Wednesday 17 January 2018

Will Gary Neville really appear on Arsenal Fan TV after calling one supporter an 'idiot' last weekend?

Gary Neville and ArsenalFanTV were at loggerheads over the weekend
Gary Neville and ArsenalFanTV were at loggerheads over the weekend

Sean Gibson

As Arsenal slid to a sorry 3-1 defeat away at Chelsea last week, one away fan was spotted holding a banner of the 'Wenger Out' variety - a fan that Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville later branded an "idiot".

Matters have escalated quickly from there, with the supporter in question hitting back at Neville in the press and Neville himself fending off a backlash to his brusque comments.

Neville - rashly? - has also agreed on Twitter that he would "be very happy to" appear on Arsenal Fan TV, an [in]famous Youtube channel where Gunners supporters are invited to air their views after a match.

With both sides having firmed up their commitment to making it happen in subsequent tweets, it now looks very much like Neville will appear on Arsenal Fan TV - though in what format, we still don't know.

The former Manchester United defender made the original comments in his scathing post-game analysis on Saturday lunchtime.

"He's an idiot, that guy," said Neville of 25-year-old Arsenal fan Kane Hopps, who had unfurled a banner reading: "Enough is enough[,] time to go" as the Chelsea-Arsenal match drew to a close.

"Arsene Wenger doesn’t deserve that," Neville added. "Obviously the Arsenal fans are disappointed, but to preempt by bring a banner into the ground - it’s a joke.

"Think about changing your manager; it might be that you don’t finish in the top four for a few seasons, and actually what Arsene Wenger has achieved is fantastic. So be careful."

Robbie Lyle, the host of Arsenal Fan TV, has said in a video that he is looking forward to discussing the incident with Neville.

"A lot of pundits treat fans like second-class citizens. But if you take fans away from football, football is dead.

"I don't agree with a lot of the things that the fans say when I'm interviewing them. But they're entitled to their opinion. It's not North Korea, yeah? It's England.

"I would love Gary Neville to come on Arsenal Fan TV so that we can have it out, so we can talk, because I really feel passionate about this. I'd like to explain to him why i feel it's just as important for ordinary fans to talk about their team as it is is for him to talk.

"I don't want to diss him, he is a very good pundit. He's entitled to his opinion and I respect him for that, but he must respect the fans as well."

News of Neville's impending appearance was met by bemusement from supporters both of Arsenal and other teams, with many wishing that he would back out of gracing the channel with his presence and others worrying that he doesn't what he has agreed to.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Hopps - the supporter at the centre of the furore - said: "I think it was a little bit outrageous that he called not just me, but any going fan who pays their money to go and watch their team, an idiot for having an opinion he might not agree with. It's just not on.

"I don’t take it personally that he’s insulted me, but for him to call a fan who has shown a fairly respectable banner - it's not full of expletives - isn’t right.

"For him to sit on his high horse in his studio and call me an idiot in front of everyone, I don’t think it is on."

Neville has rejoined the Sky Sports punditry team after a short, unsuccessful first venture into management with Spanish side Valencia last season.

Though Neville has appeared to be Arsene Wenger's champion in the post-Chelsea brouhaha, the two have previously clashed over Neville's comments that Arsenal are "naive" in their tactical approach and "arrogant" in their transfer policy.

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