The United captain stopped short of identifying City by name, but his criticism of football's nouveau riche will be greeted with anger at Eastlands.
Already a figure of hate among City fans, Neville's comments will make him even less popular on the blue half of Manchester, as he admitted he at least had a grudging respect for United's fiercest rivals, Liverpool.
"When I was a youngster, they won everything," said Neville. "It was horrible. Jealousy does come into it but I have more respect for their traditions than I would for some of the other clubs coming onto the scene throwing a load of money at it.
"They have got history."
Sheikh Mansour has invested around £400m in City since his sensational takeover in 2008 - signing world stars like Robinho, Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure.
As yet the Abu Dhabi riches have failed to see them gatecrash the top four - but another summer of incredible spending by manager, Roberto Mancini, has seen another wave of superstars head to Eastlands.
The arrivals of David Silva and Mario Balotelli are expected to see them make a real push for the Premier League title this season - but Neville still sees the old enemy of Liverpool as the side he most wants to out do.
He says a 19th title is United's primary aim this term, to move past Liverpool in the record books.
"The motivation has got to be winning the league," said the 35-year-old. "What a massive incentive we have to win it back.
"Last year we did not perform at our best at times. We had terrible injuries in defence.
"If we can just get our players to stay fit this season, we have got that 19th in front of us.
"To beat Liverpool would be fantastic. It would be massive for this club. We want to be the most successful club."