Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

You're the Fawlty One, Carlos, for Red Nev Rant That Was Utter Nonsense

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

You're the Fawlty One, Carlos, for Red Nev Rant That Was Utter Nonsense

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Cording

IT'S the morning of a vital World Cup qualifier for England and Gary 'Basil Fawlty' Neville is struggling with plans for his first gourmet night at Neville Towers.

In an exasperated telephone call to Roy Hodgson, Neville tells his boss that he won't be at Wembley for England's must-win match against Poland. "The chef's drunk and, as for my waiter, it would be easier to teach an ape!" I would love to see Neville behind reception welcoming guests to his new 10-storey, 139-bed hotel that he has planning permission to build next to Old Trafford.

He certainly wouldn't let anyone from Liverpool -- or Manchester City fans -- through the door and just how would he deal with Mr and Mrs Johnson sneaking in for a dirty weekend? I'd check in for a night just to see how 'Basil' Neville copes; 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers was never enough.

Sadly, it won't happen, which makes Carlos Tevez's questioning why Neville is being allowed to coach England while becoming a hotel proprietor all the more bizarre.

Tevez used his new column in yesterday's Sun to claim the Football Association were wrong to employ someone who was a pundit on television, writes for a newspaper and runs a hotel.

Clearly, the hotel argument is nonsense.

Neville won't be washing dishes or serving food and many current and former professional players have business interests outside of the game that have no affect on their ability to do their jobs in football.

But, with Neville assisting Hodgson and Ray Lewington this week as England take on Sweden in a friendly on Wednesday night, is Tevez right when he says Neville should not be in a position to make comment on players in the media with whom he will be working for the national team? Eyebrows were raised when Neville told Sky viewers Rio Ferdinand would not be involved in the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland just because John Terry had announced his international retirement.

"He is a class defender but in the World Cup he'll be 35, 36," said Neville. "Roy Hodgson has said he's not going to take 34-year-olds, 35-year-olds who are seasoned internationals, who have got 70-odd, 80 caps to sit in the stand. And it's the correct decision."

Now in the world according to Tevez, this wouldn't happen in other countries.

"Can you imagine Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Brazil or Argentina employing a manager's right-hand man whose day job is a television pundit? I can't see it happening," he wrote.

Well shock, horror, this was Neville passing comment on a defender who had not played for his country for two years. I would rather hear the reasons why England's management make the decisions they do than keeping them secret. Too much was also made of Hodgson's remark about the same player not being in his squad when talking to a passenger on the tube. …

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