Neil was a Scottish Under-21 international who started his career with Morton, but came to prominence in the Football League with Tottenham. Bolton splashed out £250,000 for the battling midfielder in November 1978, before Brighton & Hove Albion acquired his services for the fee of £220,000 in February 1980.
Neil joined Manchester City from Brighton in 1983 for £35,000 and was arguably City's player of the eighties, being voted Player of the Year in 1986/87 and 1988/89. A skilful and very competitive midfield player, Neil inspired a young team to promotion from the Second Division in 1989.
He left for Tranmere in January 1990 for £125,000, the third six-figure move of his career, and played over 100 first-team games for them, including two Leyland-DAF Cup finals at Wembley. He went on to have short spells at several other clubs before rejoining the Blues in the summer of 1994 as Youth Team Coach. "I've always remained in the area and my period at City was the happiest of my career. I thought I might get another year playing out of my legs but I would have retired ages ago if this job had come up!", he said.
In 1997 after so many managerial changes at the club, it became inevtable that the entire backroom setup would be reviewd and McNab was dismissed in a move that upset many supporters.
Neil was a real winner. With his consistent play he helped City stabilise during a difficult decade and, although it's all down to opinion, he is aruably the most important City player of his period. Few made the impact he did. Not bad for a bargain basement player bought as an urgent short term measure!
In October 2002 Neil was appointed manager of Exeter City.