Treble Icons: Gary Neville
Gary Neville was a model of consistency for Manchester United during the 1998/99 season, and no outfield player started more games than he did that year. The lifetime Red has agreed to make one more appearance, too, in our Treble Reunion match at Old Trafford.
Tickets for the epic showdown on 26 May are still available to buy, with all proceeds going to the Manchester United Foundation.
LET'S HEAR FROM THE MAN HIMSELF
“The work the Foundation does is incredible and the proceeds from of the game will impact a lot of people. Every penny counts,” says Gary.
“It will be an amazing opportunity to raise a significant amount of money and also give everybody an amazing day out at Old Trafford at the end of the season. It’ll be great to see everybody. I’m just wondering whether Ole will actually be a sub or whether he’ll play. We all love Ole to bits. He’s just a brilliant person.”
The Treble campaign was Gary’s fifth season as a fully-fledged first-team player, and over that time the England international had earned a reputation as one of the most reliable defenders in Europe.
Comfortable playing as a combative full-back and in the heart of defence, few players in ’98/99 were asked to carry out so many different on-field roles.
In total, Neville made 54 appearances - all of them starts - and following the FA Cup win against Liverpool in late January, the full-back did not miss a single minute of our famous run in.
During the tight, nervy matches that season, Gary’s will to win and passion proved infections. A born leader, the defender was inspirational and his impeccably high standards of professionalism and concentration did not drop for an instance.
GARY’S OUTSTANDING MOMENT
While he is renowned today for his superb displays at right-back, Gary actually put in one of his best performances as an auxiliary centre-back. He ensured Michael Owen didn’t get a sniff during September’s 2-0 win over Liverpool, earning sterling praise from Sir Alex Ferguson after the match.
“His reading of situations and organisational ability were excellent, and his determination to win the match was superb,” explained the boss.
Neville also impressed at the other end of the pitch in attack - he bagged a rare goal in 1999, when he netted United’s second in a 3-1 win over Everton.
But when the stakes were at their highest, Gary’s unshakable mindset shone through and this inspired what was surely his outstanding moment: registering that left-footed assist for Andy Cole in the final Premier League game of the season, which helped to win the title and claim part one of the Treble. Pure magic.
Neville's assist that won us the titleVideo
Sir Alex Ferguson…
“If you trust the players behind you in defence then you can get forward and attack. Gary offers that consistency every week.”
“Not only is Gary a great person, he is one of the best defenders ever to have played the game. It was an honour to play with him at United and for England.”
Phil, Gary & Nicky can't wait for Treble ReunionVideo
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE NOU CAMP?
Gary’s playing days at Old Trafford were far from done. He spent another 12 seasons as a United player before retiring in 2011.
During that time Neville won five more Premier League titles, the Intercontinental Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FA Cup and two League Cups. He was also part of 2007/08 Champions League-winning squad, but was limited to just a single appearance that year due to injury.
In 2005, following Roy Keane’s departure, Gary was appointed United captain and held that role until September 2010. The defender is today remembered as one of the all-time greatest Reds and made a total of 602 first-team appearances - a tally bettered by only four men in the club's entire history.
Following his retirement, Neville has become involved in all aspects of the game. Whether it be as a pundit, manager, club owner or entrepreneur, Gary’s involvement in the game has certainly not diminished since hanging up his boots.
However, he will dust them off once again for our upcoming Treble Reunion match on 26 May. Find out more at manutd.com/treblereunion.
Tickets are still available to buy, with all proceeds going to the Manchester United Foundation.