Gary Neville: From Football Legend To Building A Business Empire | E170 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Gary Neville: From Football Legend To Building A Business Empire | E170".


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Intro (00:00)

That's making me a little bit upset. It's an incredible man. It's the old, it's that business, it's really simple. Joke. I never get anyone to believe it. One of the things that people don't know about you is just the scale of your business portfolio. It's quite honestly mental. The only thing you can ever do in life is work as hard as your possible account and never giving. What is the cost? I basically collapsed the floor another fit. I went to the hospital, I had checks and then found that I need to slow down a little bit. And I had to stop doing the things that kept me well and I just run myself into the ground. So I knew that that point then, I needed to see something. Men just united are failing. I do feel sorry for the current players and that won't go down well with a lot of Manchester United fans. These players got onto the pitch now, they feel along. But that's where I am a little bit critical of Cristiano. You're the star. Now's not a time to throw your arms around. Now's a time to make sure you lead those people. Resilience and robustness and hard work can be taught and learnt. I don't think it's something you've all made. The minute I joined at 11 to the minute I left at 36, Manchin' United got everything out of me. Everything. Of all the people, I always talk about having the influence on my life. I never mention my mum and her mum and dad. They're far better people than I am. That's making me a little bit upset. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the Dirova CEO. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this yourself. We are a normal working class family. There are no famous sporting ancestors in our family. But somehow we want to combine 218 caps for our country at football and netball between us.

Career, Sports, And Personal Insights

How did you and your family become so successful in sport? (01:56)

Tracy Neville MBE, who's sister, went twice to the Commonwealth Games and World Championships, representing England 74 times and coached the national team. How and why is that possible? That three siblings in a family reach sporting greatness when there isn't a long lineage of, you know, the granddad was at Manchester United. This person was at this club and they opened doors for me. I don't know really. I'll start at the end because I was having a conversation yesterday about, it was actually how long should you take off after you've had a baby as a couple, whether it be the man or the woman. And I was thinking about my sister and she took like two or three weeks off and then she was back at it. And also, my father passed away seven years ago and on the morning of his funeral, I went and presented our project, set Michael's council meeting and then went and got ready at home and went to his funeral straight after it. And someone said to me, it's not normal that. And my sister, my dad passed away in Australia whilst he was watching my sister play for the Commonwealth Games. And me and my brother flew straight over there. My sister was still coaching the team. She never broke stride. And he was on a ventilator keeping him alive even though he'd actually, to be fair, passed away. And they were just waiting for us to get over. The day after we got there, my sister said, I've got a game tomorrow. We can't pronounce that he's actually dead until after I finished the game and I come back to the hospital. And when I think of that, that's the end. I suppose in terms of that feeling of just that drive, that commitment to what we do. People say it's not normal. Someone said to me, say it's not normal that we would continue our lives irrespective of, and that probably came from my dad and from my mum. But I think of it as in different layers for me personally. I don't know what it was like for my sister or my brother, but for me personally, I think of it as being the first layer was my mum and dad. They're loved for sport, that commitment to get there early to do things. My dad used to say, get up early, get there early, get your job done. And then when I got to United, I'm hit by Nobby Styles, Brian Kidd, you know, Man's United European Cup when it was in 1968, and then Eric Harrison, a Northern tough Yorkshireman who every single day drilled us about what it was to be a Man's United player. And then you're exposed to Sralich Ferguson and Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel and Mark Hughes. So these different layers of monstrous mentalities of people who are just massive leaders. We've been exposed to them. I was exposed to them. And that's why I always say that resilience and robustness and hard work can be taught and learnt. I don't think it's something you're born with. And I think when you say like, how did we achieve that? I just think we're very fortunate with our parents and the exposure that we had to brilliant leaders throughout our career and examples and the standard barriers that we're next to us. Learning through words, those words that your dad would say to you about getting up and getting at it every morning is a great way to learn. But actions I think in hindsight seem to be the best way to really learn those lessons. But, carelessly, from observing our parents and how they're behaving in their lives, I'll never forget the day that I saw my mum. My mum stopped coming home and then I asked my dad where she was and she said, "Oh, she sleeps in the back of the shop now. There's corner shops she was running." And then going there and seeing this bag of rice that she was sleeping on that had all these rat holes in it from where the mice and rats had been eating it, that visual of that she was working that hard, even though she didn't have to, to support our families, that she was sleeping in the back room every night and not coming home, was a lesson that I learnt without her saying a word. What are the lessons that you learnt from your... because you cited your dad there as being a pretty go-get-em person? How was he functioning professionally that taught you these lessons? He was a law-red driver and he basically worked for Constellation and luggage, which was just luggage, you know, suitcases, and he had to do three drops a week at Davenbury, which is south of Birmingham. And he had to get them there basically by the end of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But we had to... we were leading the two down, Terry's house, and every time my dad got up, you can hear your dad get up when you're younger, you just hear it because it's obviously the lights come on on, you hear the sort of noise, the floorboards are creaking. And we always get up early as a family anyway, but at 4-5 o'clock, he'd hear my dad, we lived in the back... we were in the back bedroom and his... his lawyer, his wagon was parked at the back when he was doing a drop the next day, and he'd leave at 4-5 o'clock in the morning on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He'd take the suitcases, he'd wait for the depot to open at sort of 7-8 o'clock, drop them off, and he'd be back and have his job done by 11 o'clock. And then he'd start to go and do his what would be his commercial work, the fundraising for testimonials, the thing that he loved for, say, for instance, Lancashire County Reachelplers, and that was his passion. That's how he got into Barry Football Club as a commercial director, and into... he had a sales mentality, my dad. But he... he'd get his main job done by 11 o'clock every single morning, big Davenbury and back in a lorry. And then after school, he'd take us to football and he'd take us to cricket. So the amount he'd fit into a day was unbelievable. You know, he'd almost do two jobs, he'd do his job, which was his main job, which was earning his money, which was a lorry driver. He'd then come and do the job, which would be potentially... could he do some sort of, like, side job selling for, like, Lancashire County Reachelplers, Green Mountain Reachelplers, he'd organise dinners and events and things like that. And then his family would come after school where he'd put them into sport and would go to the night in the evening, and go, "We were at United from 11, 11, Monday and Thursday night." So this constant drive of trying to fit as much as you possibly can in the day. And that's where I sort of, the attack of the day was from my dad, get up, get there early, let's make sure we're there. Even at United, we get there early on Saturday. There would never be any risk with time of being late. I feel sometimes that that is a good thing, it's put that into us, but sometimes to live by that now, particularly at the age of Matt. Sometimes you sort of think, "It's hard to keep on doing it, and you wouldn't do now." Particularly what we know now, whether it's the right thing. My dad had heart problems at a very early age, at the age of 42. You know, he's a lorry driver. He liked to go for a beer. He liked to night out. He did too much. He got stressed. All the things that I do know. So he thinks there's a lot I can see in my dad of me, but I don't think I can change it, really. What is the cost? Because for everyone's, I sat here with Tim Grover, who actually coaches a lot of the young United players now, Coach Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant for about 15 odd years.

What the cost of your drive? (08:38)

