Off Script: Gary Neville on broadcasting training to fans and pre-match superstitions
In the second Off Script, Neville insists filming training sessions would bring fans closer to the players
Last Updated: 20/08/19 12:08pm
In the latest Off Script, Gary Neville argues teams should start broadcasting training sessions to fans, and runs through his pre-match preparations.
Neville joined Pat Davison to discuss three random, off-script subjects, and came up with a stellar idea for bringing fans even closer to the players each day...
Clubs should film training for fans
The job of Sky television, but also the job of a football stadium, is to bring football fans closer to the games, to help the fans see what they can't usually see.
I've always wondered why football clubs don't film their training sessions live. Filming a training session that is confidential around tactics and team shape of course is out of the question, but that's only a small component of a session.
You've got maybe half an hour of each training session which might be general patterns of play, crossing exercises, shooting exercises, passing drills, possession bits. Why can't that be something fans can dial into and see?
I've always wondered why football clubs don't film their training sessions live. Filming a training session that is confidential around tactics and team shape, of course is out of the question, but that's only a small component of a session.
Gary Neville on Off Script
It would probably do the players a favour in a sense of testing how professional they are, how hard they work. I know they get paid a lot of money, but they are incredibly professional.
What you see out here on a Saturday is the highest quality. We saw the title race last year, it's the highest-quality title race I've ever seen. That just doesn't come by turning up on a matchday. An incredible amount of work is done during the week.
Obviously City, Salford, Leeds and Sunderland have done documentaries. The idea of becoming a fly on the wall at a football club - a digital, online football club - is going to increase.
From Thursday, it's perfection
In terms of pre-match preparation for a Saturday game, for me on Thursday night the match began. On Thursday night I'd say: 'This must be perfection now.'
On Thursday night I'd be thinking about my job, the opponent, they player I was up against, everything was perfection. The time of eating, the time of sleeping, what I did in training, how I travelled to game, where I sat on the coach, where I sat in the changing rooms.
Gary Neville on Off Script
Tuesday and Wednesday are hard training days, but you might have that little bit of extra pasta, and you will be trying to relax your mind on those days, training hard and being professional.
But on Thursday night it was about switching onto the game. On Thursday night I'd be thinking about my job, the opponent, the player I was up against, everything was perfection. The time of eating, the time of sleeping, what I did in training, how I travelled to the game, where I sat on the coach, where I sat in the changing rooms.
Was I superstitious? Some would call it superstition, I'd call it preparation and routine. Thinking: 'I've been here before, this is how I get prepared, let's do it again. It works. We win.'
Knowing that I'm as fit as I can be. People call it superstitious, like always wearing white underpants on the day of a game! Some might call it a superstition, for me it was a detail!
Somebody who was really flippant, might say: 'That doesn't help you win a game of football.' But if psychologically you've prepared the same way, done the same things, worn the same things, you're good to go!
Hospitality is standard in the Premier League
I remember growing up, going into Bury's sponsors' lounge. My Mum and Dad were there working on matchdays. I'd wait for them at the end of the game in this lounge, they'd put a sandwich on, maybe a drink, and you felt like you were getting treated. That was hospitality!
Hospitality, 20 years ago, famously was called the Prawn Sandwich brigade by Roy Keane. It was big money, for people who could afford it.
Sir Matt Busby introduced it to Manchester United in the 1960s off the back of an American tour, where he'd been to a baseball and NFL game, and saw that people not only went to watch a match, but went for a social occasion and to be entertained.
Actually when I think back now to some of the new stadiums being built, the Tottenham stadium, the new stand at Liverpool, Wembley, every fan now feels like they're getting a bit of hospitality.
We have to walk through the new Liverpool stand - unfortunately! - to get to the commentary box. The concourses at football stadiums now are like smart cafes! You've now got really high-quality facilities, and to be honest, with the money fans are paying, they deserve it. Everyone should feel they are getting some sort of experience when they are going to a football match.