Gary Neville explains why he refused to sing God Save the Queen at Euro 96

The former Three Lions right-back admits the decision was a ‘big mistake’

Sports Staff
Thursday 23 June 2022 09:49
Comments
<p>Gary Neville had his say after United’s defeat (Isaac Parkin/PA)</p>

Gary Neville had his say after United’s defeat (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Gary Neville has revealed that he refused to sing God Save the Queen at Euro 96 as part of a protest against an “FA suit” who ordered him to do so.

Neville described the act as “stubbornness” when he failed to join his England team-mates to sing the national anthem at Wembley.

The 47-year-old has reflected on his decision and concedes it was a “big mistake”.

“I didn’t sing it the first time I played for England,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “Partly because I thought, ‘I’m serious about my work and I’m not singing before a game.’”

Neville has detailed how an FA boss, Geoff Thompson, explained to him following a match against Japan in 1995: “You must sing the anthem.”

Neville recalled: “I said, ‘I’m not being told by some suits what to do.’”

Neville’s decision comes after Liverpool player Trent Alexander-Arnold, 23, attracted criticised for not singing God Save the Queen while lining up for England to play against Hungary on 4 June.

The former Manchester United right-back elaborated on his interaction with Thompson in his Mail column back in 2011.

“He [Thompson] only ever sought out one conversation with me,” Neville recalls. “Did he want to pick my brains on World Cup preparation? Or ask how the FA could help behind the scenes? No, Mr Thompson wanted to know why I didn’t sing the National Anthem.

“‘Gary, we’d rather appreciate it if you joined in,’ he said. I had to politely explain that no disrespect was intended, I preferred to spend those few minutes, as I’d done all my career, focusing on the match. And that was the extent of my dealings with the chairman of the FA.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in