Neville/Dixon/Wilkins – Which Pundit Do you Like?

By on October 25, 2011

As a Liverpool fan, the last person I or anyone else would expect me to be commending is Gary Neville, given his history in Man United – Liverpool games and just for the fact he was a United player, and I must admit when I heard he was to be a new Sky Sports pundit for this year I expected him to be pretty poor to say the least – but actually the truth has been far from it.

For me Neville is a refreshing breath of fresh air: opinionated, pulling few punches and, having only just retired, possessing an up to date knowledge of what The Premier League is like today, not what it was like when Mark Lawrenson played or Kevin Keegan played or even when Jamie Redknapp played. He’s not yet in the same league as Andy Gray or Alan Hansen as a pundit, but I own up to looking forward to hearing his take on games, and genuinely respect his opinion, which has on the whole been objective, unbiased, and well thought out.

He still has a bit of work to do as a co-commentator on the other hand, but I certainly prefer him to Ray ‘I love everybody especially Chelsea players’ Wilkins, who has to be the most irritating co-commentator on TV, if only because he’s too bloody nice. Every single player, Chelsea or not, is “the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet off the field” and “a great professional” or “a real class player”. I mean, are we seriously meant to believe Ashley Cole is actually a “really great guy”, when it’s clear he’s a total tosser. By the look of things, Ray Wilkins could have been a character witness for Josef Stalin. I was in stitches watching the QPR-Chelsea game hearing him say on more than one occasion “Petr Cech: he’s such a good footballer – so good with his feet” after Cech playing a 5 yard pass.

To digress to other pundits/co-commentators, am I the only person who quite likes Lee Dixon? Every comments page I read is slagging him off, but as part of maybe the best back four the Premier League has seen (though there are a couple of other contenders), I think he is entitled to his opinion, especially when it comes to defending. As for ESPN, they seem to have decided to pick co-commentators who are as miserable as possible, perhaps in an attempt to be controversial, but it just comes across as listening to various grumpy middle aged men having a moan about nothing in particular. Alan Shearer on MOTD just doesn’t have a personality, but I think we’ve always known that.

So on the whole, thumbs up to Sky for a good choice of new pundit, though it only partially compensates for the massive thumbs down for getting rid of Andy Gray in the first place. Richard Keys was less of a loss, especially as the leaked footage did make him look like a total prick. And – though I never thought I’d say it except through gritted teeth – well done Gary Neville for providing the right blend of opinionated yet intelligent insights, and in general coming across as not a bad fella after all. Although obviously, I still hate him just a little bit.

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7 Comments

  1. Kieran Doyle

    October 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Hate Neville as am a Liverpool fan but he does talk sense, Knows what he is talking about unlike David Pleat who talks nonsense. Just needs a bit more personality like Wilkins but that might come with time when he lets himself relax.

    • Ras1

      October 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Spot on! What a great shout! As a gooner iv being saying for a while that Gary Neville the best thing since Andy Gray! I hated Gary as a player & didn’t really rate him bt he is top man on sky, relevant and accurate assessment of games showing little or even no bias,says what he sees, without Rose tinted glasses. best thing is doesn’t follow what the back pages of rubbish tabloids to back up his pretty sound opinions. Dixon ok, Jamie & co ok bt worst pundit has to be glen Hoddle. I reckon he’s a lil tipsy most times cz he sees things in a real strang way

  2. Tom, Romford

    October 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I agree Gary Neville is proving to be very good as a pundit. He makes the MOTD crew look passed it, repeating their usual cliches. While Wilkins has a view on everything but shines no light on his Chelsea sacking, thats what we want to know about. Dixon is now a born again Citeh fan and has quickly taken to twisting the knife in his old club and managers back.

  3. Georgio

    October 25, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Must agree completely with you. As a United fan I thought ‘Red Nev’ would be over the top. But he is very fair and his analysis is spot-on. I like Dixon as well and don’t know why he gets criticised. But Ray (lovely fella) Wilkins will have to go. He gives nothing to the analysis. What’s the point of a pundit whose knowledge is no better than your own? And he’s so biased against United v Chelses the commentator had to remind him he was captain of United!

  4. Jay

    October 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I liked his post match report after the derby you could see he was gutted but made no excuses which is what I would have expected.
    He does seem to over rate Man Utd players still espiecially Anderson.

    Personally I love Wilkins he has a calming voice and praises the great players, mainly David Silva.

    Martin Tyler will never be matched and Redknapp is great for Sky mainly coz hes nice to look at, not being gay.

    I loath Mark Lawrenson and Martin Keown.

    No one catch match Merson for entertainment, Lineker for Professionalism, Crooks for awe factor and Stelling for madness.

  5. TH14

    October 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I think G Neville is a terrible pundit, I think who ever employed him a s a pundit should be sacked also.
    I think I have never heard more rubbish comeout of someone mouth its unreal.
    I think he is making Rednap sound good and he is terrible too.
    I think Sky has loss there way since Andy grey.
    I think sky views are paying too much money not to be able to get decent comments after a match.

    Talking about Sky, see if anyone can watch the last few matchs which G Neville was a pundit on and count how many times he said “I think!”

    Someone please tell me he doesnt get paid for doing this job. Thinking about cancelling my Sky subscription…

  6. VinKopite

    October 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Couldn’t agree more on both Neville and Wilkins.
    Neville and Redknapp is a good combination.
    Ray is so annoyingly nice and complimentary about everyone with a bias towards CFC players.
    Sorry Ray, you gotta go, or toughen up and become more objective.

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