- Phil Neal
Football manager infobox
playername= Phil Neal
fullname = Philip George Neal
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1951|2|20|df=y
countryofbirth = England
position = Right full-back
years = 1968-1974
clubs = Northampton Town
caps(goals) = 187 0(27)
nationalyears = 1976-1983
nationalteam = England
nationalcaps(goals) = 050 0(5)
manageryears = 1985-1992
managerclubs = Bolton Wanderers
Manchester City (caretaker)
Philip George Neal (born 20 February 1951 in
Irchester, Northants) is a much-decorated former footballer who is the only player to have appeared in the first five of Liverpool's European Cup finals, winning four of them. He was a dependable full back. His son, Ashley Neal, also had a footballing career, albeit short-lived.
Life and playing career
Neal scored the crucial clinching penalty when the
Anfieldclub beat Borussia Monchengladbachin Rometo win the trophy for the first time in 1977 and subsequently played in the club's further successes in 1978 and 1981, beating FC Bruges and Real Madridrespectively, with both games ending 1-0.
In Liverpool's fourth final in 1984, Neal scored again - this time from open play and again in Rome - as Liverpool drew 1-1 with
A.S. Romaand won on a penalty shoot-out, during which Neal again scored. The following year he missed out on a phenomenal fifth winners' medal when Juventuswon 1-0 at Heysel in a match rendered meaningless because of the rioting beforehand in which 39 Juventus fans were killed and resulted in Liverpool's banishment from European club football.
Neal had a one hundred per cent record of appearances for the club in European Cup finals until a generation later when the 2005 side reached the final and won.
A full back who joined the club on the 9 October 1974 for
£66,000 after making his name in English football's lower divisions with Northampton Town, Neal was the first signing to be made by manager Bob Paisley, snapped up as a replacement for the ageing Chris Lawler. Although he played a few games on the left side of the defence, it was as an industrious, energetic right back that he made his name.
Neal made his Liverpool debut, at left-back, in the
Merseyside derbyagainst Everton at Goodison Parkon the 16 November 1974, although the league meeting between the two was the usual hard fought, 100 mph styled game, neither team managed to break the deadlock with the game ending 0-0, also making his Liverpool bow that day was midfielder Terry McDermott. Phil's first goal for the club came a year later on the 4 November 1975 during the 6-0 thrashing of Real Sociedadin a UEFA Cup2nd round 2nd leg tie at Anfield, Neal's goal came in the 79th minute and rounded off the scoring, it goes without saying that Liverpool won the tie, but they did so in style having already seen off Spanish side by 3 goals to 1 in the 1st leg.
Neal won eight Football League First Division 1 League championships, a record which has since been surpassed by Ryan Giggs' 10th winners medal in 2008. In 1976 he won the UEFA Cup. The following year, he was part of a side gunning for a unique treble of League,
FA Cupand European Cup. The title was won, but Liverpool then lost the FA Cup final to Manchester United at Wembley. It was testament to Liverpool's nerve and professionalism that they were able to put that disappointment behind them quickly to win that special first European Cup.
As proved with his late spot kick, Neal was a clinical penalty taker, a role he had taken on the previous season, although he did miss one in the hotbed of a
Merseysidederby game against fierce rivals Everton. He took the penalties throughout the early part of his long Anfield career, the responsibility later passing to Terry McDermott, and this bumped his goal tally to 60 in total, an impressive haul for a defensive player.
In 1978, Neal was in the Liverpool team which lost the League Cup final to Nottingham Forest but subsequently retained their European crown. The following year they won back the League title and then retained it in 1980. In 1981, the club's first League Cup came along before they added that third European Cup; and for the next two seasons Liverpool won both the League and League Cup.
Throughout this time, Neal never missed a League game for the club. He played 365 consecutive matches for Liverpool from 1975 to 1983, finally seeing this sequence brought to a halt after he suffered an injury which forced him out of one solitary match, it was a League Cup 2nd round 1st leg tie at
Griffin Parkon the 5 October '83, the versatile young Scot Steve Nicolcovered for the injured Neal as the Reds won comfortably by 4 goals to 1.
In 1984, Liverpool added their fourth European Cup to the League title and League Cup which they again retained. Neal maintained his place throughout this season and was rewarded with the captaincy by manager
Joe Faganafter Graeme Sounessdeparted for Sampdoria in the summer.
