Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville delivered an emotional response to Mirror Sport’s exclusive that Jose Mourinho will be sacked by Old Trafford chiefs after this weekend.
Mourinho will leave the club regardless of their result against Newcastle on Saturday, and Neville hit out at the United board for their decision, claiming that they are “rotten to the core” when it came to their decision making.
The news of our story was put to Neville by Sky Sports presenter Kelly Cates after Brighton’s 1-0 win over West Ham , with Cates asking the pundit if he thought it was the right decision to remove Mourinho.
Read on for Neville’s full and frank response.
“No. To be honest with you Kelly I’m furious. I’m furious going back three, four years ago when David Moyes was sacked, when it broke a day before to journalists.
“I think of Louis van Gaal being sacked the day before a cup final and finding out from other people. I think about how the club is being operated.
“If this is true, we don’t know if it’s true, but if this is true, and Jose Mourinho is going to walk out at Old Trafford tomorrow almost like a dead man walking, those fans will absolutely turn towards that boardroom.
Jose Mourinho under pressure at Man United
“It’s unacceptable, and I have to say that Jose Mourinho will get the biggest support he’s ever had in his life tomorrow in that ground. And I’ll be there to give it to him.
“Because look, at the end of the day this been going on for five or six years, and I have to say that any manager… Jose Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world, and I think in this moment in time any manager would struggle in that football club.
“The way in which the recruitment’s handled, the way in which it operates… and enough’s enough for me.
“I love that football club. I absolutely love it to death. It’s been my life. It’s given me everything, and I have to say that something has to change and it isn’t the manager, it’s above that.
“I’m furious as I sit here thinking that there’s a report that broken out. Journalists don’t break stories of this nature unless they’re absolutely certain. I hope it’s not true, but if it is true I think it’s an absolute disgrace.
“It’s coming to a point where by when you’ve have an opportunity to appoint three or four managers, and this is the fourth manager in six years, you to start looking at not the manager, but the people who are appointed the manager, the people who are bringing in the players, the people who are sanctioning the deals, the people who are spending on players, the people who are allowing the tail to wag the dog.
“The dressing room is leading what’s happening, the tail is wagging the dog at the football club.
“Get some control back. Get some leadership. For me, at this moment in time, I’m furious. It’s been coming for three or four weeks.
“Undermining Jose on the eve of the season, explaining to journalists why he couldn’t sign those centre-backs.
“Who is qualified in that football club to be able to tell Jose Mourinho that Alderweireld, Maguire or Boateng are not better than the centre-backs they’ve got?
“Who is qualified in that football club? There’s only two people I can think of and they wouldn’t have been consulted, in fact we know they weren’t consulted. Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson.
“So for me, like I say I’ve reacted maybe a little bit emotionally, but like I say I don’t particularly care any more to be honest, in respect of what I say.
“You can say it’s unprofessional but I have to speak as a fan and what I feel, and at the end of the day I’m on Sky Sports, I’m here as someone who offers a level of neutrality.
“It’s difficult running a football club. Its difficult managing a football club. It’s difficult playing in a football team. It’s not always easy, there are lots of challenges.
“But what you have to do is make sure you operate in the right manner, and I have to say in this moment in time there is something rotten to the core of the decisions that have been made in last four or five years, and it has to be coming from the top.
“If I’m the person who employs the guy underneath me and he fails, eventually I’ve got to take responsibility for it. Eventually I’ve got to stand up and say I’m not good enough to do this.
“And the people in the boardroom at this moment in time, if you look at who has overseen the football operation, are nowhere near good enough, not qualified. They’re playing Football Manager with the biggest club in the world.
“Stop it. Put people in who are qualified. And so, this is a big story that’s breaking, and tomorrow I might look stupid, but these thoughts still ring true.
“I hope Jose’s there next week. I actually like Jose Mourinho.
“When I saw that interview before the game tonight I was sad. I’m sad if he goes. And I have to say that looking at his face, he looked tired, he looked beaten, he looked fed up, he looked like he’d had enough.
“The players look they’ve had enough, the players look beaten. And I know some of those players and some of them are really good lads. They’re not bad lads. They’re not sat there thinking I don’t want to play well for Manchester United , but they just… anyway it is what it is. Let’s hope Liverpool and City both lose at the weekend!
“They knew what they were getting when they signed Jose Mourinho.
“He’s cantankerous, he’s somebody who doesn’t back down from confrontation, he will want teams who are ready to win now, and they undermined him in the summer.
“You can’t undermine your manager, simple as that.”