He was their sole coach. And he said, "For everyone's greatness, the thing that causes their greatness, in your case, that drive and that ruthlessness and that dedication caused you to become a Manchester United legend and all these other things." But what is the cost on the other side that people don't see? He referred to it as, "We have our light side and we have our dark side." The dark side is a consequence and an unavoidable consequence of the light side. What was that dark side for you and your dad? I think I've seen that in the last couple of years with myself. I think... Physical health? No. I've said this to be fair on something that I've done myself in the last week on the overlap. I actually, to be fair, Reheem Sterling scored the goal in the European Championships against Germany a year and a half ago. And I basically collapsed the floor and had a fit. And after that, I went to hospitalised checks and then found that I need to slow down a little bit, basically. And it's similar things to what my dad was told in his 40s that ultimately I do too much. I think too much. I need to relax more. To be fair, my wife says it quite often. You're here but you're not present. Christ, I've had that. Do you get that? No, God. And Joss and News Intro were doing an interview with the other day and it was with Jeff Shreve. Jeff had known me 15, 20 years. He said, "The problem is when asking you a question, you've got my question inside the first two seconds." Let's say it's a 10 second question. You've got my question inside the first two seconds. The next eight seconds, you're thinking about what you're doing after I can see it in your eyes already and he's right. So even during this interview, I'm speaking and sometimes I lose my way in an interview and I have to forget what the question was. And quite often I'll say, "What was the question?" "If I'm on a stage doing like a Q&A, what do you actually ask me?" So I've had to drift it off whilst I'm asking the question to something that I need to do later. But it's, I'm never present. So the consequences that maybe, I remember Seralic saying to me, "Mysterious children growing up, I am missing my children growing up." That's a consequence of my life. I've been in London for four days. You know, but what can I do? I've got to come down to Brentford, Manchester United. I then stay down Sunday because I can't get trained back. There's a train strike and then I'm down to New London at football and I'll go back today. Last week I was down for another four days, but it's what I do. I love what I do. I wouldn't change it. But this afternoon I'll get back to Manchester. I've got meetings till six and then tomorrow it's on full all day. Thursday, I'm in Glasgow doing a dinner with Seralic Ferguson. So it is a constant sort of every single day that I feel like I'm filling days with things that I love and want to do. But then you say to yourself, "You do have those odd moments more now. Why am I doing all this? Why are you doing this now? You love doing it maybe? You know, it's what you enjoy. Sometimes I have those moments, don't you, I have more of those moments. I think, "Why am I doing those? Why have I got two hotels? Why have I got a football club? Why have I got a university? Why have I built an overlap channel? I'm already on Sky. Why am I doing these things?" But it's that idea of cramming as much into your life as possible thinking you've just only got this short period of time. And Brian Kid used to say to us, "Get your pace early. You can't make it up at the end." And we used to sprint and sprint in our runs and sprint. And that means if you collapse at the end and you ain't quite finished it or whatever, it's better than managing yourself and thinking, I'll save a little bit. I have to say, the players that I played with at Man's United, we never saved anything. It was all left out there on the pitch. And I think that's how our lives are since as well. We just leave everything out there on the pitch. There's nothing saved. So we just stand up, I suppose, saturating every single, second of every single day. I used to think that I was driven. I used to think that, you know, and that sounds like a very good framing. I'm driven. I'm motivated. I thought that's what was... Because you said, "Why am I doing this?" After I did this podcast, there's maybe, you know, ten of the companies that I'm running. I have zero time in the day. And then I try and cram in my girlfriend and my family and do a very bad job at that. I used to think it's because I'm driven and I'm just whatever. And then I asked myself a question, which I... When I met Eddie Hahn, I saw the same thing. I mean, his book is called Relentless. Yeah. Are we really driven or are we being voluntarily driven? I said, "We're making the choice to drive towards something." Or are we being involuntarily dragged by some kind of insecurity or some kind of discomfort with the prospect of not being busy? Because for me, I'm convinced these days that I'm probably being dragged by an insecurity. Maybe. But I developed at a very young age. Yeah, maybe. I'm not sure. I don't know. I don't... Because could you stop? I don't feel... Not sure. Maybe if you stop, it'll kill you and all that sort of stuff. Slow down. I do feel like I need to slow down. I read a book, I think. I can't remember what it was a few years ago, where it talked about, "You can never really retire if you love work and you are relentless. But what you can have is mini-retimments during the year." And that's what I've tried to do. I don't do it very well. For instance, this weekend, I'm going to Spain, Friday till Monday morning. I call it a mini-retirement. So... That's a weekend. It's a weekend. It's a mini-retirement. It's where I basically can say, for three days, I'm there and I'm basically taking it. I don't think about work and I will. And sometimes when my best ideas come when I'm on these types of trips, but then in six weeks, I'll have another mini-retirement for five days or four days. Rather than thinking, "You're going to stop for six months and sort of have a sabbatical." That's not probably going to happen with people like you or I, because we just basically don't work that way. So to have lots of mini-retimments during the year is what I've tried to do in the last few years. I'm not sure I'm doing it very successfully. I'm not sure what's wrong with us if that's what you're asking. Is there something wrong with you? I don't feel insecure or vulnerable. I don't feel insecure or vulnerable at all. I feel so confident and I feel not confident. I feel like I've got coping mechanisms built to deal with things. So there isn't any criticism. There's very, very little criticism that I receive now that even touches the sides of me and I get criticized heavily on social media through my football, punditry, my opinions, whatever it may be, because what I went through at United, losing that confidence at the age of 24, post-tribble, going through that difficult patch where I didn't want the ball, seeing the psychiatrist on my own, only a doctor knew, not talking about it until I was 35. But what that psychiatrist gave me was coping mechanisms and perspective. If I go through a difficult moment now, I ask myself the question, "Will I come out of it to the side? Did I expect every day to be a good day?" No, I don't expect every day to be a good day. So when the bad day comes and it's a really bad experience or you have a make a bad business decision, did you think you'd make every decision would be a good decision in business? No, it wouldn't be a good decision. You're not going to make the right decision every single day. You're going to have bad decisions, bad choices, bad days. So when they come now, I can put them into perspective and move on really comfortably. So I feel like I don't feel vulnerable or insecure. I'm not quite sure sometimes. You know, people say, "I've got a strategy. I've got a plan." I'm not quite sure. Any of us have really. Because the reality of it is we don't know what doors are going to open next. You don't know six years ago or five years ago that Dragon's Den is going to come and knock on your door. You don't know that. You haven't got a clue or 10 years ago, certainly. You don't know that's going to happen in your life. But when they knock on the door, come and you think, "I fancy walking through that door." And probably the same with me when things have happened in my life where I thought, "I didn't expect that to come. Yeah, I'll take that." So we are probably being dragged. It's a little bit like jumping off. You go skiing, you're off the sort of black slope. There's no way out of it. You're going down and you can't stop. And it's a little bit like, you know, I feel like to be fair, my life's a little bit like a black slope in skiing. I've gone over the edge. I've started. What can I do now? Slow down. Say to my businesses. Say to the teams that I work with. Sorry, I don't fancy this anymore. Well, thanks for that. But you were here still. I've got no choice. I've got no choice. You've got no choice. Do you know what? I read this book called The Body Holds the School. And I was actually speaking to one of my best friends yesterday who was an extreme workaholic. And then he started having panic attacks. He ends up in hospital. And he said to me, "I felt fine." But the body goes, "Gives out first." The body will, you know, when the mind is telling you, "You know, you can cope with this. You're doing fine." The body will show you in a pretty drastic fashion that you're not okay and that you need to listen to yourself. But since you collapsed on that day, have you made changes, honestly? Because I'm going to ask you, I'm going to ask Emma. I did. I did, I have, I think. But then it's the actual sustain, it's sustaining the changes and not dipping back into your old habits. That's the problem. To what do I do? I train four or five times a week, I wasn't always trained in pre-that. I try, I've got a sleep ring and it focuses me more on the time I need to sleep at night. But then I don't always wear it now. You know, it's a couple of years later. It's in my bag. It's here. I didn't wear it last night. And I'm annoyed with myself because I didn't wear it last night because I forgot to put it on when I got back. So habits really that sort of, do you drift back into your old habits? I try not to pick my phone up when I first wake up, but I'm failing miserably at that. I'm failing miserably. But I have to take an email off my phone. I've taken WhatsApp off my phone because they're things that I think were emails. I think if you wake up to an email at four in the morning that's an email that's not a great email, let's say it's something that you think I've got a deal with that. You aren't getting back to sleep. So I've taken email off my phone. It's only on my iPad. It helps WhatsApp. I mean, WhatsApp announced last week that they were going to sort of this idea that you couldn't be joined in groups and people didn't know when you were online. I just felt like it was an intrusion WhatsApp. I felt like people were attacking me, a constant attack of added to groups. And they see that I'm online and things like that. I know, "Oh, no. Get off. Get away from me." So I just do a message now. And I say to people, "Ring me." So there have been changes that I've made that are helpful because I do feel email is... I love speaking to people. So I lived in a dressing room where the camaraderie, we need email each other at Man's United. So I was focusing on email me. We had a brilliant team spirit in the club. We were there every single day. We spoke to each other. We socialized with each other. We'd help each other. We knew each other. And that's how you build a team spirit. And I felt sometimes email can be... I know it needs to happen in businesses. I know that you need to see attachments. I know you need to communicate with each other. I do believe that they can be quite damaging to culture sometimes, particularly if the wrong tone on the email. I think it can be misunderstood on email. I think it can come across harsh. I think they can put pressure on people. And I realized that the first five years out of football, I was emailing people 5, 6 o'clock in the morning. But you imagine, you emailing people at 5, 6 o'clock in the morning, the impact that's going to have on them when they wake up. I've got a deal with that. I've got an email and I'm like, "That's not fair. It's not right." So I have made quite a few changes, but probably not enough. Yeah, I completely agree. I'll be honest. People, this will surprise people. I look at my emails once a week. Oh, wow. So my assistant looks at my inbox. And then if she puts them on my list, and then I go to my list when I'm ready. And also with all my WhatsApp and all that stuff, all notifications off. And it's just for me trying to take back control of my time. So I choose when I go to it. It doesn't notify me that it needs me now. And I used to have email dread. Yeah. Early mornings, especially when you're running a big company, you've got what? 600 employees or more? Yeah. There's always going to be something wrong. There is. Yeah. It doesn't care what time or occasion it's going to interrupt you. There's always going to be, and I don't want that anxiety in my life. Also, if there is a problem and something's gone wrong, then just ring. They can call you. Yeah, ring me. Just ring me. Anyone can ring me and just say, "Look, I've got a problem." And then we drop everything, don't we? I always feel like it's the biggest responsibility I have is to the people that I work with. And if they ring me and they're in trouble, they've got a problem, we have to deal with that. That's absolutely immediate.

You’re self disparaging about your skills (21:18)

You always, going back to your early years in football and as you came through the ranks, you always, and I've seen this in multiple interviews, kind of a little bit self-disparaging about your own abilities. I tell them. Yeah. I just played with brilliant players. I mean, if you think about it, just go through the players who I played with. Yap, Stan, Denis Irwin, Pete Schmichael, Roy King, David Beckham, Christiano Enaldo, Dwight York, Eric Canton, every single one of them had more talent and ability than I did. They just did it. It was just obvious around me. When I got to United, it was just about insecurity. The only time that I ever felt insecure was when I got to United, I got to United 11 and I joined at 11. And there was a Center of Excellence group and then we got retained every single year. But at 14 where it gets really serious in the start, they signed the school boys and the out of town, that's coming. So all of the sudden, you're exposed to them to Beckham to Skoll's joined at 14, all these brilliant players. And you think, how am I going to survive here? I could just, I'm aware, I know my own abilities. And I had to just do things differently. I was a midfield player. Then I was a center back. Then I ended up right back. There is an element of truth in what Karug has said. No one wants to grow up to be a Gary Neville, meaning no one wants to grow up to be a full back. Everyone, when there are kids scores goals or sets up goals, and then you find out that you're not good enough to do that and you get pushed back the team. That's what happened with me. I was one position away. That was my last hope right back. I mean, I was out of the team before I couldn't play right back. I'd gone from a center midfielders 11, 12 year old at United, then center back from 14 to 18, and then told I wasn't good enough by my reserve team coach to be a center back at United because Steve Bruce and Gary Pallas do it there. And then I go to right back. So you are aware that you've been pushed out of your positions by better players. And that's your only route to success is hard work and playing it right back and trying to adapt to that. And then it was good enough for me in the end, but no, it's not disparaging. I knew the game. I could organize. I knew the game well. I read the game well. And on the pitch, I would never, ever, I would never give in. So around me, this idea of being able to organize the team, I could see the game in front of me. So I believe I had an impact on the other players that I played with beyond my talent through my understanding of the game and making sure that I never stopped going. And we never stopped going. We keep going. We just keep pushing forward. So for fighting for a goal, you know, I always think was that I never go into this level of granular detail. I probably never said this before when people say it's most of the greatest moment in my life. I say it's the finally 99 in the new camp when we won the treble. But that I made a room from right back. I got the corner for the first goal because I went, oh, I sprinted over to the left wing and took the long throw to put it into the box. It came back out to me and we got the corner. It's not an assist by any stretch of the imagination. It typifies my career of seven goals and very few assists. I am no Trent Alexander Arnold or nor even a Danny Serwin. But that you have to find a way to win. You have to just do everything you possibly can. You cannot leave anything on the pitch. You just sprint everywhere. You just do everything. And that, to me, typified what probably I was, that I could see something in that, you know, in terms of how to impact a game, whether it be through impacting someone else by getting them going and giving them the ball and keeping them at it. And that's why I think he kept me there till I was 36 because it wasn't through ability at the end. I kept me there till I was 36 just through my influence and my impact I had in the dressing room. I'm pretty certain of that because it wasn't through anything that I was doing on the pitch. So I'm always humble around my own ability because of the talent I had around me. And that's why I get caught on Twitter quite often people will say to me, if you aren't a bit of Man's United, you've been a job in right back somewhere, I'd follow my bum. I thought, maybe I won't. I've never heard anyone in a high up managerial position disagree with the phrase that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Yeah, I mean, that's one thing I could never ever ever, I could never ever be accused of anything other than from the minute I joined at 11 to the minute I left at 36. Man's United got everything out of me, everything. And to fair, the club gave me everything. So we didn't owe each other anything. And that's something I'm proud of. Longevity is actually probably one of the things that consistency and longevity, been able to consistently work hard every single day at a good level of performance and turn up every single day and be there is underrated actually. And that's the thing that to me for surviving at 25 years on Distralics Ferguson in that environment of excellence and demands that he placed on people was, you know, it was a great achievement. But I did that with a lot less talent than the players in the club. When was the first time you realized that Sir Alex Ferguson was you felt his influence?

