If we had to conduct a head count of pundits, the number would likely reach into the hundreds. As in any profession where opinions are presented, there are some who are notably poor, while others are quite good.
Deciding who is good and worth listening to, and who is bad, is a subjective matter. I suppose it ultimately comes down to someone else giving their opinion on whose opinions are either rotten or spot on.
However, there is a significant exception to this. There are pundits who are universally despised, and one name that immediately comes to mind is Richard Keys. I base this “opinion” on the responses he receives on social media. It’s rare that his views are welcomed.
There are others, like Roy Keane, for example, who seem to have a bit of a cult following. Personally, I like Keane and appreciate what he has to say, even if I don’t always agree with him.
Then there are those who believe in their own hype, thinking they are some sort of sage, and that their words carry more weight than anyone else’s. For me, that person is none other than Gary Neville.
I’ve always found it strange that someone who failed so miserably at management feels that what he says is meaningful.
Now, this has nothing to do with his prediction on Arsenal last season – he got that right. Additionally, he is predicting that Arsenal may well win the title this season. This isn’t about his views on Arsenal.
No, it’s about what he has to say about absolutely everything related to football, from VAR to the Super League, to the idea of an independent regulator, the Glazers, officials, red cards, and so forth.
What Neville does is not lead the conversation or shape it. What he does is always jump on the side of populism and provide very little actual analysis. He is akin to a rabble-rouser, always playing to the gallery.
Is this an attack on Neville? Absolutely not. It’s just one man’s opinion that Arsenal fans should not listen to him. There are far better analytical pundits out there who speak with more sense. Neville is not one of them.
He is not unique in this regard. There is Gabriel Agbonlahor, but we all know he comes up with his weird takes for the sake of viewership numbers and social media traction. He knows most people don’t take him seriously, and he plays on that. Neville is different; he genuinely believes that his views and opinions are worth their weight in gold. When that happens, it all becomes about the man himself and not what he is actually saying.