By Chris Wright
Phil “Chopper Nev” Neville officially called it quits yesterday, retiring from the game after 18 years in the business and, to mark his passing into the golfing hereafter, we thought we’d revisit his career pinnacle – the day, by his own admission, he stopped being “The Manc” at Everton and was instantly accepted as an honourable Evertonian.
It’s October 26, 2008 and Manchester United are 1-0 up and all over Everton at Goodison. Having already left Patrice Evra sprawling in his wake, Neville – with brother Gary watching on from the bench – sees Cristiano Ronaldo about to scamper off up the wing and stops him in his tracks with a well-timed, if ever-so-slightly-over-zealous lunging nobbler.
To use footballing parlance, Neville definitely “left a bit in” – cue hysteria from his former United teammates…
With their captain bringing up the rear with a fine defensive performance against Ronaldo (though it did take a double-team effort to stop the Portuguese winger if memory serves), Everton fought back and eventually squeaked an equaliser with the game finishing 1-1.
More importantly, never again were club captain Chopper Nev’s allegiances brought into question.