Alex Ferguson’s mindset (26:13)

You felt his mindset? Joe, something in the early days, it was the old school, that head teacher, not he's not a head teacher by any stretch of the imagination, but got a little bit of fear that you may be having your father as well. If you father sort of gets a bit angry with you, you know, that little bit of that dominating male of the 70s, 80s, 90s, probably going back beyond that was apparent in Sir Alex Ferguson that, you know, you knew when he walked into the room, the room went quiet. That was that presence that aura hit the bosses here. And so you felt it straight away. When people say to me, sort of, how did you keep coming back every single year and continue to keep winning? What was the secret of that? It was by his actions and what he did. I always remember when I was third, when did we lose the Champions League final? In 2009, so I had been 34 right near the end of my career. I was doing my, we played the Champions League final on Wednesday, we lost. We got back on the Friday from Rome or Thursday off Friday. On the Saturday, I had to go and pick up my boots at Carrington in the training ground. So it was a Sunday morning, I had to go pick up my boots at Carrington in the training ground to go to St. George's Park because I was doing my A-licence coaching badge. And it was my final assessment. And I went in at seven o'clock in the morning and I'd organised to meet with the caretaker who was basically there on site all the time to let me in. And I parked on the back and his office lights on and he's there in his chair. I thought, "Oh no, I don't see him, we just lost a European Cup final four days ago." So I drove back around the front and went and got my boots and moved out. But he was there at Sunday morning, half, six, seven o'clock. The only person in the building with his light on four days after we'd won the European Cup final and you've been in his mid-60s and I thought, "No one can live with that." That's the reason he's winning. That's the reason he's winning. There's no other manager, no other leader that I know. Four days after that defeat in his off time in the summer is in his office on a Sunday morning at half past six. And he didn't know, I was coming in obviously and he didn't see me either. I just saw it, you could just see him in the distance. It was, I couldn't believe it. And he just, all those sort of examples of that work ethic, they hit you every single day and he knew how to tap into here. He knew how to get you. No matter who you were in the dressing room, he always used to get me. I always say this by mentioning my, used to mention when grandparents, what about your grandparents getting up every single day, putting their tie on, the work that they put in, how they never complained about anything, what they must have lived through obviously in the Second World War. And he would say things like that in his team talks and it would always tap into me because I used to sit with my mum's dad and look at his medals that he'd got during the Second World War. He'd had three or four wounds. He'd had trap-mull wounds in his shoulders that he could still show me and bits of metal still in his body. And he would talk to me about the medals and where he'd got them from and how he'd been in Holland and how he'd sort of had to come back and then he went back over, how he married my nan on one of his returns back. So that used to get me every single time. So when I used to play for United, when you think about what motivates you, what gets you going. And you used to mention, say for instance, grandparents and there's that difficult moment on a pitch where you think we're struggling here a little bit. Now I think of my youngest daughter when I'm training, what keeps me going to the end of that training session, I think of silly things. If I don't keep going here, someone's going to get my youngest daughter and there's nothing going to get her. So I've got to keep going. And there it was my granddad and mum's dad. I used to think he wouldn't stop going. He came back having been wounded twice and trapped on the wounds twice and went back out to fight again. And he had those medals and he would speak to me about it. And I used to think, how can I stop? But he would find that in me. So Alex would push, he would push those buttons and press those buttons. For someone else, it would become something completely different, I'm sure. It might be talking about the father. It might be talking about him going on strike in the govern shipyards. It might be talking about another experience that he's had, but he would tap into everybody in the dressing room in some way that would mean they'd find something to mean they would never give in. And that's what he's, you know, his films called Never Give In. He never give in. But also the influence he had on others never to give in through finding something in them was incredible. Rio talked to me a lot about culture and the culture that's our Alex Ferguson said, Everest said the same thing.

What you have you learnt from Sir Alex about culture? (30:35)

