May 25, 2024

Gary Neville has announced that he will not be covering Nottingham Forest’s Premier League meeting with title contender Manchester City on Sunday due to the club’s disagreement with Sky after his’mafia’ remark last weekend.

Forest sparked controversy after their 2-0 defeat by Everton last Sunday when they appeared to question the integrity of VAR Stuart Attwell – who supports relegation rivals Luton Town – on social media after they had three penalty appeals turned down, with Attwell seemingly failing to advise referee Anthony Taylor to go to the pitchside monitor to check any of them.

Forest promised to ‘examine its options’ in a social media post, prompting Neville to describe it as ‘like a mafia-gang statement’. Forest are considering legal action against Sky following Neville’s remark, but the broadcaster plans to air their next game against City this weekend.

Neville has already announced that he will not be present at the City Ground since he will be covering another match for Sky.

He said on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, that he received a tweet this week from a Forest fan that read: ‘I’m just asking whether you’re going to the Nottingham Forest and Manchester City game. I am asking for 27,000 buddies.

I called Sky and said I needed the North London Derby on Sunday! No, I am at the North London Derby, by the way.

Neville was also harshly critical of Nottingham Forest’s referee analyst Mark Clattenburg – a position he held in February – on Sunday, calling for his resignation following the club’s social media post.

The former Manchester United defender reiterated his criticism of Clattenburg, claiming that he is becoming a detriment to the team and providing an excuse for them to lose games.

“You’ve got Clattenburg almost like a Navy Seal in the director’s box crawling along to the CEO (whispering),” Neville added.

‘I requested him to resign because if he saw the Luton tweet, he needs to disassociate himself from it or he’s part of it. I’m like “wow” if he’s a part of that.


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The second portion of it is football, correct? If you are the manager of that football team, you should know that they have only won one game in the last ten games since Mark Clattenburg arrived. In the previous ten games, they had won four.

‘Never give football players or employees an excuse to go. He gave them a reason not to win. Now, that may sound silly, but when you factor in the negativity, Neco Williams, who is probably a really talented player, is coming out on Sunday and talking about refereeing.

‘They’re all obsessed with referees, and they’ve given themselves a justification; everyone is against us. The current technique is not working for them.

‘What they need to do is change their mindset entirely and forget about referees. Get Clattenburg out of the director’s box so the camera doesn’t focus on him, and concentrate on football, because they’re going down if they’re not cautious.

Roy Keane, who played for Forest from 1990 to 1993, was similarly critical of his former club’s tactics, citing owner Evangelos Marinakis’ appearance on the pitch after full time when a refereeing decision went against his team in a match against Liverpool last month.

He claimed that Forest’s approach to referees would not boost their prospects of remaining in the top division.

‘It’s quite messy. Forest, thinking back over the last two months, I don’t think they’ve demonstrated much class,’ he added.

‘The way they’re going, they were on the pitch against Liverpool; look at the ownership there. I was fortunate to play for Forest, a fantastic club when I was there. I do not appreciate this type of behavior at the moment, what they’re doing.

Of certainly, they have the right to protect themselves and fight for their own interests. However, based on my observations over the last five years, I am dissatisfied with the behavior at the ownership level.


He then addressed Neville, saying, “Do you remember a referee coming to United years ago?” He told us about how he works.

‘And he said, if you keep yelling at me during a game and I have to make a decision, and he was looking at me, if you’re giving me stick and I have a decision to make against you, I’ll go against you. If you keep getting on my back, it is only human nature.

Forest had this thought that the officials will suddenly say, “Do you know what? Let us have some pity for Forest.” I believe that will only work against them. The manner in which they continue to issue these remarks

‘You fight your corner, but not when the coaching staff and owners arrive on the pitch. In terms of Forest’s mindset, “the world is against us, now steady on a bit.”

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