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Valencia Have Confirmed Phil Neville's Future, And It's Exceptionally Harsh

Valencia Have Confirmed Phil Neville's Future, And It's Exceptionally Harsh
By Gavin Cooney Updated

There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity, and Gary Neville tip-toed across it on his way to the dug-out at dysfunction's Valencia. Should Neville be commended for leaving the comfort of the analyst's chair at Sky Sports' hype-hewn towers, or was he just ineffably stupid to agree to have his inexperience mistaken for incompetence on an international stage? Vast numbers of internet columnists and journalists have engaged with that debate over Gary's decision this week, so there is little point in us addressing it further.

But amid the voluminous column inches dedicated to Gary, the future of brother Phil has been lost. More people have worried about the future of Monday Night Football than what Valencia will do with poor old Phil. The club have now confirmed the younger brother's future: they are not sacking him, but instead appear set to freeze him out.

The Daily Mail are reporting that Phil has been relegated from matchday duties although he will be given some part to play in training. It seems rather harsh for new head coach Pako Ayesteran and the club to continue to string Phil along like this, but the younger Neville is not going to give into the club's caprices.

Instead, he firmly believes that he has a future with the club, with the Mail saying that he has "no intention of walking away". An admirable stance, but one feels he is doomed. Most football coaches are going to be fired one day - and to paraphrase Joseph Heller - whomever is fired is a victim of circumstance, and Phil heroically intends to be a victim of anything but circumstance.

We hope that he succeeds, but sadly he is increasingly cutting a figure similar to that of political advisor Glen Cullen in The Thick Of It: desperately isolated owing to his connection with a previous regime, and now screaming silently into the void of a new institutional moral abattoir.

Good luck Phil, but we fully expect you to be back on Match of the Day sofa next season, before taking up a job as David Moyes' assistant wherever he turns up next, as the grim and relentless revolving doors of football employment keep on spinning.

[Daily Mail]


See Also: Why I'm Refusing To Jump On The Leicester City Bandwagon

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