Footballers cannot win, can they? They get it in the neck from the neighbours when they build naff palaces with monogrammed gates and mock-Tudor facades. Yet they get the same opprobrium when they try to commission something stylish, modern and socially conscious. At least, that seems to be the depressing conclusion to be drawn from the public objections to Gary Neville's proposals to build a futuristic eco-home in the Lancashire countryside.
But we believe that the veteran Manchester United defender should not be deterred from his green ambitions. It is gratifying to see an environmentalist footballer.
Indeed, we believe Mr Neville should go further in his quest for carbon efficiency. Some ideas: a small turbine to be set up in the Old Trafford dressing room to tap the wind energy unleashed by his manager's infamous half-time rants; solar panels to absorb the glare from Mr Neville's flashier teammates' diamond ear-rings; and there are opportunities galore in the club car park – all those Jaguars and Bentleys should be replaced with a fleet of G-Wizes. No excuses, Gary. An eco-warrior needs to be prepared to think big.