Gary Neville’s Lesson In Leadership at Annual Head’s Lecture

“Do your best and push yourself,” was the advice given by former Manchester United Captain and Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville when he spoke at CHS’s annual Head’s Lecture.
Over 400 pupils and parents attended the talk, hearing the former Class of ’92 player and part-owner of Salford City F.C speak about his life before, during and after his football career. He also spoke of the importance of having ambition and the makings of a successful team.
Gary said: “All the Class of ’92 were resilient – it’s a great quality, to keep going. Stay focused and get the job done,” he told the audience. “The players had skill but they also worked hard. They had mental and physical ability too which made them incredibly strong. Skill isn’t the most important, but when it’s combined with those other things, it can be devastating.”
CHS’s pupils and parents also heard about Gary’s early football training with Manchester United youth team coaches, Eric Harrison and Nobby Stiles. “They really put us through our paces and we learned real values… in the early days we cleaned boots and were heavily criticised, never received too much praise and were physically tested. We’d be dropped even so we could experience what that felt like and learn how to fail. It made us stronger,” he revealed.
“It’s important to be tested, sometimes you can be surprised how far you can go and being pushed to your limit can really help build your confidence and belief.” Gary added: “People can’t take criticism anymore. You have to learn to lose. Sir Alex never let us get carried away.”
Affirming that the path to success never runs smooth, Gary also spoke candidly about his time at as Manager of Valencia’s football team, admitting he had made mistakes but has also learned from them. “You can’t make excuses and my time at Valencia taught me that. I should’ve made quicker decisions.”
Gary also told of how his career has diversified now he has taken on the challenge of property development in central Manchester and his plans for new University, U92. “It came about because I felt underwhelmed that people were coming out of university without the skills to help them in the real world. There’s often a lot of criticism of footballers, saying they’re this and that, have no personalities, and we’re very accepting of that. It’s not right.”
“Between the ages of 16 and 21 you should be armed with traits to help you through life. You need life skills like managing budgets and learning how to stand up and speak in front of people, those life skills should be brought in to the curriculum.”
Speaking in conversation with Head, Lucy Pearson, Gary said; “I’d advise the students here tonight to just get out there and do it; get work experience, even in places you wouldn’t want to work. It’s important to learn to deal with uncomfortable situations, get out of your comfort zone – it’ll help later in life.”
The School’s Head’s Lecture series offers a platform for thought-provoking speakers to challenge and inspire the School’s community with their perspective on a variety of issues.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville in conversation with Cheadle Hulme School headteacher Lucy Pearson as the guest speaker at the heads lecture event