Following the backlash received by Steve Bruce after his sacking from Newcastle, many managers across the men’s and women’s game have had their say on the role of social media in football.
Now, one former Lionesses’ boss has criticised the hate managers and players receive online.
Phil Neville, who managed England’s Women between 2018 and 2021, explained that Steve Bruce’s treatment online was some of the most “disgusting things” he had seen in his “whole life.”
The former England Women’s manager made the comments ahead of the MLS match between Miami FC and Atlanta United.
Speaking to the Miami Herald, Neville said: “Social media is an absolute cesspit for people that are just the lowest of the lowest.
“The Steve Bruce case went beyond criticism. It was a form of bullying, disgusting behaviour, and trolling.
“People don’t probably realise that the things they are writing hurt families, hurt human beings, people that have problems in their lives – and nothing gets done about it.
“I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with that.”
Neville’s comments come in his first role since managing England’s Women.
The former Manchester United defender had a mixed-spell in charge of the national side.
Under Neville, the Lionesses won the SheBelieves Cup for the first time, reached the World Cup Semi-final and also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
However, Neville was criticised for appearing and often communicating that women’s football was lucky to have him.
In one particular press conference he said: “So, do you know what? Thank your lucky stars. I’m here. I’m here to stay. I have a vision that nobody else has. I’ve got bravery that no other coach has probably had.”
After his departure from England Women, Neville is now managing Miami FC – a team owned by Manchester United legend David Beckham.
Earlier this summer, Miami recorded six straight defeats under Phil Neville’s stewardship and – at one point – had the worst record across the MLS.
Despite their drab start, Neville’s side could still reach the play-offs with three games to go in the regular season following back-to-back wins and a sudden change of fortunes.
The ex-Manchester United and Everton player, who played alongside Steve Bruce at Manchester United in the 1990s, was quick to come to his former teammates’ defence following the online criticism last week.
He added that social media is a dangerous bubble, with a lack of consequences unlike the real world.
“It just seems to be accepted that you go out there and abuse whoever you want in the football world, a manager or player, and you can get away with it,” outlined Neville, who decided to leave his post as England Women’s manager last January.
If you were at any other workplace and you walked into a shop and you said: ‘I want you to be sacked, I want you to be sacked,’ I think you would be reported to the police.
“If it happened on the street, you’d get arrested.”