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What We Can All Learn From Gary Neville's Valencia Experience

What We Can All Learn From Gary Neville's Valencia Experience
By Mark Farrelly Updated

The last two weeks have exposed Twitter, once again, as the dreadful beast which feeds on the excitement and fervor of seeing another human being struggle.

Sure, we can dismiss some of the apparent glee at Gary Neville's misfortunes as nothing more than that dreadful word, which I can't bring myself to type (it begins with B and rhymes with canter) but in truth, it says more about our view of 'failure' than it does about Neville's credentials as a leader in the world of football.

There has been the obviously ridiculous reaction, put forward by cowardly sneers who see success as the number of retweets their 'Who's a better manager - Gary Neville or this turnip?' poll can get. However the negativity has not been merely confined to those who wish to poke fun.

Even the most reasoned and well-intentioned of analysts are criticising him for taking the job in the first place. They contest that he has now seriously damaged his reputation as a coach and that he can't realistically be seen as a candidate to replace Roy Hodgson. Not only that but he has lost considerable standing as an analyst. After all, if he went back to Sky, how could he give advice on how to stop Barcelona with any credibility?

Surely however, it should be the opposite?

Provided he learns from his time with Valencia, then he will ultimately be a far better manager than if he had stayed in Sky Sports, playing drag-and-drop on their tactics screen for another six months. And if  indeed he was to go back to Sky then wouldn't he be more thoroughly informed when giving his opinion on the likes of Barcelona, given that he has actual real-life experience?

Henry Ford - someone who was not shy about embracing the unknown - perfectly put it when he said 'One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.'


Too often we seek to tear down those who put their head above the pulpit when we lack the courage to embrace a challenge which may expose our own weaknesses. Courage is not sitting at home making Twitter polls about turnips, it's asking yourself 'What could I achieve if I had the balls to put my own ego to the test?' and then acting upon it.

That's what Neville has done. While it looks as though his time in Valencia will end in 'failure', if it makes him a better manager, if he learns from it and shows resilience to get up off the canvass, then in the long run it will be a great success.

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