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John Giles: Loudmouth Gary has the subtlety of a truck

THERE'S a bit of advice for Gary Neville. Shut up and grow up. ‘Red Nev', as they call him, is an example of a lad with limited capabilities and an obsessive desire to be something more than he ever can be.

He annoys me to distraction. It's been some week. After the slowdown caused by the weather, the last seven days packed everything in.

Arsenal hit the front in the Premier League but Arsene Wenger made a fool of himself again over the Gallas incident; Manchester United lost to Manchester City in the first-leg of the Carling Cup and Carlos Tevez came back to haunt Alex Ferguson.

Throw in the issue of massive debt afflicting the top clubs in the world and John O'Shea's injury setback and it's clear that Ferguson has a few problems on his hands.


O'Shea's thigh muscle tear is a bad one and I don't like what I've been hearing about it. When it's a deep-seated rip, it's very, very difficult to fix.

But even though there have been plenty of important matters to discuss, I find myself reading about the latest Neville incident involving Tevez with an irrational desire to grind my teeth.

Neville didn't have to say anything at all about Tevez in his pre-match interview. One true sign of a leader is the ability to pick the right moment to speak and the right moment to say nothing.

Neville has the subtlety of a truck in his dealings with the media and he falls down on almost every other front too.

This is the man who lead a strike of England internationals because Rio Ferdinand missed a drug test and was excluded from the squad.

Watch him when he stands in the tunnel before a game, face set in a grimace of concentration; moody aggression written in every glance at the opposition skipper.

Here's a man who shows all the trappings of leadership and has learned what it looks like from serious people like Roy Keane, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson, but has none of the substance enjoyed by great Manchester United players.

I'm sure Alex Ferguson must look at Neville sometimes and wonder how he ended up wearing the captain's armband and how poorly he compares with those that went before.

Neville now has a list of stupid outbursts and episodes to his name that would be embarrassing to most people. Even Manchester United fans look upon Neville with the same affection normally reserved for kids everyone knew at school who could be steered in the direction of all sorts of mischief simply because they wanted to be one of the boys more than anything else.

He winds himself up to do the things he thinks a Manchester United captain should be doing. Sometimes, it looks like he could wind himself up about a cupcake if he thought it was the right thing to do but inevitably, the cupcake would win the fight.

If it wasn't bad enough watching Neville's latest outbreak of arrested development, Arsene Wenger stepped into the limelight as he has done often before and took all the good out of the fact that a 4-2 win over Bolton sent the Gunners to the top of the table.

The issue he once again failed the test on was the one of temporary blindness; specifically, William Gallas's awful tackle on Mark Davis which Wenger, apparently didn't see.

He apologised afterwards but the damage was already done. I will never understand how a seemingly intelligent and rational man can be so crass when it comes to bad behaviour by his own players yet is the picture of wounded innocence when someone wrongs Arsenal Football Club.

He ran Neville close for the title of twit of the week but he was edged out even for second place by another one of my old favourites – Sam Allardyce.

For anyone who watched Aston Villa and Blackburn share 10 goals, I don't think there was any doubt that the right team went through to the Carling Cup final. Yet for Allardyce, the whole thing revolved around the referee and a decision he made.

Martin Atkinson then failed to spot a push by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Ryan Nelsen, allowing former Rovers defender Stephen Warnock to score and bring the aggregate back to 2-2. According to Allarydce, that decision lost him the game which says a lot for the kind of message he's been giving to his players and the squad dynamic he has fostered.


It was a bad decision by the referee alright but it obviously caused the whole Blackburn team to collapse mentally or Allardyce is talking through his hat. When a child falls down and has a bit of a whinge, he learns very quickly that the best thing to do is get up and get on with it, unless there's a clingy parent nearby and the lesson is lost.

Allardyce likes to portray himself as the tough-talking, no-nonsense man of the world yet his team rolled over because of one bad refereeing decision. We all know that Villa won because they were the better side over two legs and we now have a good idea why Blackburn lost.

It's not the first time they've taken a hammering and Allardyce has blamed the referee – remember Arsenal did it just over three months ago. A mad week indeed and that's without even mentioning Rafa Benitez and the ongoing meltdown at Anfield though I suspect we'll be back to that subject again before too long.