Having left football now and working in the world of business, you must must be looking back on the culture he created. And in some ways, drawing a lot from that in your own businesses, right? What have you learned about the importance of culture? Because there was a comment made to me on the podcast that I've never forgotten, which is about Sir Alex Ferguson's lack of presence at the training ground. Rio said he only came into the training ground, training room dressing ground a couple of times because he didn't need to. The culture was in there. And then Rio talked about how then when Rio went and moved on to another club, in that same dressing room, players are talking about how much money they're making and all of these other things, which would never have happened at United. How does one create that culture? I suppose being grounded, he was grounded and he believed in the work ethic was everything to him. Being proud to work hard, being proud of the people around you work hard, being proud of your teammates. You should say look around the change room, look around and proud of every single one of you, but look at each other, look at what you each do for each other on the pitch. And now you can't achieve what you're going to achieve without each other. So he made us respect each other. Not everybody got on in our changing room, but most of us did. But he tapped into those things all the time. It was nonstop and being grounded, looking after people. Little things like Wendy used to get the charity ball signed. And Roy Keem was like this as well. So Wendy, every Thursday, we'd have 30 to 40 charity balls that we would sign and then they would go to the children's charities or the different charities in Greater Manchester or in the country. And sometimes you're in a rush, aren't you? You're a football player, you're young. Oh, Wendy, I'll sign a mad rush. I'm in a mad rush. I've got to go and do my stretching. I've got to have a massage. I've got to have treatment. Whatever it might be that you say on the way in some poor excuse that you'd give. Or maybe you just generally did. And there was one day where he basically, I think, Roy, what passed Wendy, she was a little bit upset and only five players out of the 23 in the squad had signed the balls. And Roy went upstairs and said to Swellitz, it's absolutely disgrace. This has happened a couple of weeks now. He killed us. He absolutely killed us. The lack of respect to what passed Wendy, who was there to get the charity ball signed and not sign them for him, was a dereliction of duty. It was a lack of respect. It's not what you do. We're equal in this football club. We treat each other equally. We look after one another. We make sure that we're sort of compassionate. And the idea of not doing things like that, little things like that. I think just little things like that stand out in my mind. So now sometimes I walk into the businesses and you're not real like we sometimes walk into our phone and we don't say hello to people because with that immersed in our own blinker sort of space. But then I'll walk past sometimes and I'll realize that I've not said hello to someone. I'll go back and say, I'm really sorry. And I'll say, are you okay? And I do feel like even when in the office, there is no, I sit next to people in the office. I don't sort of have my own. Do I have to help? Yeah, I don't. I make sure I go and sit in the coffee football, in the hotel or go and sit in the main restaurant that stocks or at Solve and I'll just go and sit in the main office because the idea that basically we don't, he did have his own office and he did have his own space. And he did to be fair delegate and he would keep his, so I don't think I'm like Sorelix in the way in which I now look at my business because I do believe it's very different now. But he was very, the staff loved him. Everybody loved him at the club because he protected them. He knew everybody's name. He asked about the families. He knew the family's names. He was really, really attentive. He was far better at that than I am, far better at that than I am. But I probably to be fair, mixed with my teams more than he maybe would. But the work ethic is the thing. Honestly, the only thing you can ever do in life is work as hard as you possibly can and never give in. And he said you've got that choice every single day. Really simple. That's it. The talent you've got, you just work as hard as you can every single day and never give in and then you come back the day after and do it again. And that's it. That's the secret to what he believes because he said the talent is his problem. Forget talent. I've chosen you to be here. So I'm telling you you've got the talent. Don't you worry about that bit. What I need back in return is that other bit, which is the focus, the commitment, the dedication to make sure every single day you get up and you're here and you give your all and you don't give in. And that's why I think I stayed where I was because I believed him. I trusted him. And now it's the same. If someone comes into our business and they've been selected to come in, that's because I believe they've got the talent or someone in our senior management team believe they've got the talent. All they have to do in return now is go for it and give their all and be enthusiastic and not giving and then come back the day after and do it again. I keep it, try and keep it as simple as that. I know there's a lot more to it than that, but it is. It was that simple for us. I know then there's the tactics, then the decision making, then there's the sort of conscience, all the things that go with it. But that was the sort of heart, I think, of all the messaging that we got from him. They almost seem like old fashioned values. What you're saying? Yeah. And I'm going to be honest, it almost sounds like what the modern day professional culture might consider to be a little bit toxic. Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. This drive for hard work. But I have to say, I've never sat here with anybody that's reached the peak of their powers and their career. That hasn't said the same. But now, if I'm in my businesses, so I don't, things like, I don't, I never work the first week in January, I think it's the most depressing week of the year. After Christmas, you've had a high and then you go back, it's dark, it's miserable, that first week. So I always take it off, but they always give the rest of our team in the office that I work in, off as well. So I don't make people do what I'm not going to do. I'm going away, I think, in three weeks for five days. And I said to everybody in the office, don't worry about the fact you've got 28 days in your contract. Those five days you're off, after the last five days off of the summer, then we'll go for it to Christmas. People are flexible working, they can come in Monday, they don't have to come in Tuesday, they can come in Wednesday. I trust them to do what they want. So there is an element of, yeah, I want heart, I do expect hard work, but I also want people to have a brilliant time and sharing the success that we have, but also make sure that if I'm off, I would expect that they have those times off as well. I wouldn't expect them to come in. I don't, but I hate the idea of a work package. It's got like, you've got 25 days holding, you have to book it in. I hate that. I hate the idea of restriction. I hate it. I feel like it's bullying. You must sit there in the office. I hate it. It's not right. It is not right. Don't tell people where to sit, how to work. You know, obviously there is a direction and there is a leadership that's needed, but I just feel it's really not acceptable. But in those, this was pre-COVID. Our office is like to be fair, this room that we're in here now. So someone could be sat there, someone could be sat there, someone could be sat on the floor over there with a laptop. That's how it should be in an office. It should always be like that. I think I don't think it needed, I don't think it ever, I don't think you need a COVID to make modern business properly with the teams that they work with. So I do feel it's very different than how we were at United, which is old-fashioned value. There's still some old-fashioned values. You have to work hard. We have to get the job done. We know that. But why do you have to say that to people? I think people know they have to work hard and get the job done. Why do you have to say that to them? You're looking to tap into them, make something unique in your business that makes them want to stay, really. That's what you saw. You may want to make it enjoyable. And that can still be enjoyable through hard work. I think it's quite enjoyable working now. No, I know people that work for you, obviously, because we've got a colleague that used to work for me that works for you now, and they're all very, very complimentary. So that's supported by the evidence that I have. But you're right. And the contradiction there is trust. You're saying to your team members to trust you, but you're not trusting them. And trust, I feel like, has to go both ways. And what ends up happening when you have those, in my experience, those very rigid rules, is you'll get compliance, but you won't get motivation. And as you've described it, you want people to be internally driven, not compliant because of punishment. And that gets the best out of people, right? It's interesting because Valenti taught me a lot, but around that time I was with England coaching with Roy Hodgson. And I'd lived at United where we were fine. Newness got sent off last night of headbutting Anderson. That's two weeks' wages amongst United. I got five two weeks' wages regularly, four or five times. It happens football. It wouldn't happen in a normal workplace, but we know. So, for Alex Ferguson's rules, if you violent conduct or chatting back to a referee, you get fined. In fact, he won't accept it. People think Alex Ferguson was like, get after the referees. But if we actually got booked for having a go at a referee, we would get fined. So very much quite a rigid thing. And then Roy Hodgson said something to me when I was with England. And I felt those all standards were slipping a little bit one time. I can't remember exactly what it was about. And I said, we need some rules. Because we had a code of conduct at United. I was the player's rep. I knew what the sort of standards were. And he said to me, we don't set rules. He said, be very careful with rules. He said, because it's always the people that you don't want to break them, that break them. I thought, it's quite clever that. And ever since, there are no rules. There are no rules in our business in terms of you must be here. You must do this. You must wear that. I don't expect formality in dress. I expect people to be comfortable. So I don't say you should wear this. Or you should be here at that time. Or we've got to do that in any part of my business. I don't create rules anymore. Because once you create rules, for a start, it's rigid. I don't believe it's right. And the rules are there. They're unwritten, actually. The rules have sort of working hard and turning up and doing your job. All the things, the rules are there. Just don't have to be written down. And you know, you see what happens if you start a player walks in? Let's break it. Because the ones that we were talking about that were setting the law standards, you see what happens if one of the star player walks in? And we need to work with the players to make sure that they understand what we expect to them in the standards. We don't need to set rules. Because if you set rules and consequence and punishment, then it'll be the one that you don't want to break them. And then you're in big trouble. So it was a good lesson from. And in football, it's very much a different place than a normal workplace anyway. It doesn't live by HR rules. A football dressing room. It doesn't. Players are still getting fined. Players still get told where to be, when to turn up what to where. We like it as well. I still like it now, actually. I like it to be told what to do. I actually like it at Skye when people say to me on Gary, we're doing this. I like being told what to. I respond to it really well because I've had it to be fair. I've been instructed from Eric Harrison, Nobby Styles, Brian Kidd, Swarlick Ferguson. I've been instructed. I lived through the 70s and 80s. You could not live through the 70s and 80s as a child early 90s without being instructed because that was the form of leadership. So we still respond to it a little bit in our own lives. But then when I think about my children, I don't instruct them. I like independent thinking. I like them. So when people talk about social media and people talk about, you know, I was sat with someone yesterday who said, I'm fearing my. My children were on social media. I always say to them, your children should get good at social media really quickly because they have to. They have to. They have to be good at it. So my children are 13 years of age now, but they're all obsessed with social media, with the apps. They're on it all the time. And, you know, sometimes we'll say, you know, that's enough tonight and, you know, let's come off it. But I want them to get good at it. I want them to use it and find out what information they can trust and what they can't trust. I use Twitter now all the time for my, well, one, to be paid. Very good at it, to be fair. But also to actually my news, my major source of news is Twitter. It's my major source of news in my life. It's really helpful. I don't think as a sports journalist, broadcaster, I could live without Twitter. It's really important to me. So when people say that Twitter's a suspect, get off it, there are elements of it that are, but that's, it's a really important thing for me in my life because I find all the sort of articles, all the sort of opinions, you know, all the breaking news is there. How can I live without that? It's what I rely upon to be able to do my job. So when I come off the pitch last Sunday, doing Man's United, told him Westam Man's city, as he managed to unite a bit for an out of it, I used to have to wait till the morning after for the newspaper 15 years ago. Our children aren't like that anymore. They want things instantly. They see things quickly and they don't like to be instructed. They have to collaborate with them. There's an inevitability, you're completely right to social media and the internet and digital that will actually, I believe as well, will serve as a disadvantage to them if they don't keep up because you can't think of a profession these days that doesn't involve social media with the internet. So you're, you know, in an effort to try and protect children sometimes, we actually cause them a pretty substantial career disadvantage. It should be taught at schools. It should be on the curriculum. Social media, how to use it, what to use it for, how to get good at it. The dangers of it. It should be something that's taught. It's got to be more useful to them than some of the subjects that they're currently being taught in 2022. Yeah. You know, when you, I mean, this is not a nice topic to talk about because we're both Manchester United fans, but through all you've been through and the era you grew up in and all of those famous influences you had that instilled those values in you.

Why are Manchester United failing now? (44:28)

