and characteristics of a great leader of men. He entered every game refusing to contemplate defeat, and the fans loved him for it. However, Neville's heart-on-his-sleeve approach didn't endear him to everyone - his badge-clenching, fist-pumping celebration following Rio Ferdinand’s last-minute winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford in January 2006 saw him charged with improper conduct by the FA and fined £5000.
“Are you meant to smile sweetly and jog back to the halfway line?” he protested at the time. "People want footballers to be whiter than white. Do they want a game of robots?" And that about sums up Neville's passion for the game
and, more importantly, United.
There was no such censure for Gary’s next high-profile celebration - at the 2006 Carling Cup final, when he lifted his first trophy as captain and collected the one domestic medal that had previously eluded him in his career. The Reds had not won the competition since April 1992, when Gary was in the famous youth team that also spawned David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Ever since, Neville's character and determination have never altered. "His performance level and drive have never changed," says Sir Alex. "It's more obvious in Gary because he never had the