils became a reality he had to face.
“He [Ferguson] didn’t want me to leave. Two things he kept saying to me – he said ‘I don’t want you to leave, there’s a contract there, I want you to stay but I understand for your career’.
“I said ‘well I’m not going to another Premier League club’, there was interest in Spain from Atletico Madrid at the time, I never want to play against Manchester United.
“But he said ‘I thought you said Everton were interested’. And I said ‘yeah but I’m not’. And he said ‘I want you to sign for Everton’. And I said ‘no boss, I don’t want to play against Man United, I would find it too difficult’. He said ‘you’re signing for Everton, that is the best club, David Moyes is the best manager, it’s just down the road, you can keep your family unit together.'”