Due to his record and past posts on social media, the move has elicited a strong negative reaction by fans - and reportedly some internal staff.
The vitriol over this hiring is just a bit too much. I'm gonna give him a chance. There is some nuance to his previous jobs that shows he's not as bad as some paint him to be. Is he who I would hire? Nope. But I'm holding out hope this works.
There are a lot of coaches who work really hard to make it and invest their time learning the hard way by coaching through the ranks. Then there is the likes of Rooney, Lampard, and Neville, who fall into the top jobs with no experience other than they played at a high level. Then they fail a couple of times and still get another top job.
I could write 10 paragraphs about this. I won't. I became a Timbers fan and MLS fan in the summer of '15 when I moved here. We got our season tickets a couple years later (thanks overpriced new wing of Stadium!) My wife and I have so many hats, scarves, jerseys, t-shirts and other assorted Timbers gear, we could go half a month without doing laundry and still rep the Timbers every day.
Due to front office crap, which we considered serious, we decided to step back from the Timbers.
We dropped our season tickets last year and begrudgingly paid for MLStv or whatever it's called. We watched every Timbers game and more than a few other games during the season.
Now they hired Neville.
See ya. We're out. Last straw, etc.
It was fun. There were 3 or 4 really good years in there. But the Timbers have proven beyond a reasonable doubt they don't care that much if I'm part of the fanbase or not, so we're gonna be Winterhawk fans or something, I guess.
Hope you guys have a lot of happiness in your journeys as people and as sports fans, and I really hope the Timbers don't continue to be an organization you have to apologize being a fan of.
Time for some controversial hot takes. Fans who believe their opinions should control who gets hired as a head coach (any where) are at best delusional and at worst arrogant. I have no idea what was said at the interviews, what vetting was done by the front office, etc. Perhaps this choice was made because of how Neville might get more from certain key players, etc. We simply don’t know.
As for the tweets, they’re over a decade old, he’s apologized, and there haven’t been any such comments since - that I’m aware of. So, I think he’s earned a second chance. I get the past problems with Riley and co. are still painful for many, but Neville wasn’t involved. He shouldn’t be tarred with all that. If you want to be mad at ownership and management, feel free. Just don’t expect that anger to influence these sorts of choices.
I get people question Neville’s ability to coach. I think it’s rare that someone - even former EPL players - walks onto a pitch and instantly becomes a great coach. There’s a learning curve like anything else. Past failures should not be shocking, nor should they be overly influential. Fraser is highly regarded even though the Rapids were a disaster. To a great extent that’s because of crappy ownership and lousy roster. If that’s the case, why isn’t Neville afforded some slack? He went into an expansion team with a mediocre roster at best and facing league sanctions that would make it virtually impossible to improve the team. Additionally, he had lots of injuries to deal with. I think it’s unfair to state he was a failure in Miami without at least giving those issues some consideration.
Finally, I have no idea if this team will be successful or not in the future. But to take the position that Neville is crap and ownership is purposely giving fans an FU might be a bit of an overreaction.
I’ll admit to not being nearly as torqued about the sexism as I should be, but that’s probably from being a GI for twenty years and being immersed in that sort of crude/stupid jock-speak. Dumb jocks say dumb jock things, film at eleven!
Mind you, it does provide an interesting view into this joker’s head. How clever are you (assuming that he was thinking - if that’s the right term - of a managerial career even then) if you don’t see that slagging 50% of your prospective fanbase in public is a bad idea? Hmmm…so not exactly Soccer Einstein, Phil, eh?
No, it’s the Peter Principle upfail from this guy and what it says about the immense reservoir of mediocrity that Peregrine represents.
Even if you lean hard into his England runners-up-match (loss!) and first-round playoff (loss!) in Miami…how are these anything but “meh”?
His respective successors come along and improve both squads. He admits failing badly enough to cause his sacking in England and his rep in Miami is bad enough to worry the staff here. How is this anything but “meh”?
Sorry, but I’m tired of “meh” from this club. Fourth places and playoff losses? Sorry, not good enough, and neither is this dumb jock.
Porter and 2015 are looking increasingly like the exceptions that proof the Peregrine Rule of Mediocrity .
The problem I have with this hire from a non-football angle (more on the football angle in a sec) is not that I don't think a person deserves a chance to learn and grow from their mistakes. The problem is the context. Showing you've corrected a mistake is a continual, ongoing process, even for mistakes that happened more than a decade ago. Every place Neville works will serve as a context for his continued demonstration that he's put that sexist crap behind him and grown as a person. But is an organization with a recent and very serious history of sexual harassment, tone-deaf statements about said history, etc. the right context? I'd argue this might be the LAST club where this should be happening. Well...second-to-last, the last being Thorns FC.