And even the early initiations you had in that dressing room from the senior players. And, you know, I read about all of that stuff as well. When you look at what's going on at the club today, even though you're not, you're not in the dressing room, you must have a pretty, pretty strong hypothesis as to why Manchester United in 2022 are failing based on what you experienced. Yeah. I think it comes down to a lack of leadership and direction from the top and vision and and deterioration of the sort of belief solver along period of time. I said last night, actually, that a school that's underperforming over a long period of time and getting poor results gets put in special measures by offstead and by government. And they're not blaming the kids. It means that the governors, it means that the sort of the head teachers, the people at the top of the organization at the school have not basically set the standards for those children and they've let the school basically rot and the results become poor. I think that's what's happened at United. It was a high performing school. The head teacher has left, the board of the governors left, David Gill. And what's happened since is that they've been replaced with people who haven't got it and poor standards have just meant that ultimately over a period of time, there's become an embedded rot. And that's what's happened. Those are the kids, the players, look now, like they haven't got a clue anymore and they're getting poor results. I don't believe all those Manchester United players that are on that pitch are poor players. When they came to the club, some of those players, I was really excited by their arrivals. And I've seen players that weren't as good as them go to other clubs in Excel. So the environment, the culture, the enthusiasm that you need to go into work every single day, I don't believe has been created by the hierarchy at the club. And then there's been a lack of investment into the facilities, into the stadium, into the training ground. So now Tottenham will live a pool. Live a pool now. Live a pool for, I used to laugh when I used to go to Anfield when I used to compare it to Old Trafford. I used to think they can never catch up. They're too far behind. They're just building that second stand now, behind that left-hand goal where the away fans sit. We saw it last night, towering up. The main stand now is towering up. I don't know, it holds 20,000. Anfield will be a more modern ground than Manchester United and Old Trafford in 12 months. That is unforgivable. To think where, not only have they all taken us on the pitch, but actually have overtaken us off the pitch. Manchester City a light year has had on and off the pitch. Tottenham have invested 1.3 billion in stadium. They've been to Tottenham Stadium. Oh, yeah. It's out of this world. It's a museum. It's a museum. It's the best in the world. I'm walking through when I see it. If you go to their training ground, which I've been to, it's an amazing, brilliant facility that is far better than Carrington, where we moved to in 2001. We moved to Carrington, we moved to Carrington. We left the cliff training ground in Solford. It's 22 years, which has a bit of investment. In 20 years, Manchester United had not invested in the stadium. They've not invested in the training ground that much. Then they've lost the two main people. Before you know it, you've got a club that's really struggling. I've said that in the last couple of years, the only thing that I really do think can change it now is the ownership. I say that on him more calm than I say on Sky Sports, but it's not an immersive subject in a much very serious issue. There is an embedded rot at the club. You know that they're walking past Wendy's balls now, don't you? Do you know what I mean? No. Is in signing Wendy's balls. Oh, sorry, yes. It's sort of fine for me. Yeah. It's in every single touch point. Even the small stuff. And so I was thinking then, I can almost imagine now, those small expressions of our values, as you said, they come from the top down. I probably now being missed. And it's funny because as fans, we look at the thing, we go, "He's not running fast enough or a Blaine player or Fred ill, does this player whatever?" But when you've worked, for me, when I've worked in an organization, I realize that the values, the culture, everything starts from the top. And if you bring in great, and as we've seen at Manchester United, you can bring in the best stars into a bad culture, they'll become bad performers. And I always said in a business context as well, if the culture is strong enough, new people become the culture. If the culture is weak, the culture becomes the new people. It's why I was kept at the age of 33 to 36 in the atmosphere. Yes, because you were a disciple of a culture. Because Raffalda Silva from Brazil comes in, I'm the right back that's the senior right back. And who does he look to? He looks to me. He looks to Paul Skoll's. He looks to Rio Ferdinand. And he sees people that are at the very top of the game, their experience, that are end of the career. That's why I looked at Steve Bruce and Brian Robson, Eric Canton, I had nowhere to go as a young player. I knew how to do what they had to do. I was because they were all doing it every single day. And they've been doing it for 15 years. I do feel sorry for the current players and that won't go down well with a lot of Manchester United fans because a lot of Manchester United fans will say they're overpaid and they're chanting it and bluffing it. They're not, they're not. I know some of those lads, they're good lads. If they were sat here now with me and you, you'd be thinking, there's an element of vulnerability there. There is a lack of confidence. They're crying out for help. I wish they had Sir Alex. I wish they had Roy Keating the change of room with pneumonia, village and Rio Ferdinand that sent her back and peached my clean goal. Because if they did, they would grow, they would thrive. They would deliver. Since the Manchester United team today was David DeHaringal, Patrice Everett left back, Harry Maguire sent her back with, for Anne, it was me at right back in midfield. There was Roy Keating and Michael Karrick. On the left was Marcus Rashford. On the right was Jane Sancho. Up front was Marciel with Rooney or Hughes. Those same five or six players that we're currently saying can know, are not good enough to play for Manchester United. They would be outstanding if Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager, if the culture was still there. It's, I don't honestly, I, I, I, that might be, I don't even know what I've just said to be fair. I've not said before, but you're not trying to say. If you surround yourself by those people, we've got those standards, we've got that experience who can cradle you through the difficult moments like we were when we were young players. When one, when people said we won the league with kids, we didn't. We won't have won the league without the experienced players in that just room around us and the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson. They've not got that guidance off the pitch and they've not got that guidance and comfort on the pitch. I used to walk out in the tunnel with Patrice Michael in front of me, Roy Keating in front of him. Behind me, obviously David Beckham always went behind me, but Danny Sue and in front of me, I felt safe. I was 21, 22, 23 years of age. I felt safe. I felt comfortable because I knew I was being looked after by experienced people and knew that I was, wasn't alone. These players got onto the pitch now. They feel alone. They don't feel like they've got any, but that's where I am a little bit critical of Cristiano. You're the man. You're the star. You're the, you're the best player in the world. Come on. That's the time you're throwing your arms around. Now's not the time to be walking off the pitch. Now's the time to make sure you lead those people, but he wants to leave. He wants to go and play somewhere else and that might happen. And you could blame him. He wants to finish his career at a club that's achieving great things, but I do think he is the only player in that vest room that could lead them because he's the only one that's got the inbuilt resilience and mental strength to get through a moment. It won't be touching him this. Other than a personal frustration level, the fact that he's playing the team isn't giving the chances, the goals, the success he wants, but on a point of view of criticism, he won't be touching him. He's played it real Madrid. He's played it Manchin United. He's won five, six Champions League. He's won Ballandor. You can't touch him with the criticism or words. It's impossible. So he can withstand all his pressure and protect those players on the pitch. That's what I think Roy Keen did with us, what Pietr Michael did, what Cantonard did, what Robson did. He protected us. If I took prime Cristiano Ronaldo when he came in from Portugal and I put him in today's team. He'd struggle. He'd struggle. I think he really would struggle without Sorelix's guidance, without the patience of Sorelix and Carlos Quiros who had that patience with him at the time. Do you think his career would look entirely different? It would look different. You speak to Paul Gascoing, and that's Paul Gascoing when he chose Tottenham over Manchin United, and he says that if he had come to Manchester and worked with Sorelix, he feels as though his career and his life would have gone down a different path. And that's why I said that at the very start of this interview, why am I like I am? I was very fortunate that I wasn't in the centre of London at 22, being led by experienced players who wanted to go to nightclubs or to bars. I was in Manchester with Denny Serwin and Sorelix Ferguson and Roy Keen and Mark Hughes and Brian Robson who don't get me wrong, they like tonight out, but then you also that that had to come at the right time and they would be responsible and make sure you delivered on the pitch. So I feel blessed and privileged by the influences that I had in my life. We talk about influences now in a different way, don't we? But actually, we're heavily influenced by the people that we come into contact with, and that's where your look comes in in life because I can't choose who I come into contact with in life. You walk into a business to take a job. You don't know there are 150 people in the business. There could be some really good people in there that influence you well and make it really comfortable for you. There could be some bad eggs that mean that you have to have a bad experience in the influence using a different way. I just got really lucky throughout my career that I arrived at United when they started with the Premier League. I then obviously had a brilliant manager, I had brilliant senior players, I had good parents, everything was right in my life to influence me to be what I am today. Without that, I'm not the person I am. I wasn't Gary Neville, resilient, tough, mentally strong, could handle anything, better work ethic than anybody else when I was 10. I wasn't. I was a kid just to be fair, going to school like everyone else. But I had exceptional people around me, I believe that helped me. I don't believe these lads now in that dressing room have got that around. They haven't got that around them. I had a thought cross in my mind for the first time ever this week. And as a manager, you're not going to go down. Well, I grew up, my birth year was 1992. So I've only ever known great times at Manchester United pretty much. And it was the first time that I played out the scenario in my head that it's not guaranteed that we return to being champions. It's all I've ever known. And it was the first time that I started doing the equation of how do great clubs fall. And this is one of the years where I've seen one of the real catalysts is, okay, so the brand starts to deteriorate, they lose commercial deals, then great players like Harland and Nunes don't choose the club. Then we so we can't get great talent. We then don't have the money to get the great talent at an inflated price, which we could have paid in the first couple of years after the downfall. And then I'm thinking, okay, so this could, we could, there's a chance. And I hate to say it because I'm an internal optimist. It's embarrassing. But every year when we do our little school predictions in my football chat, I'm like, we're going to win the league every year for the last three years. I'm deluded. But this was the first time I entertained the thought that we might, it's not guaranteed that we return to the club we were. I put us in the top four of the edit last week in my predictions, but Joe's something, I know full well, we're not going to finish in the top four, but have to, just because it's the Man's United inbuilt thing that you say we're going to finish in the top four. But that's how our expectations have dipped as well, because we used to say we're going to finish top. Yeah. No, I'm convinced Man's United will return absolutely convinced. Why? It's not arrogance this and it's not because I'm bias and it's not because I've gone to watch the clubs since the age of five. I've traveled around the world with the club for the last 30, 40 years. I've seen the extent of the fan base, the emotion that exists within the fan base, the scale of the club. And it's two, the foundations are too deep. But those foundations were created because of like generational success. Yeah. But we had it, we had the Busby Babes period with about Busby, then we had 30 years, 25 years before Sralik's brought home a league title. So we've had 25 years before that we've gone through without success. Man's United is not going away. It's not going. It's too big. It's too big. It's too magical. It's too good. That is not, that is not emotion that that is just, I feel very, very strongly about that. That is, there is an element of cycle here that we are getting sort of our down period, but we shouldn't accept that. Because I'm happy to lose football matches. I'm happy to be fourth in the league, third in the league, sixth in the league, if we're doing the right things. So have we got a world, Man's United should always have a world class stadium. It hasn't. It shows our best in class training facility. It shows our best in class fan experience. It's always by the best, being for the best players in the Premier League. It's always have young talent coming through and it shows by young emerging talent from overseas. It's veered away from all five or six of its key principles and objectives that it's always ever had. Any business does that, then it's in trouble. You've got owners that to be fair and now taking dividends out of the club, they're taking big large payments in debt out of the club or interest payments on the debt out of the club. All the money that the club generates to be fair is not going back into the club and it's now come home to roost. The only on 69, 70% of the club and they need a billion quid to be able to fulfill those infrastructure projects that are needed. The walls are closing in on them and they do need to do something big through partnership or through an investor or through a sale in the next, I think, six to 12 months. They just cannot go on. That was a watershed moment at Brentford on Saturday. What we were all experiencing in that stadium, and I didn't obviously know you were in the stadium at that time, but now I know you were and you said you were just compelled to stay because you couldn't leave. Everybody that I've spoken to was like, I've not seen too many things like that in 30 years of Premier League football. And actually, I never want Man's United to lose, but actually it could have been an important moment and a big moment where you actually start to think like you're thinking, people have said, could be relegated. I said last night on television, if we bring poor players in in this next couple of weeks or don't bring players in and Cristiano does leave, which I think he may, we could finish in the bottom half of the table with a £1.25 billion transfer spending the last eight to 10 years. I'm finishing the bottom half of the table. And so we are starting to think that way, but I've no doubts it's going to return. It's too big. It's too good. It's fan base. It's too great. It's enormous. I've been abroad and watched 15, 50,000 people watch as training Thailand and in Malaysia and in Singapore. And I've seen Manchester, the passion still for the club is huge. And so it's still full now. Yeah. It's just I just get concerned that if there's another generation that are growing up without the experience I have and who are they going to choose in terms of, you know, we'll lose some. Yeah. We'll lose some. We have to lose some on the way. There was some collateral damage. Depends how long we go through this. If this is two decades, then that's a whole generation that never saw what we saw growing up. So city, city have done brilliant things. Pep Guardiola is a genius. The football is mesmerizing. The operation is slick. But I say this because it will bring, you know, criticism from probably some football fans and certainly for Manchester City fans, it will never, ever be Manchester United. And that's not arrogance. It just cannot be. What won't? Manchester City. It can never to replace Manchester United in terms of scale and size. It can win trophies. It can win more trophies, but it can never be bigger in scale and size. It's impossible. It does not have the roots, the history. It does not have it. Manchester United is two sets. We'll see. I'm not worried about the long term. I'm very worried about the short term.

