Sky Sports pundit and ex-Manchester United player Gary Neville has called the debacle that occurred over the venue for Liam Miller’s testimonial as “absolute nonsense.”
Speaking at the Cadbury’s Official Premier League launch, Neville outlined that he had not even been aware of the controversy that surrounded the GAA initially not allowing the testimonial to take place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, until today and referred to the fact that it was even an issue as “nonsense.”
“Until someone asked me outside I had no idea,” began Neville.
“Until about two hours ago I had no idea about the fiasco. I don’t know about the politics of the fiasco I’m in a different City and a different country but my opinions on it are that the idea that a game for a tribute for Liam Miller, for people to be even debating about where the game is going to be played is absolute nonsense.”
Neville spoke passionately on the subject, outlining that “the essence of the game” was the most important thing.
“The reality of it is how people can even think that it should be debated and that a negative story should be created around it is ridiculous. Who cares? If the game is played in this room, if the game is played on the beach, if the game is played on a boat at sea, if it’s played in a football stadium or a rugby stadium or a cricket stadium or in the street or in a bar, who cares? It’s the essence of the game that’s the most important thing.”
The ex-Manchester United man played with Miller during the Cork man’s two years at Old Trafford and explained that he and Ryan Giggs had been asked to participate in the game by Roy Keane, with whom the two were doing punditry during the World Cup.
Neville was also full of praise for Miller, saying that he would do his very best to make the game and the occasion a great day out in memory of the ex Celtic and Manchester United midfielder.
“Me and Ryan (Giggs) were over at the World Cup and we were asked by Roy would we play in the game and we didn’t take a moments thought about it. It’s absolutely terrible what’s happened to Liam. I can’t imagine the pain and devastation that his family are feeling.
“Liam was a good man, a good player and for us it’s absolutely so important that we go over and do the very best that we can, to be asked by Roy was an honour as well because we hold him in the highest regard so we said yes straight away, we were desperate to come over, I’m not sure if we’re very good at playing any more but we’ll do our best and we’ll make sure we give our absolute best and make it as good and as attractive a fixture and day out as possible and do Liam justice.”
The lineups for the testimonial between Manchester United legends and Republic of Ireland/Celtic legends were announced today, with both sides sporting a wealth of quality with the likes of Paul Scholes, Robbie Keane and of course Neville himself featuring.
“When I saw the lineups that Roy has put together it’s probably the best collection of ex-Manchester United players that I’ve ever seen come for one of these matches,” said Neville.
“Sometimes in these ambassadorial type games you don’t see everybody turn up but it goes to show I think the respect that everyone has for Roy as well as the respect everyone has for Liam and the understanding of how important the situation is that the players that played with him make sure that we do the right thing and do a good job and do him justice because it’s a real tragedy.”
The ex- England international finished by joking that he’s doing all he can to improve his fitness ahead of the game but that he may require “an oxygen tank” 20 minutes in.
“The pitch (for the testimonial) is the least of my problems. I can just blame the pitch on my touch. No that’s the least of my worries it’ll be the oxygen tank that I require after about 20 minutes. I’m actually working as hard as I can to get fit for it but no I’m not worried about the pitch I’m more worried about how to navigate the 90 minutes.”
Gary Neville was speaking to promote Cadbury as the official snack partner of the Premier League.