The Rio Report

BBC receive 445 complaints about Phil Neville from people with WAY too much time on their hands

The Rio Report

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The BBC have received over 400 complaints from viewers about Phil Neville's commentary during England's defeat to Italy on Saturday.

The former Manchester United coach made his co-commentary debut for the game in Manaus, and certainly didn't have the liveliest delivery style, even if his actual analysis was generally pretty good.

However, that didn't stop the easily-outraged of the nation calling in, with a BBC spokesperson telling the Guardian that 445 people have phoned up to complain about Neville's punditry.

Neville came in for plenty of criticism on Twitter, but seemed to have a sense of humour about the whole thing himself.

The BBC said Neville is “an important, well-respected member of our team” and “would continue to play a key role throughout the tournament”.

And we've got a lot of sympathy for that point of view. Really, quite why a grown adult human being would take the time to complain about a pundit with a slightly boring voice is unclear.

But complain they do. And in droves.

There are lots of villains in this story, but Neville isn't one of them.

Top of the list, of course, are the people who have enough time on their hands to find the BBC's complaints division phone number, dial it, and speak to a person to complain about something so ludicrously inconsequential.

But a large share of the blame must be for the BBC themselves, since in their wisdom they decision to make Neville's first job - his first EVER job in broadcasting, let's be clear - was for probably the single biggest group stage match of England's World Cup.

Wouldn't it have been better to have blooded him during Switzerland v Honduras, or Iran v Nigeria before moving him on to a game that would attract tens of millions of viewers?

Of course it would. But not many people bothered to think that through on Twitter during and after the match, instead just piling in and slating his lack of vocal dynamism:

Even fellow sports-stars-turned-broadcasters, who you'd think would know better, stuck the boot in:

Neville's display also inspired a new parody account: Boring Phil Neville, inspired by the now famous Boring James Milner spoof Twitter account.

But not everybody was so cruel. From the most surprising of sources, Neville had some unlikely celebrity backing:

Let's hope that Ricky Gervais can spark a backlash against the backlash. The campaign starts here: let's have Phil Neville co-commentating on every England match for the rest of the tournament!

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