Gary Neville reveals talks with Sky Sports over Chelsea ‘bottle jobs’ jibes

Gary Neville working for Sky Sports
Gary Neville described Chelsea as 'billion-pound bottle jobs' - PA/John Walton

Gary Neville admits he feared going too far with his “billion-pound bottle jobs” description of Chelsea and spoke to a Sky Sports producer over his on-air character assassination at the Carabao Cup final last weekend.

The former Manchester United captain said it took him less than a minute to come up with the phrase that summed up Chelsea’s decline under co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, but was undecided on whether to name Boehly in his post-match summary during Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Wembley.

Neville, speaking on his podcast The Overlap, said his comment came out of anger at the way Chelsea played in extra time of the final and that he felt vindicated when Mauricio Pochettino admitted his team wanted penalties.

“After the game I went to the producer and asked whether it was harsh, he said it might be a touch harsh, but he said, ‘We’re on television, in entertainment and it is one of the biggest moments this season, last-minute goal’, and secondly, ‘Did you think they bottled it?’” Neville said.

“I said that they froze in extra time, there is no doubt that they were playing with fear and froze.

“I was actually going to do a roll back on my podcast, the day after, and say that I shouldn’t have probably used that word ‘bottle’, but when I heard that Mauricio thought the team were playing for penalties, I thought that it was the epitome of freezing.”

Neville said he concocted the phrase in the aftermath of Virgil van Dijk’s winner while commentator Peter Drury started summarising the action.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that it was an instinctive and in-the-moment comment, I had one minute to think of that line. Peter Drury, the big moment after the cup final [winner], that’s the commentator’s moment, and he was on for about 30 to 35 seconds,” Neville said.

“I knew that [Jamie] Carragher would come in next because I could feel him next to me, wanting to come in, Liverpool scored, and he literally jumped up and turned around to his mate.

“I got progressively angrier during extra time with Chelsea, and I thought to myself, initially I was going to use [Todd] Boehly’s name, but I didn’t want to personalise it, then I thought, should I say it, is it too strong?

“I was thinking that as I said it and sometimes when you think that you might think that it’s a reason not to say it, but I felt as though it needed to be said, it’s a harsh line.”

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