Gary Neville tells footballers to ‘speak with authenticity’ after Bruno Fernandes published apology


‘It’s embarrassing… sack the PR managers and get on with it’: Gary Neville tells footballers to ‘speak with some authenticity’ after Bruno Fernandes published an ESSAY apologising for his penalty miss

  • Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty that would have salvaged a draw on Saturday
  • He blazed his spot kick over the bar and Aston Villa won 1-0 at Old Trafford
  • Portuguese apologised to fans in a move that is becoming commonplace
  • Gary Neville has hit out at the sanitized, PR-led space player social media is now
  • He wrote: ‘They need to sack their PR people, speak with some authenticity’


Gary Neville has savaged the sanitized, carefully curated world of footballers on social media and told players to ‘sack the PR managers’. 

The Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United right-back expressed his deep frustration at the lack of authenticity of players online. 

Many stars have teams of people running their Twitter and Instagram accounts, carefully crafting their output while the individuals themselves have nothing to do with it. 

Bruno Fernandes missed his penalty late in the game against Aston Villa and apologised for it

Fernandes posted a lengthy apology message online

Gary Neville wants players to be authentic and called out the PR managers controlling social media

Fernandes had a carefully constructed apology put out and Neville wants players to be authentic online rather than have PR managers running their accounts 

Neville’s latest remarks came during a Q&A on Twitter when he was asked if players should really be apologising for mistakes such as missed penalties after matches. 

And in the wake of Bruno Fernandes’ lengthy lament on Instagram having blazed over his spot kick at the death against Villa, Neville signalled his intent to call out the PR men. 

He wrote: ‘It’s embarrassing! They need to sack their PR people , speak with some authenticity and get on with it. 

‘I’m going to go big on this in the next few weeks . They’ve all got these comms managers, that are creating personalities that don’t exist!’

Fernandes blasted his penalty over the bar when he could have earned United a point

Fernandes blasted his penalty over the bar when he could have earned United a point 

It is not known how much Fernandes had to do with the writing or posting of his 187-word apology online but his Instagram story read: ‘Nobody is more frustrated or disappointed than me for missing the penalty and the consequent defeat. 

‘I’ve always assumed my responsibilities and I’ve always embraced them under pressure in moments like this. Today, I failed, but I took a step forward and embraced the challenge with the same ambition and responsibility as when, on the many other occasions, the ball ended up in the back of the net. 

‘Criticism is contrasting and opinions are a big part of football. I’ve learned to live with it, even using them to drive me on, and I consider it a very big part of my commitment to never stop trying to improve and become the best player I can possibly be, for me and the team. 

‘Today, I once again took the responsibility given to me when I joined United and I will take it again without fear or dread whenever called upon. 

Fernandes trudged off at Old Trafford having skied his attempt but said he will take them again

Fernandes trudged off at Old Trafford having skied his attempt but said he will take them again

It is not known whether Fernandes wrote the apology himself or had a PR team put it together

It is not known whether Fernandes wrote the apology himself or had a PR team put it together

‘The most important thing for me is to win together and I’ll always do everything I can to help my team-mates and the club be the best we can be.

‘Thank you for all of the support after the final whistle! Hearing you chanting my name in the stadium was very emotional. I will come back stronger for me, because these are the standards I hold myself to but also for my team-mates and fans who have always supported.’ 

Prior to taking the penalty, Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez tried to play mind games, loudly telling Cristiano Ronaldo that he should be the one taking it. 

Fernandes’ position as the team’s penalty taker has come under the spotlight since his Portugal team-mate rejoined United, as the legendary striker is used to having the responsibility. 

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer denied that Martinez’s mind games impacted Fernandes and it will be fascinating to see whether the midfielder remains on spot kicks, as his apology intimated he would. 

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) is accustomed to being the penalty taker at his previous clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) is accustomed to being the penalty taker at his previous clubs 

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