In what should be a celebration of a marvellous footballing career, the Manchester United club Captain Gary Neville, who picked up an astounding 602 caps for the Red Devils, has decided he can go on no more.
Whilst the England international had played little part on the field this season, his work and ethos in the background at Carrington and Old Trafford will certainly have filtered through all of his team mates.
At 35 years of age, it was becoming almost a daily discussion as to when Gary Neville would call it a day and retire, his pace against some the youngsters in top class football was showing, and although his decision will not have been taken likely, it is undoubtedly the best for him and the club at this time.
“Obviously I am disappointed that my playing days are at an end, however it comes to us all, and it’s knowing when that time is and for me that time is now.”
“I have played in the most incredible football teams, playing with some of the best players in the world as well as against them and I have been lucky to be a part of the team’s achievements and the club’s great success.”
“There are so many people I want to thank and of course top of that list is Sir Alex Ferguson. He has given me so many opportunities and countless support over the last twenty years, he is truly one of the greatest managers and I have to thank him for that.”
“There have also been so many great players that I have had the privilege to train and play along side. The experiences we’ve shared will be with me for the rest of my life.”
“Also all the coaches I have played under from youth level right through to now, who have guided me through my playing days. And finally, the fans, who have always shown me unbelievable support, they know how special they are to me and this club.
“I am looking forward to new experiences and the club will always be a part of my life going forward however the most important thing now is for the club to continue with the success that is synonymous with Manchester United and I will be supporting them all the way, as a fan.”
As with most Manchester United players that continue to remain loyal to the cause, there will be work at Old Trafford for him, perhaps even taking over the role left vacant when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved back to Norway to take the reigns at Molde.
With the transfer window just passed, the amount of players leaving for huge amounts of money just shows that each and every team need a player in the mold of Gary Neville. A loyal, hungry for success role model that is looked up to by players around him.
Gary Neville was there when Arsenal and United were changing titles every season, Gary Neville was there when United claimed that Champions League crown in 1999 and 2008, Gary Neville was there when Chelsea’s millions began to threaten United’s crowns, he was always there, and players who think about leaving a club for another should take one long look at Neville’s list of achievements.
Anyone contesting his loyalty should look at the video of Peter Schmeichel, then of Manchester City trying to shake hands with the United Captain.