Gary Neville reveals Sky conversation following ‘billion-pound bottle jobs’ line

Gary Neville reveals Sky conversation following ‘billion-pound bottle jobs’ line

Gary Neville with Mauricio Pochettino inset

(Image credit: Getty Images)
Gary Neville has spoken about his now infamous blasting of Chelsea as “billion-pound bottle jobs”, reflecting on the moment that the Blues lost the League Cup final.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, the former Manchester United star revealed that he spoke to a producer behind the scenes over the labelling of Chelsea’s side as bottlers, which has since been claimed is “is going to stick until they win something big,” by Neville’s colleague, Jamie Carragher.

“I think Mauricio Pochettino got asked about that [‘billion-pound bottle jobs’ comment] after the game, and he’s right to respond to that because he’s asked directly after the game, it wasn’t a piece of analysis that was done 24 hours later,” Neville said of his commentary.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 6: Raheem Sterling of Chelsea celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's third goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Chelsea and Preston North End at Stamford Bridge on January 6, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Chelsea were heavily criticised by Neville (Image credit: Getty Images)

“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, that’s the commentator’s moment, and he was on for about 30-35 seconds. 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 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.”

Interestingly, Neville revealed that an unnamed producer agreed that the line was harsh. The former full-back even referenced claiming that David Luiz looked like he was, “being controlled by a 10-year-old on a PlayStation,” saying that regretted getting personal over the Brazilian defender’s performance.

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

David Luiz

Neville once criticised David Luiz – and felt he’d gone too far (Image credit: PA)

“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.

“When I think of it today, people say it’s a great line, but I don’t think of it as a great line, I don’t feel proud about it. I remember my David Luiz comment ten years ago, and I regret that because it was personal. I don’t personalise a line anymore. ‘Bottle’ doesn’t mean cowardness, they just froze on the day, we froze in games sometimes, in Champions League semi-finals.

”Sometimes you do freeze – Manchester United, the year before they won the Premier League title against Leeds, they bottled the run in. We bottled the run-in, when we were without Roy in 1998, against Arsenal – we’ve all bottled run-ins.”

More Chelsea stories

Arsenal to move for €100m Chelsea flop Mykhaylo Mudryk, in shock transfer twist: report

Chelsea ready to offload their ‘smartest signing’ of last summer, following League Cup embarrassment: report

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino hits back at Gary Neville’s ‘billion pound bottle jobs’ jibe


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Mark White has been at on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, first as a staff writer before becoming content editor in 2023. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also represented FFT at both FA Cup and League Cup finals (though didn’t receive a winners’ medal on either occasion) and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson’s season at Barcelona to Robinho’s career. He has written cover features for the mag on Mikel Arteta and Martin Odegaard, and is assisted by his cat, Rosie, who has interned for the brand since lockdown.

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