Salford University Business School’s decision to award Gary Neville an honorary PhD in science is one of the less incredulity-inspiring examples of the world of academia milking football for PR points.
Manchester United stalwart Neville set up the Sustainability in Sport Foundation as well as a sustainable design practice called Zerum in 2005.
Previously, publicity hungry institutions have handed out mortarboards to such luminaries of the game as Chris Eagles and Alan Shearer for services to Science and Civil Law respectively.
As such it’s borderline criminal that the following quintet have not long since been recognised for their contributions to various forms of human endeavour long before the Dean of news.bwin.com/en/ gave them the nod.
Lee Cattermole, Honorary Doctor of Politics for services to pacifism
The Middlesbrough, Wigan and Sunderland enforcer’s sacrifice for the greater good during his career cannot be underestimated.
On a game-by-game basis his willingness to get sent off early doors has forestalled countless potential acts of violence by teammates.
Long-term, his ridiculous disciplinary record means he has done more than virtually any other footballer to consign seventies-retro thuggery to the dustbin of football history.
Lionel Messi, Honorary Doctor of Science for services to Medical Ethics
Seldom is a matter of academic debate utterly nailed in the way Messi has closed the case on the use of Human Growth Hormone among child footballers…
Harry Redknapp, Honorary Doctor of Literature for services to literacy
Despite telling the police “I write like a two-year-old and I can’t spell” and “You talk to anybody at the football club. I don’t write. I couldn’t even fill a team sheet in.” Redknapp has carved out a successful career as a football manager.
Imagine how good he could have been if he’d had the benefits of a first class education in letters.
Joey Barton, Honorary Doctor of Media Studies for services to entertainment
From his near constant Twitter commentary on every aspect of life from Neymar’s inadequacies to the Israel/Palestine conflict, to first-class acting for erstwhile Marseille teammate Rod Fanni’s Rodeo Nuts production company, Barton is a modern day Citizen Kane.
Tony Hibbert, Honorary Doctor of Religious Studies for services to patience
If Mother Teresa, Ghandi and Hibbert were all desperate to use the only toilet in the house after an interminable motorway schlep you can bet the Everton full-back would be the last one to relieve himself.
After a tantric career spelling 319 appearances over 14 seasons for Everton, his wait for a first career goal continues.