Gary Neville’s hypocrisy about Chelsea exposes how Todd Boehly is leaving Man United behind

“The American guy Boehly looks like he wants to play Football Manager. There’s something in him, they’re a bit panicky. That pressure is on him.”

Those were the words of Gary Neville on The Overlap before a ball had been kicked this season. He was asked about Chelsea’s window and how the new ownership under Todd Boehly and Clearlake had been doing.

“The American guy”, as he exclaimed, sounded slightly disrespectful, or as if he had just heard the name of Boehly for the first time minutes before he had been asked to comment on the issue. “He wouldn’t have had that pressure if he kept the people that were there before [Granovskaia, Buck and Cech] and let them operate for a year or two.”

The accusation of playing football manager is one that has slightly stuck, given the chaotic and intensely busy nature of Chelsea’s transfer window. Rapidly moving through several targets in a short space of time has caught out people who even follow the club for a living.

But it smacked off Neville needing to give a strong line on short notice. The Premier League ecosystem of high-profile pundits says something catchy–a top coach is then pressed on the catchy thing–TV coverage revolves around that catchy thing is pretty familiar.

“Panicking? No. Super hard working.” was Thomas Tuchel’s response to a Sky reporter before the opening game at Everton

What has been ironic since that comment is Neville’s pointed reactions to Manchester United’s disastrous start under Erik Ten Hag, losing both games to Brighton and Brentford by an aggregate score of 6-1. The problems at Old Trafford have not been soothed by another change in the dugout, and very old discussions that include famed phrases like “But this is Manchester United” are back in force.

Neville’s fury is firmly aimed at the American owners of his club, The Glazers, and the lack of investment they have put in since their controversial takeover in 2005.

“The only money that has been spent on players at Manchester United is the money the club has generated, or it’s borrowed. It does not come from the [Glazer] family.” Neville firmly stated in a slightly heated exchange on the touchline at Brentford with Jamie Redknapp on Sky.

“There’s a family over there in America who are literally letting their employees take all the hits for them. That is unforgivable. Joel Glazer has to get on a plane to Manchester tomorrow — tell everyone what the hell his plan is. What is he doing?”

“They’ve [Glazers] got to show up and basically face the music – now is the time. You can’t keep hiding in Tampa thinking nothing is going to come back to you.”

The irony in Neville’s words are hard to miss. Demanding more investment from one set of Americans whilst condemning the spending of another.

Boehly has spent a lot in this window. It could exceed over £200m and become the most spent in a single window in the club’s history. But apart from some outside perception, the signings being made are not led by the 48-year-old in his first foray into owning a football club.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel is influencing the recruitment strategy along with the scouting team that still remained from the previous regime after the departures of Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech, who Tuchel has admitted he misses having around.

Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Carney Chukwuemka were all players Tuchel had a hand in convincing them to join and wanted to add to his squad.

In fears of reckless spending, a highly detailed and informative thread by the excellent Swiss Ramble breaks down why Chelsea are not falling foul of FFP (Financial Fair Play) rules in an expensive summer. Notably, £164m profit was made from player sales last summer, plus the outgoings this year, which have lowered the wage bill.

Neville’s words of anger towards United’s ownership are not invalid. A lot of it rings true and reflects the years of mismanagement and lack of care coming home to roost. But his dismissal of Boehly undermines his argument for more investment at United.

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