Oh how the mighty have fallen.
When he headed off to Spain, Gary Neville was the golden boy of English football. He was applauded for taking a step into the unknown. It was a no-lose job apparently. Worse case scenario? He'd head off for a couple of months, Valencia would more than likely continue to tread water and he'd return to either take the England job after Euro 2016 failure or he'd slot right back in at Sky awaiting his next managerial offer.
Neville's targeting by mendacious trolls was discussed on today's edition of our daily sports podcast The Racket:
As it turns out, worst case scenario is not quite as rosy. Eight La Liga games into his reign and Valencia are yet to pick up a win. Last weekend's 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Sporting Gijon was a new low and all of a sudden the Mestalla faithful are beginning to look over their shoulders as the relegation zone becomes more and more into focus.
The Copa del Rey could, conceivably, have offered some respite but it wasn't to be. Wednesday's humiliation at the hands of Barcelona brought to the fore just how big a task Neville is confronted with. The reality of the situation is that the mighty haven't fallen at all.
The intelligent football man has jumped into the deep end and it has been as difficult as you might expect. He doesn't speak the language and the, for all his knowledge of the game, La Liga has caught him cold. But that doesn't matter. In the landscape that Neville's reputation was built, things can change very quickly.
Social media giveth and social media taketh away.
On Tuesday it was Ryan Giggs to Celtic. At least a bit of a long play went in to that one. This was just words typed beside a picture from someone entirely anonymous and just like that the character assassination went in to overdrive.
If anyone hasn't seen that at this stage then bravo, you're life is based away from social media and you're probably better for it. For the rest of us, it was impossible to ignore. It was shared to millions upon millions of people. And they really ate it up.
It's bullshit of course. GeorgeWeahsCousin says so.
I'd say there's a very good possibility of me getting sued tomorrow.
— GeorgeWeahsCousin (@WeahsCousin) February 3, 2016
Nonetheless, Neville's transformation from football guru to laughable failure is complete. For his part, Neville faced down the press last night and stated time and time again that he won't resign. It's no less than you'd expect from him. Although he then said "Alex Ferguson was always a crap manager and I've actually been a Liverpool supporter my entire life", so make of that what you will.