Yesterday brought the confirmation that England women’s manager Phil Neville will not see his contract renewed upon its culmination next summer.
The 43-year-old won the Champions League and six Premier League titles with Manchester United but has struggled to convey his vast playing experience in the men’s game to his managerial ability in the women’s.
He will now undertake a bizarre 15-month period, with no games scheduled, until his contract expires next summer and his first job in management concludes.
Its understood that the FA decided not to sack Neville and pay up the remaining year on his contract because they have some staff on furlough, and are cutting the pay of others.
The saga only gets more complicated as Neville has ultimately lost his job due to the postponement of EURO 20201 until the following year, but his contract is due to end before the now re-scheduled 2021 Olympic Games.
The question now being posed is whether the FA can afford to extend his contract to cover the Olympics when a potential successor may want that to be part of the deal.
Whether Neville takes charge of Team GB at the Olympics or not; his reign, which was described as an ‘experiment’ by some, in charge of the England women’s team – is over.
Neville’s tenure in full
When Neville was appointed in January 2018 the FA spoke about his “winning mentality”; which they believed would take England to the next level, having reached the semi-finals at their past two major tournaments.
His reign, however, started in turmoil after historical comments were discovered on his social media, which could have been deemed derogatory towards women.
Neville wasn’t charged and remained in his job; and two months later took England to the SheBelieves Cup, where they lost 1-0 to the USA in their final group match.
A win in that game would have secured a maiden trophy for his Lionesses; but instead, they had to settle for a runners up spot as the United States, who would prove to be Neville’s nemeses, took the gold.
A year on and they returned to America in what seemed to be the turning point in Neville’s reign.
Wins over Brazil and Japan, sandwiched by a 2-2 draw with the States, meant that England had gone one better and won the SheBelieves Cup.
It was the best possible preparation ahead of his debut World Cup; as the country reached fever pitch with a populous enamoured by the female game.
But they crashed out at the same stage as the last two tournaments, in the semi-final, as Neville failed to deliver on what he had been appointed to do.
To get to the last four they beat Norway in the quarter-final, which turned out to be the beginning of a sequence of results which would see the Lionesses lose seven out of their last 11 games.
England failed to retain their SheBelieves Cup title this year; as they eventually finished third out of a group of four teams, losing 1-0 to Spain on March 11th – which will prove to be the last instalment of the Neville experiment.