He may have been best known for fielding right flank during his football career, but former England defender Gary Neville crossed left into politics by joining the Labor Party.
The former Manchester United full-back, who was a fierce critic of Boris Johnson and the government during the COVID pandemic, he revealed that he joined Labor “in the last few days”.
Neville’s membership of the party was welcomed hard and tiring work shadow cabinet ministers Anneliese Dodds and Lucy Powell, with hints that the former footballer might one day make an offer to become mayor of Greater Manchester.
Speaking on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, Neville said: “I have joined the Labor Party for the past few days. I want to support Labor.
“I think we need a progressive Labor Party, but it really doesn’t just deal with the left, it has to come towards the center.”
Asked in the podcast if he could consider himself a possible successor to Andy Burnham, the current Mayor of Greater Manchester, Neville said, “I love Greater Manchester and I love every district of Greater Manchester, I’m not sure it would be for me to be honest.
“I haven’t decided yet, no, I haven’t decided yet.”
On the fact that he would ever want to run for office, Neville added, “It doesn’t look like something I’m going to do.
“I’m not saying never. I don’t feel like that and I don’t feel like I’m an MP. I don’t feel like I’m an MP.”
While Neville did not rule out running for an elected role, he also predicted he would be “eaten alive” in frontline politics.
“I don’t know what Whitehall, Westminster is like, I can only imagine what you have to do there to survive and I don’t play,” he said.
Mrs Dodds, the Labor Party presidency, gave a “warm welcome to Labor” to Neville in a Twitter post, adding, “It’s great to have you on the red team.”
And Mrs. Powell, the shadow secretary for culture, said she was “very happy” that the 46-year-old had “finally joined Labor.”
“It’s something he and I have been discussing for a while,” he added, while replying to Neville that he wasn’t ruling out a run for elective office in the future.
“Personally I think he’s more than capable of navigating (well, steam) the world of politics! Can’t wait to help him.”
After finishing his playing career, Neville started coaching and was fired as manager of the Spanish club Valencia in 2016.
He has since focused on his work as a Sky Sports expert and business ventures, including as a property developer.
Along with a group of other former Manchester United players, known as the “Class of 92”, he is also co-owner of the League Two football team Salford City and co-founder of a higher education institution, known as University Academy 92. .
In his frequent criticisms of the government’s handling of the COVID crisis, Neville also mocked the prime minister during the current “partygate” line. swallowing the number 10.
In a recent post to his five million Twitter followers – and in reference to a famous former Manchester nightclub – Neville wrote: “10 Downing St should be renamed ‘Hacienda’.”