Your business (01:01:02)

One of the things that people don't know about you, I believe, because I'm fairly well read on what you do, but I didn't realize this is just the scale of your kind of business portfolio. It's quite honestly mental. I don't do all of the media stuff that you do. I'm not, you know, on TV all the time presenting football. I'm not in that arena. And when I look at your business portfolio, and man, I'm going, this guy does as much as I do from a business perspective, but you're not known to the world first and foremost as an entrepreneur. Maybe that's the second thing. People know you as a football legend. Second, second thing will be entrepreneur. And the second thing is you don't even like the word entrepreneur. Not really no. I don't. I suppose it's like broadcast. I don't like the word broadcaster. It's like maybe that is an insecurity actually or vulnerability. People say to me, you're a broadcaster, but I don't feel like a broadcaster. I don't feel like I've heard, you know, I feel like Martin Tyler or your Deslignum, they're broadcasters. They're journalists. They've their experience. They do it. I don't feel like a broadcaster because I feel so feel young, but I'm not young anymore. That really in terms of been doing it now for 11, 12 years. And same with entrepreneur. I always feel there's something a little bit. Cassware. It feels a little bit wankerish. Yes. To say I'm an entrepreneur. Even C.S. Sounds wankerish. C.O. An entrepreneur. No. Get a little chairman of the London Screwing Entrepreneur. No, it makes me sort of skincare a little bit. But I think to be fair, probably I should start calling myself that because I do have the one, there is one constant. They're all in greater Manchester, apart from a media career, which can sometimes obviously be in London, but they're all in greater Manchester, in Salford, Trafford, Manchester Centre, and I feel very focused around my investments in that. And for some people would say, "That's naive. You should expand beyond greater Manchester." No, I'm passionate about where I come from, where I live, and I want to invest back into that part of the country. So the two hotels, the Football Club, the big developments that we're doing, the university, the project management consultancy, all of them in greater Manchester. And I want to continue to do things. I don't think I'll do many more startups, although the overall I have a startup, but I just start up so hard. Do you think startups are hard? Oh, they're so painful. They're rewarding, but all the mine have been startups. So apart from Salford, which do you face a bit of a startup, it was like eighth tier, the 170 fans, they're all startups. So not one of them has been sort of a business that I've bought into, which I'm not sure that that's the way I like it, because we can influence them, and we can make them our culture can come into the sort of businesses. But yeah, I wanted to do a lot in business, but in greater Manchester, build teams. It's the team's part of it that gives me great satisfaction. And then, yeah, I love the sectors that I'm in. And it's crazy because when I look at your businesses, when I've looked closely at them, you run really good businesses as it relates to attention to detail. Your hotel in Manchester, the Stock Exchange Hotel, I have to say, is by far my favourite hotel. It's not even close. I'm the Dragon's Den, the first year, all the Dragon's Den, the Larry. Even though it's my first, I was like, "Please stand the Stock Exchange Hotel." And I stayed there. It's by far and away. There's nothing close to it in Manchester, in my view. No. And I have to say some of my... So the university, I think, is more of a social project to try and be more inclusive and sort of remove the barrier to higher education. The football club started off as a sort of a more of a social project in terms of bringing young players through and believing in young talent in football like we've been believed in. But then I also have this other side of me, which is I want to raise standards. And we wanted hospitality to be at the highest level in Manchester. And the Stock Exchange was my ambition to create the No. 1 Hotel, premium hotel in Manchester, luxury hotel. The same with the development set Michaels, which we hope to be the new No. 1 Hotel in Manchester when it's built, a new 5-star hotel. Manchester only has one 5-star hotel and this is sent to us. Larry's in Solve, but the other has like one 5-star hotel. So then some people will throw at me, "How does that sit with your sort of social conscience that you've got these sort of expensive apartments? You've got these expensive hotel rooms. You charge £40 for a steak." And I'm like, "I think it's OK to be offended by Manchester not having enough affordable housing and also not having high-class luxury accommodation and luxury products. I'm offended by both. Why does Manchester all have to be sort of pigeon-holding to this 3-4-star market?" So this idea that in Manchester is that, and I get calls champagne, socially sometimes, and sometimes I get criticized for the fact that I have a university that is trying to improve inclusion and access to higher education, but then, oh, Neville, he's just basically selling developments, he's selling apartments for £500, £600,000, his rooms are £250,000, £300, a hotel football or a Stock Exchange. I'm offended by the fact that we can't raise the standards at the highest level and the fact that we can't look after people and make sure that everyone's got this sort of a house to be able to live in that's of a come-to-all size in the area they want to live. So I feel that I'm a little bit torn between my projects and what I feel, but I want high standards in our city. I'm offended that Manchester does not have 5-star international standard hotels. It fends me that London always has to have these things or that Paris, why do people from Manchester have to go to Paris or London to experience 5-star hospitality and service? We should be able to get it in our city. So I want to drive investment into our city and raise the standards. That was what the Stock Exchange was about raising standards of hospitality. And we got to number one, which was really... But you're right, because if there isn't that supply there for the high-end, then the economy is going to suffer because you're right, it won't attract business, it won't attract investment into the city. And I love coming to Manchester because you didn't pay me to say this, but I love staying at the Stock Exchange Hotel, it's better than my house. And at the standards, there are unbelievable politics.

Politics (01:07:15)

You've become quite political, specifically on Twitter, in terms of social issues and using your voice to shed lights on things that you feel like are going wrong in politics. What is the thinking there? Just something. I think it's... Look, the thinking is that I don't think it's not acceptable to be quiet anymore if you're in a position of influence and if you're seeing something that's wrong. It's like you're stancing the glazers. Yeah, I think it's got to the point whereby I was quiet when I played at the club and to be fair we were winning. So you think, well, okay, winning to be fair covers everything. And then when you leave, you think, well, I'm going to second, let's let them have time after Schallerks Ferguson, but it's got to the point now whereby I can't keep my mouth shut on it, it's wrong. It is just wrong. Same with Johnson, eventually his own party got to the same position that I was at and many others. It's wrong. We cannot have someone like that leading our country and pass it back to our country. Are you ever going to do politics? No, I won't do politics. And the reason I say that is that sometimes you have this idea in your head, don't you, that you think, could you go in? But the reality of it is it means that I wouldn't be able to be as honest as I am on television. I wouldn't be able to do the sky sports. I wouldn't be able to do the media. I wouldn't be able to do my projects in Manchester because I feel conflicted with different things. And I don't think I can have a greater influence in Greater Manchester and with my voice in the media, then I would do being an MP for Berry South. I genuinely believe that. I think I get caught up and stuck in the treacle and the mud like everybody else. That's what people say about politics, just going and you just get stuck. And I don't want to be stuck. I want to be able to try and influence things in the private sector away from public sector and we'll get called a champagne socialist for it and we'll get attacked heavily in the last 12 months by people from the right side of the country in terms of regularly every single day. We'll get attacked for being a champagne socialist when I talk about, say, from the Stock Exchange or I talk about the St Michael's development. And then they say, well, how can you be arguing against Boris Johnson? And how can you be arguing? How can you be in the Labour Party? Does he say, I do, that you can't be in the Labour Party and be entrepreneurial and be successful and earn money? The Labour Party have got to change that perception. They've got to change that perception. How is it that you cannot be someone who owns a business, makes profit, hands that profit back to its shareholders and to the teams that you work with, create a great environment for them to work, pay them well and that you believe everybody should have an equal opportunity? How can you not be Labour and have those principles? Because we've been basically conditioned to think that it's only the Tory party that is good for business and the Labour Party has created that. It's so true. It's one of the things that's really made me feel quite disenfranchised. I grew up in a Labour family that I mean, I've never voted Tory in my life. But in recent years, as I've become more successful in my career, I almost feel a little bit sometimes by some people, not everybody on the left, by some people on the left, that I'm inherently evil because of my success. I'm inherently a bad person because I'm an entrepreneur, a CEO. That pushes you out. It almost pushes you into this middle. I'm not going over to the right, and I want to belong somewhere. So you're completely right. I don't think that's talked about enough. I saw an interview on social yesterday, actually in the middle of the night football, and it was only a release yesterday. It was with Kia Starma, and the gentleman asking him, said, "What do you earn?" He said, "I owe 130,000 pounds a year." He was about to start a line of questioning around Kia's position on energy and the fact that you can afford the £3,000, £4,000 energy bills this year. I was offended by that line of questioning. The leader of the opposition in this country, politicians, in my opinion, should be the highest quality of business people and entrepreneurs to be able to deliver the plan that we all want. I think that we need to encourage people to go into politics. The idea that the leader of the opposition was being attacked because he was £140,000, because he's a Labour politician. It's almost like you're a Labour politician. You shouldn't take the MP salary. You should almost donate it as a charity and work for nothing. That's just ridiculous. The perception of Labour and what people think about Labour is that if you're in Labour party, you have to be on minimum wage, you have to be a socialist, you have to think like that. No, you can think in a capitalist way, but with some compassion and feel like you can be equal with other people and spread your wealth. Actually, you can want people to be able to afford their energy bills and you can fight for them, even if you're in a wealthy position. You're like, "Why can't I or you fight for people who can't afford their energy bills this winter?" Just because we have a bank account that's more than people would like it to be. I don't get that. I don't get that. I don't understand it. It's a weird thing. I don't get it. We have to change that perception. That's why I joined the Labour Party. I think that actually I can be successful. I'm a northern family that have done well. I've earned good money and continue to earn good money. My principle is where I am now, even though I'm an entrepreneurial individual who, to be fair, has profit-making companies, I can be a can-belabor. I can think with a social conscience. I don't think that's a problem. To me, that has to be the future of the Labour Party. Yes. You're the leader of it. I won't go to the sponsor again. Are you going to see the "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, this is enough. I like my life. I don't get criticized as it is. But no, I also have felt really disenfranchised by the left that I grew up feeling part of for that very reason. I would love, if anything, to see the next leader of the party really speak to that. That would make me feel energised again about politics.

