Red is the story of Gary Neville’s long and distinguished career for Manchester United and his less distinguished England career. It’s a reasonably enjoyable quick read that will be particularly enjoyed by United fans.
Neville appears to be a man defined by his passion for Manchester United. I’m sure he likes his family, but you would barely know his wife and kids exist. While you appreciate he wants his privacy, you’d expect getting married and having kids to impact your view of the game and your career enough to merit more of a mention.
The famous Class of ’92 is covered in a fair bit of detail. It was a remarkable generation of players to come through the ranks at Man Utd at the same time but something about the fact they have developed their own brand annoys me no end. This part of the book works well as a lesson in the importance of commitment and level of dedication needed to make it to the top.
His time at Man Utd is the main topic of the book, but at times it feels like a repetition of what happened combined with repeated references to how great Sir Alex Ferguson is. There are some good insights into some of the most interesting Man Utd personalities, but nearly not enough of these.
He covers his England career with a chapter about the reign on each of the mangers he played for. It’s clear he really rated Venables, felt Keegan and Hoddle were out of their depth and had a lot of time for Sven before it started to fall apart. The England material is definitely the best part of the book. Neville opens up about his dislike of playing for England and gives an honest assessment that it meant a lot less to him than Utd.
Overall the book feels honest without ever being particularly controversial. It’s an interesting read for anyone who followed English football during Neville’s career and especially for Man Utd fans.