Gary Neville discusses learning collective responsibility from Arsenal legend

Gary Neville has recalled an important lesson on leadership that he learned from Arsenal legend, Tony Adams.

The former Manchester United fullback recalled a time when he and his England teammates were on their way back from a trip to Asia as they prepared for Euro 96.

Alan Shearer had slapped Paul Gascoigne on the head while they were on the plane back.

Gascoigne unexpectedly reacted badly to the slap by throwing the plane’s seats and cushions.

After the incident, a far from impressed England FA demanded that the players produce the culprit.

They expected the team to take their time and give up the culprit eventually, but Neville revealed that the squad, led by Adams, took the blame collectively at the time. That lesson stayed with him for a long time.:

‘The FA wanted someone out of the squad, they wanted to know who it was, they wanted basically to have a fall guy, a scapegoat, Neville said as quoted by the Metro.

‘Terry Venables told us this and said, “Go into that room over there”, and we all went in as a group of players to come up with a solution because the FA wanted to know who did it.

‘Tony Adams stood up in the room and said, “No-one is a scapegoat in this room, we all go out there and take collective responsibility”.

‘And if you remember the line of ‘collective responsibility’ that came out, that was Tony Adams taking control of a group of people and saying, “We’ll all pay the fine, we’ll all pay for the damage, but we’ll all say that we did it”.

‘It gave me the lessons of sticking together, about what you do when someone’s in trouble, and that’s how I’ve always approached it from there on in terms of you never ever stitch your teammates up, you never once throw them overboard.

‘I think that’s something that’s really important in terms of shaping you as you get through football in terms of how you look at football players in your dressing room as they make a mistake.’

Tony Adams was a true leader of men. If only Arsenal had someone like him today then half the troubles we have experienced over the last few years would not have happened, of that, I am 100% certain.

Tags alan shearer Gary Neville paul gascoigne Tony Adams
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