The Portland Timbers sent fans into a frenzy when they announced that Phil Neville has been hired as manager for the 2024 season. Protests from the clubs supporters – including the ‘Timbers Army’ – fell on deaf ears. and Portland moved to land the Englishmen after releasing Giovanni Savarese in the middle of last season.
The appointment is Neville’s third managerial role after spending three years in charge of the England women’s team and two years with Inter Miami. In a statement confirming the move, Timbers general manager Ned Grabavoy said: “We are delighted to welcome Phil Neville as the new head coach of the Portland Timbers, and we hope Phil and his family feel at home in Portland.
“Phil’s character is the right person to lead this team forward as we continue to reshape the group and aim to return to continued success. Because of his leadership qualities, his diverse experience as a coach, and his ambition to evolve, he has been a great success here in Portland.”
However, the appointment of Neville – who was fired by Inter Miami after starting the 2023 season with five wins and 10 losses – will have Portland fans worried. A scathing statement issued by the Timbers’ Army Steering Committee referred to sexist comments Neville posted on social media in 2012.
“The Portland Timbers are currently rebuilding a team on the field as well as their ongoing efforts to rebuild trust among their fans and the community.” statement read. “We are very disappointed that the club has settled on a head coach who has a history of sexist public statements that go against our ethos as a club, city and support group, and also has no proven track record. manager.
“We ask the Timbers to reconsider this hire and re-evaluate other candidates before finalizing a contract.”
Neville has since apologized for his comments, but they remain over his head as tensions rise at his new club. The 46-year-old, who has won 35 of 90 games in charge of Inter Miami, is ready to take on the Timbers in their quest for a first MLS title since 2015.
“I’m really excited about the challenge ahead, and from the first moment I met the team I knew it was the right opportunity for me, the right club for me and the right city for me,” said Neville. “The fans are the most important part of this football club with their intensity and support, and I think this trip will be something special.
“I have wonderful memories of visiting Portland, which reminds me of my hometown of Manchester, and I can’t wait for my family to get to know this beautiful city.”
After leaving Miami, Neville joined the Canadian national team under John Herman, helping the team reach the quarterfinals of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the final of the 2023 CONCACAF Nations League. Canada finished second in the Nations League after falling 2-0 to the United States.
Meanwhile, Portland has made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons – finishing 10th in the Western Conference in 2023. Those consecutive seasons without playoff football come after Portland Losing the 2021 MLS Cup Final to New York City FC at home via penalty. .
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