Hadleigh: Will the real Phil Neville please stand up? Radiator salesman confused for World Cup football commentator faces Twitter abuse
An Ipswich Town fan who shares his name with a football commentator has faced abuse on social media.
Phil Neville, from Station Yard, Hadleigh, has for years caused chuckles when people link him to former Manchester United and Everton player, also Phil Neville.
But when a torrent of abuse was launched at the football star for his poor commentary during England’s World Cup defeat against Italy, radiator sales director Mr Neville, got caught in the crossfire.
The confusion came as the Hadleigh Mr Neville, 60, has a Twitter name of @philneville, while the sportsman is @fizzer18.
As a result hundreds of opinions on the commentary were sent by hapless TV viewers who did not check the Twitter profiles to the Hadleigh man.
Some of the comments were abusive, including “I hope you die” and “I hope you get cancer”.
Fortunately Mr Neville has seen the funny side and has even tried to turn his accidental celebrity status into an advertising opportunity for his wife’s company.
Mr Neville, who also supports Arsenal as well as the Blues, said: “I was born with the name and people always remember it because of the footballer. Before Twitter people would say ‘I see you hit the headlines again’ when he was in the papers.
“I have had some fun with it at times.”
Mr Neville went out to watch the football with friends and left his phone at home.
When he returned the phone kept going off with Twitter notifications, but he ignored it until the next morning.
“I reckon I’ve had about 1,000 tweets,” Mr Neville said.
“This weekend has been unbelievable, just unreal.
“There were a lot of Fs and Cs, particularly from Liverpool fans, but for me it’s been more fun than abusive.
“I don’t take any notice. I haven’t gone to the police because it’s not for me, but there are some sad people out there.
“A few have said sorry when they have realised and have seen the funny side too.
“I have been able to laugh at it, it has been amusing and it just keeps getting funnier.
“Apparently he has said he will try to do better so I am sure my phone will come alive again.”
Mr Neville has now become a celebrity in his own right, and has been offered the chance to do his own commentary on the next England game on Thursday evening.
And what did he think of the match – and commentary – itself?
“The game was excellent to watch,” Mr Neville, himself a former Premier League official and long-time referee said.
“But I must admit when listening in the first half I didn’t realise it was him, but he was terrible.
“It was only when they went back to the commentary team for the second half and they said it was him I couldn’t believe it.”
The pundit Mr Neville, 37, has welcomed the feedback on his first live commentary and said the criticism “will only make me better”.