Gary Neville is in Dublin to promote Cadbury as the Premier League's official snack partner, hours after being confirmed as one of the myriad United legends taking part in the tribute match to Liam Miller in September.
Listen to the interview in full:
The game will go ahead in Páric Ui Chaoimh, after a lengthy wrangle with the GAA to proved a venue bigger than Turner's Cross. Neville gave a table of journalists the far-from-straightforward task of explaining the GAA rules in relation to the stand-off before giving his opinion on the fiasco.
I had no idea about it until somebody asked me about it on the pavement about two hours ago. I don’t know about the politics, as I'm in a different country and in a different city. What I would say looking on from afar, the idea that a game in tribute to Liam Miller.... for people to be even debating where the game is being played is an absolute nonsense.
People debating it and creating a negative story around it...who cares where the game is played? If it’s played in this room, on the beach, in a cricket, rugby, football stadium or in a bar? Or on the pavement outside? Who cares?
The essence of the game is the most important thing.
These associations of national sports, they are a disaster all over the world. Not just in Ireland.
The idea that they can only meet once a year [when told about the GAA requiring a special sitting of Congress to approve the staging of the game], that there is politics, it's nonsense. We have that in England with the FA...it’s a nonsense. The whole thing is a nonsense.
I didn’t know the issue before you explained it to me, but the reality is that door should be open to anything that supports this fixture.
Neville and Ryan Giggs were asked to take part in the game by Roy Keane while the trio were working with ITV at the World Cup. Neville said it was an honour to be asked by Keane given the respect with which he holds his former captain, and described the United squad that have come together as the best legends squad he has seen.
I was over at the World Cup and Roy asked Ryan and I would we play. It didn’t take a moment’s thought: it’s absolutely terrible what has happened to Liam and his family. I can’t imagine the sort of pain and devastation that his family have suffered. He was a good man, and a good player. For us it is important that we support this game and do the best we can.
To be asked by Roy was an honour too as we hold him in the highest regard. I’ve obviously the greatest respect for him, so I said yes straight away. We were desperate to come over. I’m not sure we are very good at playing anymore, that’s the problem we’ve got. So don’t expect too much from us, but we will do our very best and give our all to make it as attractive a fixture and a day out as is possible, to do Liam justice.
I’m sure it will be a really good occasion. When I saw the list of players this morning that Roy has put together, it’s probably the best collection of ex-United players to come together for one of these matches.
You don’t normally see everyone come together, so it goes to show the respect everyone has for Roy and the respect and understanding of the importance of the occasion and doing Liam justice. It’s a real tragedy.
Keane joked this morning that some of his former teammates might struggle with the sheer size of Páirc Ui Chaoimh, and Neville joked that his biggest issue may be the size, rather than the surface of the pitch.
The pitch is the least of my problems! I can blame the pitch for my touch! No, that's the least of my problems. It’s the oxygen tank I’ll need after 20 minutes. I’m actually working as hard as I can to get fit, but I’m worried about how to navigate through a full 90 minutes. To be fair I’m not even worried about that.
Sometimes, you go to these occasions, and you want to do the occasions justice. Put on a good show and do the occasion proud.
As proof of the above: during the interview, Neville pulled a box of Cadbury Heroes toward him...before shoving them away in anguish.
More details on the Liam Miller Tribute match can be found here.
Gary Neville was speaking to promote Cadbury as the official snack partner of the Premier League.