Gary Neville ‘doesn’t recognise’ some of Manchester United’s stars when they post ‘vanilla, sanitised messages’ on social media after a loss… scripted tweets are ‘ridiculously inauthentic’ and they treat players ‘like FOOLS’
- Footballers put out ‘vanilla, sanitised’ messages, according to Gary Neville
- The former Manchester United full-back says players are treated ‘like fools’
- Neville has been a vocal critic of footballers not running their own accounts
- He accused United’s CEO of media, Phil Lynch, of turning them into ‘robots’
Gary Neville has doubled down on his criticism of footballers’ ‘inauthentic’ social media posts and says he no longer recognises many in Manchester United’s dressing room over ‘vanilla’ and ‘sanitised’ messages.
Neville has long been a vocal critic of players not controlling their own social media accounts to engage with supporters.
Writing in his column for the Times, Neville believes players are being treated ‘like fools’ because having a social media manager suggests they ‘can’t be trusted to be themselves’.
Neville said: ‘There are characters inside the Manchester United dressing room that I greatly admire not just for their football abilities but their human qualities — vulnerabilities, resilience, sense of humour and all the things that make them distinct. I don’t recognise them at all when I see some of their social media posts.
‘I see vanilla, sanitised messages. I read apologies that don’t come over sincerely to me or any United fan. I see half the dressing room posting almost identically-worded tweets like they are reading off a script. And not just at United.’
Gary Neville has said he no longer recognises Man United’s players due to their social media
Neville feels the messages being put out are ‘inauthentic’, ‘vanilla’ and ‘sanitised’ for fans
He added: ‘Some of these tweets and posts are diversion tactics. You feel manipulated reading them and this is meant to be football, not some Putin-esque plot to control the narrative.
‘It takes character to succeed at United or any top team. I want to see that character, but it is being lost to PR messaging, scripted words and corporate-speak.’
Bruno Fernandes and captain Harry Maguire are two players who apologised on more than one occasion this season following heavy defeats and both drew criticism from fans.
Neville believes carefully ‘scripted’ tweets take advantage of fans and players would be better served doing a short piece-to-camera video or allow themselves to open up on another platform, in a similar way to Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster, who runs his own YouTube channel.
Manchester United’s CEO of media, Phil Lynch, opened on methods for players’ social media
Neville was left unimpressed last week, telling the United media CEO to ‘get the f@@k away’
The Sky Sports pundit accepted that he has help from outside sources for his social media posts but stressed that it is always his words that get signed off.
Neville’s plea to players to take control of their social media accounts comes on the back of him launching a stinging attack on Manchester United’s CEO of media, Phil Lynch, last week.
Lynch drew widespread criticism after footage appeared on Twitter of him explaining how the club works with players on social media.
Neville accused Lynch of ‘creating robots on and off the pitch’ and claimed ‘he makes controlling fans sound like he’s trying to win a general election’ in response to the footage of him talking to Sports Pro Influencers.
United media chief Lynch says in the short clip: ‘Each one of these players are individuals. Some want charity focus, some want family focus, some want just football focus and I think it’s really about trying to understand what narrative they want to tell and then we’re here to support that narrative.
Back in March, Neville was critical of the near-identical tweets put out by England’s players
‘It does get a little tricky sometimes. There’s a lot of the mass media out there, trying to build that story, trying to build that tabloid piece of content. That’s not what we do at all.
‘We’re trying to work with them and understand the story they want to get out and we support that, join forces on that.’
It is an issue Neville has been banging the drum on for most of the year.
Back in March, Neville criticised the England squad for not sounding authentic on Twitter when a number of them posted a near-identical messages saying ‘job done’ after beating Albania.
‘Reading some of the England players tweets last night. Do any of the lads post themselves? They don’t sound authentic,’ Neville tweeted.
‘It’s a real shame they don’t manage their personal connection to the fans and media. #independentthinkers.’