Mental health (01:13:08)

You talked about being attacked. You've talked about this unbelievable relentless work ethic you have. When I say attacked, you get attacked every day on social media as you said, but because you've got a big voice, you have it, it's unavoidable. You've talked about this relentless work ethic you have, and you've talked about how you had that moment where you collapsed one day. Over the last 10 years, our understanding of mental health and male mental health has risen tremendously. When I was growing up to have a mental health issue meant that you were crazy, that's what I thought. That was the stigma. I think, far thankfully, from that perception, what has your experience been with understanding your own mental health over the last couple of decades? Have you ever had a moment where you've gone, "I need to put my mental health first now," because other than that collapsed moment where you've experienced anxiety or depression, all these kinds of ailments? Yeah, I think that obviously losing my confidence as a football player, being criticized, having to stop reading the newspapers of the day at the age of 24, didn't read the national newspaper. They read a tabloid newspaper from the age of 24 through to the end of my career because they were damaging. Damaging how? If you read something really critical of yourself in a national newspaper and the thought that then millions of people are also reading that, particularly when you're young and you're vulnerable, it impacts you and you lose confidence and it added lose confidence. Our lost form got criticized heavily by newspapers, would read the newspapers and it would have a direct impact on me. Physical impact, isn't it? No, no, a direct impact on me in terms of how I felt. It would drain me of confidence and then you'd almost then lose more confidence. About six months, this went on for. I also at the time had lost, I'd come out of a relationship with someone I've been engaged to and been with for seven years. I had two things going on at once. One side, I'd lost my form and I'd come out of a longer term relationship. At that point, I did feel really low. I didn't tell anybody as you would. You wouldn't do back in well what that would have been. 1990, 2000, 1999, 2000, 24, 25 years of age. Made two big mistakes against Vasco de Gama, played a poor tournament for England in Euro 2000 and it went on for six months. Went to see a psychiatrist and I got coping mechanisms. Things that basically he talked to me about, about how to put things into perspective. That dealt with my mental health issues at the time and it also helped me to deal with things that come forward now of critical nature. When you say you were feeling low, what were the symptoms of feeling low for those six months? Not wanting to play, not wanting to take the ball on the pitch and confident to take the ball and pass it, hide in a little bit, fearing games, coming forward, anxious about games, before thinking about my relationship breakup during matches, which is unthinkable for me. I remember playing a European game away. I think it was either in Andalect or somewhere like that and actually thinking in the middle of the pitch about my ex-girlfriend and thinking, I'm playing for Manchester United. This is not what's going on and it impacted me in thinking. But then that happens, I'm sure, to every single football player. So I knew that at that point then I needed to see somebody because I wasn't playing well. He subbed me against Real Madrid in the quarterfinal of the European Cup and had a nightmare, absolute nightmare. And I thought, I remember we won the league that year at Southampton away. I remember jumping up, there's a picture of me jumping up on the pitch with the rest of the players and me feeling empty and not even feeling like celebrating it. I always remember that and it was the worst league that we ever won for me. But for others it might have been a great league. For me I just hated that league, I didn't enjoy it at all. I feel like I just needed to stop and I felt like I was spinning around about and I couldn't get off it. I remember saying that to the psychiatrist at the time and then he started to put these little coping mechanisms in place. So if I get nervous before a game, think about what you're going to be doing later on that you're going to enjoy. If you have a really bad day, think about something simple. Ask yourself a simple question. Like I said before, did you always think you're going to have a good day every day? That's a good question. I love that question. Yeah. I thought I think I'm not some pretty bad days going forward. It's like self-compassion almost. Yeah, that's how I dealt with my dad. Did I think that there was a good chance in my life that my dad would die before me? Yeah, I was prepared for it and that's not right but that's how I dealt with it. Really simply, there was always going to come a point where my parents and grandparents were likely to die before me and I would have to deal with that. What we can never, ever comprehend is obviously losing someone that's younger than you in your family. We can't comprehend that. That's the unthinkable. That's the one thing if you said to me that sort of breaks me that I think I think would break me completely. But then on the other side, we know that my grandparents lived till they were in their 80s. My dad lived till he was 65. I thought I'd loved him to have lived another 10, 15 years of course but he didn't. But I was able to deal with it through the idea that he lived his life to the full. He didn't make those changes that I'm probably not making now. He carried on going out with my sister and her mates till 3, 4 in the morning having a drink, traveling to Australia, watching a play and living life, watching United every single weekend, doing the things that he loved. His life was taken away at the age of 65. I could almost explain that to myself and deal with it in a pragmatic way. Some people say, "Some people close to me say I've still not dealt with it five, six, seven years on because I've probably shown the proper emotion and grief that I should have done through it." But I feel like I have dealt with it. I feel like I have dealt with it just through being able to put those coping mechanisms in place. So I always feel we all need those simple coping mechanisms. For others, it might not be the same as me. One of the big things I think of me is definitely training. So I blew up at Skye one boxing day where I just run, I always got the sprint to Christmas where everyone tries to get everything before Christmas and then you just collapse when you stop boxing day one year. The only time I've ever missed a Skye game, Everton, V-Hull, Boxing Day, I was going to Hull, I woke up in the morning, I couldn't get out of bed and I just run myself into the ground. I'd stopped training, I was eating too much, I put weight on, you'll see in the first few years after Skye and I'd stopped doing the things that kept me well. So training now, if I don't train for a week, I feel terrible. Not just physically, I feel it up here. I've got one of those bodies because I've been a football player and no one I've put. I feel every chip. So I feel it here, I can pinch myself. We're all the same as football. We're that body fat student, you know, once a week. We're weighting ourselves every day because we know that's a big part of our performance. Hydration, nutrition, weight is a big part of our performance. And so I know it, I've lived it for 15, 20 years, but then I stopped doing that for the first five, six years out of football and then you blow up and then you feel awful. You look awful and you've got people on Twitter sending you, you know, Jesus, you're carrying a bit, you know what I mean? Stop eating the chips, choose the salad, all those things get sent to you, you know what I mean? And you look at yourself in the mirror and think, they're right, aren't they? And then you start to think, oh, I've got to change. So you eat a little bit better, you eat a lot better and then you train and training for here is it just frees me. I don't like it. I do it first thing in the morning, but once I finished it, I feel like I can go and I wasn't doing that. So that's the important part of my mental health strategy now. It's just to feel better by the one thing I need to deal with is alcohol because I like a glass of wine. You know, I drink one or two glasses of wine, but COVID, I drink one or two glasses of wine every night. And then now, even now, I'm just, oh, I'm at home tonight, sold for the plate on so I can't wait. It's one of the greatest moments in my life now. Tonight, you will get nothing out of me between 7.45 and 10 o'clock. Sold for the plane away at Newport. I'm not going, but I'm going to put the feed on on my telly, but I love a glass of wine. And it's a magical moment. I don't need it. So I've got to stop doing that. We'll find out. We'll have to ask it enough. Tonight, that's where we live. We live a pool of flame here, yeah. 2015, your dad passes away.

Your dad (01:21:29)

When I was reading that in your story upstairs and the age he passed away, it struck a little bit close to home because I feel like in my life, my dad has had a tremendous influence on me. And I feel like my relationship is not as close as it could be with him. And he has outlived all of his siblings, but in my view, had a much more stressful life. And he's 65. And I guess the question I had for you is like, what advice would you give for me? And is there anything that you wish you had said or done whilst you all behave differently whilst that person was here that you now know in hindsight? Is the only, I don't ring people. I don't speak. I don't ring my brother every day. I don't text my sister every day. I don't ring them every day. I round my dad every day, three, four times a day. The only constant in my life every single day, my dad. Advice, looking after things, what you're up to, he loved picking the kids up. So I put his office next to our house as well so that, you know, because basically he looked after my stuff as well. So for me, it was the constant in my life every single day and that constant's gone now. And they always say this, I've still got him at the top of my favourites. It must be dials and never move him. And it freaks me out sometimes, you know, when you clunky with your fingers and you press the button, just by mistake, because my mum's underneath him and you're watering my own minute. And sometimes the odd time, once a year maybe, or whatever, you press, you know, dad mob. And it freaks me out a little bit because I think, and it makes me get well up a little bit because I think I used to ring him every single day, three, four times a day. It's went overnight. I couldn't ring him anymore. So that's the constant has gone. So in terms of advice, I was, I don't know your relationship with my dad's relationship with me was so influential. But it would be to, I say that I think this sometimes with my mum, what excuse have I got not to ring my mum every single day? I've got no excuse not to ring my mum every single day for two or three minutes and ask how she is, but I don't. My brother does, my sister does. But I don't have that relationship with my mum. I had it with my dad. I had it with my dad. So for me, just speaking to him every single day, I wish you couldn't tell my dad to stop going out with my sister and the mates, to stop going out with his mates, stop going to the football, stop traveling away to what she knighted in Europe, all those things that may have taken years off his life. Because people say to me, do you miss your dad? I say, I do. But what I miss most is what he's missing with my children and my brother's children and my sister's little boy. That gets to me because I know how good he was with them. I know, I saw it for six, seven years. It was unbelievable. He had dawed them and he was starting to slow down because of them. He was starting to make, he used to stay at home to look at them rather than going out. But he'd gone out for 15 years and he'd had a brilliant life, did everything. He did absolutely all those sort of things that you read out at the beginning of the 217 caps and the tournaments from her sister. He was at every single one of them. He was at every single one of them. He didn't miss a Manchester United game. I walked out on to the pitch, six hundred and two times from Manchester United. And I waved at my dad, six hundred and two times there in that spot every single time or in the way I ended up to try and find him. But that was easy because he was six foot two and he had a massive big wire. I had a hair and I waved at him every single game. And if I didn't wave to my dad, I could tell I found my dad. Some day I'd game in your way and you're a new castle away. Do you see that way? You stood sat up in that top. But you're like, you're looking for ages and I couldn't settle until I found him. I couldn't settle. That was one of the things, like a superstition, whether it's a routine. But to miss that from my life, I missed that idea of he was just there and then I feel comfortable. He's there. Right, I'm OK. Dad, anything happened? No, no, everything's good. OK, bye. I had to vote to him and he's there. It's that. That's so maybe speak to your dad, maybe ringing every morning, maybe making me first text. People say you've not grieved at that. Some people close to me do. Because they were expecting them. Maybe I'm a maybe my sister. I don't know what Phil thinks about it. I don't know. Because I just carried on. Maybe we all carried on. Maybe we all carried on. On the day that obviously died, it was only a couple of weeks ago, the anniversary of it, always text, "Mom, I miss him so much, Mom." I feel that's the one time where I feel like I connect with my mom and I don't feel like I can even talk to my mom on it. Because I know sometimes that when you've got parents that you're so close to and then they've been together, what you then find is my mom's been unbelievable since my dad passed away. She's absolutely unbelievable, my mom. But there are times when we're out for a meal together, or I can see it and she'll just disappear and she'll stare into the distance. I know where she is. But I never say I know where you are, Mom. I know what you're thinking about. I don't feel like I ever should say that. Because it's my mom's space, it's my mom's thought. It's how we deal with it. It's how we deal with it at home. We just know. Because if I said to her, "You're right, Mom." But sometimes maybe the other time I said, "You're all right. You're fine. You never get anything out of her." That's not what we don't bring our problems on to each other. You don't bring your problems on to each other in our family. That's how we do it. But that's not right. We should talk to each other. We should encourage each other. But it's just the way we've dealt with things. We're in our businesses now in a way. We try all the time to encourage people to speak, to make sure that they reach out. But it's not how we probably act internally. There's almost a bit of... I'm guessing from what you've described and has a lot of that might have come from your father. Or was he an expressive emotion? He had a motion to be fair. I think my mom's probably less emotional than my dad. Really? Yeah, I think my mom would be. That's quite emotional. But again, he probably did. Yeah, he wouldn't push his stuff on to others, I don't think. But he didn't do, did you? You don't do. I say the 70s and 80s period. He don't push his stuff on to others because the parents of my mom and dad grew up coming out of the World War. So everything in perspective is that you've got a problem. You've got a problem. We have problems back then. So don't you winge about this. But we now in this generation now, I think have to adapt and change. Because there's a consequence to not speaking about these things. There is. They stay stored in the back rooms. There is. And they come out as alcoholism or add addictions. Yeah, they do. And we've all seen that in people around us and it shocks and surprises. I've got a couple of friends who've had issues in the last four or five years that I would never have imagined. We never have even thought. And you think, have I not spotted that? Have I not seen that? How have we not opened up to each other about that? It happens. It happens in all walks of our life. In all walks of our life. So we have to encourage it. Hopefully that's what we're doing here. Yeah. I hope so. When you look forward at your future, you plan in 10 year cycles.

