'I said' - Former Manchester United star reveals Newcastle United approach

Newcastle United asked to speak with the Manchester United legend.
St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed he turned down the opportunity to speak with Newcastle United over the managerial position.

The 49-year-old joined Sky Sports as a pundit in 2011 after bringing an end to a successful playing career that saw him make 602 appearances for the Red Devils, winning 12 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.

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Within his opening three years at Sky, Neville revealed he was approached by three English clubs, including Newcastle, before deciding to take the jump into management with Valencia.

He told Stick to Football: “I took the Valencia job purely because I knew the owner and I felt like I owed him something and I was loyal to him, he believed in me in terms of the business. I’ve been asked by Middlesbrough for an interview, Newcastle and Derby asked to speak to me, all in the previous three years I had been on Sky, and I said no to every offer because it wasn’t what I wanted to be. 

“I had started my businesses and my media career, so I didn’t want to be a coach and I had said no to Newcastle, which came from someone at Sky who had a contact at Newcastle as they wanted to speak to me, which was the same with Middlesbrough, and I’m not saying that would have got me the job but it could have. 

“When I first came out of football, in those first two years on television, I knew every player, I knew football inside and out and I felt like I could communicate the game well, which is different now 10 years later as I’ve distanced myself from the game, but I didn’t want to be a manager and I didn’t want to be a coach, and I said no to Peter Lim [Valencia CF owner] the first time, but he said that he really wanted me to do it. I signed on a five-month contract, and I didn’t last that time because it became impossible for Peter, for me and for everyone.” 

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Neville endured an ill-fated three month spell at Valencia. He won just three his 16 league games in charge, and suffered a humiliating 7-0 Copa del Rey defeat at Barcelona. He was sacked with the club 14th in La Liga, just six points above the relegation zone.

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