You sound like Tony Blair Gary Neville explains political beliefs in candid interview

Gary Neville: Nick Robinson says ‘you sound like Tony Blair’

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Speaking to Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking podcast, Gary Neville said he wanted to live in a Britain which encouraged people to do well but still “looks after people that aren’t” as he laid out his personal politics. But the comment sparked the BBC host to compare the former football ace’s views to the political project embarked upon by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Manchester United legend revealed how his paternal grandparents were hardline Labour voters who believed in the principles of social justice, equality and accessible housing.

But he said his maternal grandparents were in fact Conservative voters who ran their own business and believed in “allowing growth and wealth to prosper”.

Explaining where that leaves his views, he said: “Why can’t we have both?

“Surely there is a society where people who are doing well, still want to look after people who aren’t doing as well, and we want to drive them up?”

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He likened his demands to being in a football team before Mr Robinson chimed “you sound very like Tony Blair!”.

The BBC host suggested the football star’s political leaning was “exactly his [Tony Blair’s] pitch to the country”.

But Mr Neville argued: “Is that not what we all think?”

Nick Robinson went on to draw on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership as an example of political leaders and voters having drastically different views on the Britain they wish to implement. 

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He added: “My genuine feeling is that if you do well, you get rewarded.

“But does that mean then that you become selfish and greedy and you don’t want to look after other people…

“And allow them to do as well as you can do?”

He went on: “To me, I just think my politics are driven from my family upbringing but also from my football.”

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He said the “extremely wealthy young men” who he played alongside at Manchester United were mostly from poor backgrounds but were commanded by the wealthy but principled voice of Alex Ferguson.

The footy presenter noted how the manager had once been part of a trade union but kept his principles of “hard work, attitude, look after each other” adding that is the Britain he wants to see unleashed.

Mr Neville said: “You’re talking about wealthy people, but that team culture of making sure you’re looking after one another.”

The footballer’s comments come off the back of opening University Academy 92 which he hopes will give opportunities to those who would not usually consider entering higher education.

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