The next 10 years (01:29:12)

So the obvious question is, what is the next 10 years about for you? Because I don't feel like I believe that you're doing what you're doing because there is some finish line in sight. No, that's funny. It was like we set up a university. I remember the Vice Chancellor of Lancaster said, you do realize you're entering into something with no exit. Yeah. I like the idea of that. No exit. Can't sell UA 92. How can we? We are UA 92. Can't sell your own university. In my opinion, that to me is perfection. There is no finish. I think should go on forever that you've created. So we don't think short term. I don't think short term. I never think short term. But let's say I came out of football thinking the next 15 years were critical to establish myself in business and to try and remove that tag of Gary Neville, Expanded United Football Player. That was my target. That was my plan. So whether that be media, whether that be in business, whether that might mean. So I'm three years away from that. I do feel like there are bumps in the road. There are always hours with businesses. But I feel like I'm on track. I need to continue to keep working hard and focused. But I wanted from 50 to 60 to be laser focused and try and work on one particular thing. That would be a result of my previous 30 years in work. The football experience, the business experience, the media experience and bring it together into something that I can go and do that's special. I want to do something special in my life. Special to me, not necessarily special in sort of a great sense, but special to me. I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. My girlfriend came upstairs yesterday when I was having a shower. And she said to me that she tried the heel protein shake, which lives on my fridge over there. And she said it's amazing. Low calories, you get your 20 odd grams of protein, you get your 26 vitamins and minerals, and it's nutritionally complete. In the protein space, there's lots of things. But it's hard to find something that is nice, especially when consumed just with water. And that is nutritionally complete. And that has about 100 calories in total, while also giving you your 20 grams of protein. The salted caramel one, if you put some ice cubes in it and you put it in a blender and you try it, is as good as pretty much any milkshake on the market, just mixed with water. It's been a game changer for me. I wanted to ask you a question that I've asked pretty much, I think the last 10 guests as well, which is if you were to view your own personal happiness and fulfillment as a recipe of ingredients, and these ingredients come in different quantities, but together they make you happy.

If happiness was a recipe (01:31:36)

When you look at that list of ingredients, what do you think is missing from that recipe for you to be completely happy? Yeah, good question. A difficult question. It must be good with eye count, so it's shut me up, aren't it? Well, this isn't the question, but I've asked the last 10 guests that exact question, which is if you view your happiness as this list of ingredients and its recipe. Do I ever start, that's the problem I run into, but I interview him in Tyson Fury, and he says, "What the success look like for you or what does the future look like?" He said, "Just to be happy." I thought, "How simple is that?" I never think like that. Because it's a goals or anything. Yeah, even with football, I never enjoyed it while I was doing it. Yeah, it's crazy that. Because I just felt so intense, so I don't feel like I'm ever assessing what makes me happy or what... Why I'm doing what... I feel like I'm just... You just doing it? You're dragged. Yeah. Yeah, there is an element of that. What makes me happy, watching Solford and winning makes me happy, spending time with my children when they're in their good space makes me really happy. What would make you more happy, that's what I'm getting at, is if what ingredient is potentially missing out of balance in that recipe? I know others would say to be present more. What would you say? To be on the mountain in a ski lodge isolated away from everything. It's weird, isn't it? Why? I don't know. I feel free on top of a matter of the found skiing after football. Feels really basic what I've just said when you're trying to ask me something really deep. No, but there's something profound, didn't that? That solitude and space. Yeah, solitude and isolation and not... You'll put that helmet on, the mask on. I'm up on that mountain and I'm free, but the air's fresh and I feel like, wow. Free from what? From this. I've been to talk all the time. I think I'm too quite... No, no, no, no. I'm joking. I think I'm a little bit tired of hearing my own voice. I think the next thing that I do at the age of 50 has to be something that means that Gary Neville doesn't speak as much. I don't believe you. I don't think that.


The last guest question (01:34:07)

So the closing question that's been written for you from my previous guest is, what are some words you've not said to somebody? Why haven't you said them and who should you have said them to? I think it would be to my mum that her and her mum and dad, of all the people I always talk about having the influence on my life. So Alex Ferguson, I mention all the time. I mention my dad a lot. I mention Eric Harrison a lot, Nobby Styles, Roy Keene, all the influencers I have. I never mention my mum and without a shadow of a doubt, she's the best person that I've ever met in my life and her mum and dad were the best people I've ever met in my life. That's making me a little bit upset. And they were the people who I think keep me grounded every single day because they're just good people who do the right things, who look after the family, who put the family before everything and I don't do that. Why does that make you upset? Because they put the family before everything and would drop anything for anybody in the family, their immediate family. I don't and to fit Emma is similar. Emma is similar. They're far better people than I am. I feel that, you know what I mean? I never tell them because they, that traditional, you know, they do their job, they get up, they look after the family, the responsibilities to the family. Because, you know, I'm floating around. So yeah, it would be that I think for them to know that I don't take it for granted. I understand the importance of that in my life and in our lives. The most I've ever grieved in my life was when my mum's dad died. It was the first person that I'd ever died. I was lucky to have my grandparents, I was 30. And my mum's dad died and I came home two days after my honeymoon. Started. He died two days into my honeymoon and I came straight home and it even break. I just got on a plane from the Seychelles because I had to because he deserved that. He deserved that sacrifice for me to give up the honeymoon and Emma was fine with it because he had such an incredible influence on my life. The day of Paul's time for me took me everywhere, cooked for me, was there three, four nights a week. I didn't need to do that. So those three people and there are others obviously, but I think those three people and you know, Emma is very similar. Gary, thank you so much. Thank you. I've watched you for my entire life on TV as a huge United fan growing up. And then obviously even to this day on the overlap and what you do across broadcast television. And I think it's amazing. And after this conversation, I figured out why you've managed to sort of grace so many different industries and reach the top in all of those endeavors. And it's because of that, the set of values that were instilled in you and that you clearly exude today. Your relentlessness, your focus on hard work and all of these kind of old school values, which I think are a little bit lost in our generation. Thank you for the inspiration. Thank you. And I think it's so tremendously and your vulnerability and your willingness to be open in that regard, I think is going to create a better future in many respects from the young men that are driving towards their ambitions, young women, but also as it relates to politics and what's going on in our society. So you're an important person and it's unbelievable that a Manchester United, a Manchester United right back has gone on to do all of these things. But it's a huge inspiration for me and many people that are listening, I'm sure. Thank you. Huge, huge on a thing. I have to say that. No wants to grow up to be Gary Neville. Quick one. We have a brand new sponsor on this podcast, which I'm very excited to tell you about. They're a brand called BlueJeans by Verizon and they are a video conferencing and collaboration tool that has changed the game for our team. So I'm so glad to be working with them because as you know, one of the most important things for me is when we have a sponsor, it is part of my world. It is part of my life. It's part of my companies as someone who's on calls pretty much 80% of the day building my businesses and speaking to my teams all over the world. It's the guaranteed security that differentiates BlueJeans from all of the other options that are out there in terms of video conferencing. Their enterprise grade security means you can protect your organization from malicious attacks and establish real trust with everyone that joins your meeting. And that is something. There are so many things that make sense and make BlueJeans a better option than the sort of competitors out there. And I'll be talking about all of those aspects, those features and the reasons why I use BlueJeans in the coming episodes. If you want to check it out, you can head to to learn more.

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