Oh, and the footy? The guy has a mediocre record. I'm kind of on the fence about him from a pure coaching perspective.
It sucks as a fan to have to doubt your team. I could forgive Neville in another situation (at least on face value), but how could anyone think this was going to go well against the un-scabbed wounds from the recent past?
This is the hire I expect from a. Merritt Paulson owned team. I used to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he’s a literal train wreck with no common sense. I keep on wanting a reason to buy the tickets I gave up when it became obvious he was hiding stuff rather than taking ownership of the harassment culture surrounding the franchise. I’m further away today than i was yesterday.
I just hope the new owner of the Thorns comes in soon, so they can do a clean break.
“The fans are the most important part of this football club with their intensity and support, and I think this journey is going to be something special." Well, this is awkward.
This is a dereliction of duty by the entire Timbers FO. I can't believe they actually went through with this. And I don't even say that as a "look at the reaction on social media" thing, which isn't my main concern (but also isn't nothing!). My main concern is that Neville has been bad wherever he's gone, and even something as simple as a Wikipedia search of "Phil Neville" would have revealed that to a front office who gave a damn.
Instead we're going to get to watch a guy who Peter Principle'd his way to what should be one of the premier jobs in MLS. He's in no way deserving of another MLS head coaching job, and yet here we are, proving to the entire league that the Timbers are not a team that is going to matter or be relevant in any significant way for years to come.
Fuck you, Merritt.
So I want to connect some threads. On the one hand, after the fans cheered the Thorns on to the bitter end in a rainy night on Sunday:
“The fans are what make this place what it is. There is no other place like it. They were so loud today," says their coach.
Meanwhile, on the Timbers side, the club looks at a hire they know will anger a fan base just recovering from sexism scandals, and they say: yup, FU fans, we're taking this dude here, because although he's not got a great coaching record, he's a real soccer bro.
The chasm between the front office and the fan base they depend on to make Portland what it is just really widened. Also: how's this going to impact the actual jewel of the franchise, the Thorns? Who's coming here after that?
This is so very difficult in two ways, as people are noting. Yes he apologized for his tweets, but you don't just say things like that accidentally. And it wasn't just one comment, it was multiple comments, including one about being happy about beating his wife. It makes me think he apologized only to try to push back on the reaction, as he never fully explained why he'd say those things in the first place.
As for his managerial career, I am equally unimpressed. Yes he faced limitations due to Miami having roster penalties due to their roster manipulations in 2020, but he never produced anything at Miami, and he was fined by MLS for calling for an investigation into referees' calls against his team at one point.
I just can't help but feel there were better choices out there, as a coach with multiple anti-woman comments on his record and a below-average MLS coaching record misses the mark in both respects.
And how does Miles Joseph feel about Neville being picked above him?
When I root, I root for the Timbers.
I did not root this past year, and won't again until Paulson sells.
At the press conference Phil pointed out the obvious elephant in the room: lack of production from the DPs. He said Evander has 10-15 percent more goals and assists in him, and due to the lack of production from the rest of the DPs, Portland was mediocre. To win, you need productive DPs. You can't coach your way out of the lower rungs with average talent over a sustainable period. Gio was successful when he had Valeri and Blanco firing on all cylinders, and for a moment, Brian Fernandez. This offseason and who becomes our new DPs will determine whether Phil will be successful or not.
Also, Phil talked about having an identity as a team, and that we as fans will know right from the start what that will be. I've seen his Miami teams - they definitely attack and like the ball. So, I'm hopeful we will see entertaining soccer.
Also, tied to the DP talk, they want guys who are leaders, and they mentioned that there were guys who had been here a long time but that they were looking to add leadership. I don't know if I am reading into this too much, but it seemed like a shot at (pick one: DC, Dairon or Blanco?) or all of the above? Who of those three will be back?
Also, what about Santi? Does he become a new DP?
While it is important to add attacking DP firepower (Josef Martinez anyone?!), please add a centerback of quality and please look into a right back to upgrade Mosquera (Maybe it's Asprilla - he did a great job against Houston! I'm still salty Asprilla didn't start that game. What disrespect for the way he had been playing.)
Finally, looking forward to the stories of Phil interacting with the TA!
This hiring has “we’re a 8-14 team for the foreseeable future” written all over it.
Wanna know how much MP has devalued the Timbers brand over the last few years? Get a load of the new shirt sponsor.