Tracey Neville, twin sister of Phil and the third England international to come from the infamous Neville family, has described coaching Bury-based Superleague team, Northern Thunder, as her ‘dream job.’
Speaking exclusively to Mancunian Matters Neville, who left her role as head coach of Team Northumbria to take charge of Thunder this summer, said: “I never thought ‘oh I want to be a netball coach’ but if I was to have any job this would be it for Northern Thunder.
“It was always a place I wanted to end up and be near my family, and be at the franchise I actually started playing my netball.
“It’s great to be back in the North West and to be giving something back to the region which supported me for 20 years of my netball career.
“The support I’ve had from all the coaches in the region and all the counties has just been phenomenal and I know that they just want me to succeed and it’s great to have that support behind me.”
Neville believes that netball has a low media profile because it suffers from the stigma of being a schoolgirl sport: “I think it is up there with a lot of female sports that are not recognised,” the former England goal shooter added.
“It has got a stigma on it as being a schoolgirl’s sport and [people] say it’s not attractive but as anyone who saw last weekend will know, it is a really physically demanding sport.
“It does have a lot of contact and it is exciting to watch but because of the stigma of old-schoolgirl game, I think that’s why the media just haven’t picked up on it.
“Hopefully from all the press coverage over the last few weeks people will get behind and support female sport and in particular netball.”
In tomorrow’s MM netball story… Find out which Premier League legends have lent their support to Northern Thunder, and read Tracey Neville’s hopes for the upcoming Superleague season.