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TV Review: 8 Things We Learned From Sky's 'Gary Neville: The Pundit' Documentary

TV Review: 8 Things We Learned From Sky's 'Gary Neville: The Pundit' Documentary
By Gavin Cooney

We saw the best and worst of Sky Sports yesterday. The afternoon was spent in the suffocating constancy of their marketing genius: Merseyside v Manchester the latest in Sky's efforts to transfer a football match into a television event on their channel. It is a work of exasperating effectiveness: fans are still bemoaning Red Monday, rather than Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United. Hell, they even renamed Upton Park at the end of last season.

Merseyside v Manchester is, of course, a nonsensical construct: you won't find many Man United fans bemoaning City's failure to defend their city's honour against a side both will finish ahead of. But after the

But after the show came the Lord Mayor. Sky broadcast a 30-minute documentary entitled Gary Neville: The Pundit, a behind-the-scenes look at a weekend in the life of Neville the Pundit. It was filmed over a Sunday and Monday in December, encompassing his Sunday Supplement appearance ahead of the Super Sunday (now you're doing it too - Ed) featuring Man City/Arsenal and the Monday Night Football broadcasting the Merseyside Derby.

Here are eight things we learned.

1) Neville remains motivated by fear 

Footballers will often talk about fear being their main motivator, and Neville has brought this to his punditry, saying that his pre-broadcast thoughts are dominated by avoiding what can go wrong. He was also interesting on what a players' attitude to the press should be, saying that they should prepare for it like a match, on the basis that a hell of a lot can go wrong in front of the press pack. He cites the example of his briefing after Valencia's 7-0 shellacking against Barcelona.

The aftershocks of that result are pithily summarised: 'The best result is that I come out of there and they don't think I've cracked up'.


2) Henry Winter is terrifying up close

Bloody hell, zoom out!

3) Jamie Carragher drinks train cans 

Among the more noble acts of our age is the skulling of pints on a train. Take a bow, Jamie Carragher.


4) Geoff Shreeves sings 

When not delivering devastating news in post-match interviews, Geoff Shreeves is singing off camera. And he's not half bad.


5) Carragher's Monday Night Football debut wasn't fully promising...

Carragher's addition to the show has made it infinitely better, but it wasn't always looking so good. Carragher revealed that, travelling back to Liverpool on the train after his first live show, reviews weren't exactly glowing.

Carragher: I remember going home and reading the papers. There was a big thing - beause our show, it's a well renowned show and it's a brilliant show to be on - but somebody did a big piece saying that the show couldn't go on with me, because of how fast he speaks.

Neville: Did they?

Carragher: Yeah.

Neville: I could have stitched him right up when he first joined, but I didn't, I looked after him. I could have, couldn't I? I could have made it more difficult for him.

Carragher: Yeah, he was good, to be fair.

6)...but the turning point rested on one of Carragher's more memorable lines

The pair's b****ring can get a little overbearing, particularly when it spills onto twitter, but both Neville and Carragher believe that the turning point for the show was the infamous Carragher line: 'nobody grows up wanting to be Gary Neville'.

7) Pretty much everything Neville and Carragher do is defined by the United/Liverpool rivalry

Neville and Carragher arrive at Sky's office at around 9am for the Monday Night Football broadcast at 7pm that evening, so break the day up with a gym session. This put Carragher in the novel position of being able to legitimately claim he outpaced an opponent, and allowed Neville to posit his claim that the Sky offices are corrupted by Liverpool fans.


8) Carragher pretty much lost his shit during the Merseyside Derby 

The cameras also showed the pretty sweet viewing experience Neville and Carragher have on Monday Night Football: a giant screen, with lots of room to jump around. Carragher did lots of that during the derby, while also retaining a relatively decent level of professional detachment to queue a few clips to be shown at half-time and full-time.

Carragher may have emerged the star in that documentary about Neville, something he will presumably be delighted about. Hell, perhaps he commissioned it.

See Also: Things Got Very Tetchy Between Souness And Carragher On Sky Yesterday


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