Man Utd legend Neville: Good Christmas party can build team spirit

Manchester United legend Gary Neville says a good Christmas party can build team spirit and morale.

Neville wrote in the Mail on Sunday: "I understand why clubs and managers feel they have to take that step. When every phone is a camera, it’s almost impossible to allow yourself a night out. Even something relatively innocuous can cause problems for the club or the players in the media. And it’s always possible, as at any Christmas party across the country, that a serious incident might occur.

"But when people pinpoint the moment they thought Manchester United would win the Treble in 1999, most analysts will point to the amazing FA Cup semi-final win against Arsenal or the comeback in the Champions League against Juventus. But no one in that squad would underestimate the importance of December 21, 1998, the date of the Christmas party.

"As a squad, we would work hard all season, living disciplined lives, but would always have an eye on two events: the pre-season tour night out and the Christmas do. For years we would start the Christmas party in central Manchester for lunch and then move on to The Old Grapes pub by around five o’clock. An acoustic guitarist would be on stage and for two or three hours we would sing non-stop together as a group before going on to a private party which would go past midnight for as long as you could keep going.

"And if you could give me back 15 days of my life, then a good few of them would be in that pub singing those songs with my team-mates."

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