Unfortunately for Neal, his one season as captain turned out to be a year when Liverpool emerged trophyless and with their reputation after Heysel in tatters. Fagan quit as manager afterwards due to the grief and Neal lost the captaincy under new manager
Kenny Dalglish, who instead gave it to Alan Hansen.
Neal started the season in his regular role but Dalglish soon replaced him with Nicol, with his place going to the Scot, Neal departed Anfield after 11 years, joining Bolton Wanderers as player manager in the December 1985. When Liverpool won the League again that season (on their way to a "double with the FA Cup) Neal was awarded an eighth and final championship medal having made enough appearances to quaify for the medal, though it is a sad irony that the one domestic honour which eluded him, the FA Cup, was won by the club immediately before he arrived in 1974 and then immediately after he left in 1986, meaning he just missed out on both occasions.
He quit playing in 1989 (when player-manager of Bolton Wanderers) after more than 700 League appearances, as well as 50 caps for England between 1976 and 1983, scoring five goals. Only
Gary Nevillehas won more England caps as a right back. Neal was awarded his first by Don Revieon the 24 March 1976, Wales were the opposition and the Racecourse Groundthe venue as England won 2-1; Phil must have felt at home on his debut as club mates Ray Clemence, Phil Thompson, Ray Kennedyand Kevin Keegan(who skippered the side) were all picked and played the whole 90 minutes. His first goal for his country came on the 16 May 1978 during a British Home Championshipfixture at Wembley, enough to see off Northern Ireland by a goal to nil.
In December 1985, Neal was appointed player-manager of
Bolton Wanderersand managed the club for seven years. During this period, the club suffered relegation to the Fourth Division for the first (and only) time in their history, but won promotion the following season. The side reached the Third Division play-offs on a couple of occasions without success before leaving in 1992 (Bolton achieved promotion to the now First Division the following year under Bruce Rioch).
Neal left Bolton to embark upon what turned out to be a memorable if infamous spell as a right-hand man to Graham Taylor during his spell in charge of the England team. Neal was frequently heard to parrot Taylor on every tactical idea he had, without ever coming up with suggestions of his own. This was captured on
cameraduring a notorious fly on the wall documentary,"An Impossible Job", broadcast on Channel 4after Taylor's reign had ended in disappointing failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Neal became a mild source of ridicule as a result, though he continued to work as a coach and manager.
He was appointed manager of Coventry City in 1993. The 1993/94 season saw Coventry open with a 3-0 win over Arsenal at Highbury. Coventry finished that season in a respectable 11th place. The following season saw this form not maintained and Neal would be replaced as manager by
In recent years, Neal has worked as a football pundit for various television and radio organisations. He has also played for and coached the Liverpool masters side which dominated the Sky Sports Masters series.
He has written two autobiographies, being 'Attack From The Back' in 1981 and 'Life At The Kop' in 1986.
* League Championship: 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986
UEFA Cup: 1976
Charity Shield: 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982
* European Cup: 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984
European Super Cup: 1977
Football League Cup: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984
FA CupRunner-up: 1977
European Super CupRunner-up: 1978, 1984
Football League CupRunner-up: 1978
Intercontinental Cup: Runner-up: 1981, 1984
Charity ShieldRunner-up: 1983, 1984
* European Cup Runner-up: 1985
Honours as manager
Football League Fourth DivisionPromotion (IV) with Bolton Wanderers
Sherpa Van Trophywith Bolton Wanderers
* [http://www.thisisanfield.com/columnists/2006/06/exclusive-interview-phil-neal/ Thisisanfield.com Exclusive interview]
* [http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/team/past_players/players/neal/ Official past players at Liverpoolfc.tv]
* [http://www.lfchistory.net/player_profile.asp?player_id=387 Player profile at LFChistory.net]
* [http://www.lfchistory.net/player_articles_view.asp?article_id=369&player_id=387 Exclusive interview at LFChistory.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_international.asp?HeroID=11286 Phil Neal England Biography part 1 1976-77 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_international.asp?HeroID=11287 Phil Neal England Biography part 2 1978 - June 82 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_international.asp?HeroID=11288 Phil Neal England Biography part 3 1982 World Cup-83 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_international.asp?HeroID=3760 Phil Neal England caps part 1 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_international.asp?HeroID=3761 Phil Neal England caps part 2 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=3509 Phil Neal part 1 1974/75-1977/78 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=7519 Phil Neal part 2 1978/79-1982/83 at Sporting-heroes.net]
* [http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=3509 Phil Neal part 3 1983/84-1985/86 at Sporting-heroes.net]
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