The Sky Sports pundit will team up with Ryan Giggs, brother Phil, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes in this new venture
Gary Neville and his fellow former Manchester United team-mates will begin a new venture by launching a university.
They will offer sport, media and business courses, located near their former home: Old Trafford.
Naturally called University Academy 92, Neville has teamed up once again with Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville to invest in the new project, report the Manchester Evening News.
Neville confirmed the launch of University Academy 92 on his Twitter, insisting he was “extremely proud.”
The proposal is to build it on the old Kellogg’s site in Stretford. It will be a branch of Lancaster University and is due to open in September 2019 on Talbot Road.
It means both United and Manchester City are set to have rival sports campuses spring up next to their grounds over the next few years.
The ex-United stars have joined up with Trafford council, development giants Bruntwood, Trafford College and Microsoft for the venture, which they say is a ‘new higher education concept’.
They intend it to be the first university of its kind in the country, offering sports, media and business courses to students, including internships at Microsoft and other firms.
Neville said he had ‘always believed that success is down to more than just having talent and good luck’, adding: “There should be no limits to what you can achieve with the right preparation.
“Our aim is that UA92 graduates would leave with an academic qualification, of course, but also with a range of other skills such as how to deal with pressure, understand finance, leadership and presentational skills, and also how to maintain a healthy body and mind.
“In other words, the complete package you need to succeed in the workplace.”
Trafford town hall has borrowed around £12m to buy up the former Kellogg’s headquarters for the project – ahead of the firm moving to MediaCity next year – and will effectively be landlord to the university campus.
A new leisure centre will be built on the site and the existing Stretford sports centre closed and sold off.
It will also lead to new sports pitches on green space at Turn Moss, off the M60, a little over a mile away.
The campus itself will be provided through a joint venture between a new Gary Neville outfit set up for the purpose and Lancaster University, with Trafford College also on board.
Neville – who has a growing university and hotel empire in the city – said the university will have a strong ‘widening participation’ programme that will aim to recruit more disadvantaged students.
The university will also feature its own talent-focused curriculum, he said.
“It will focus on providing students with ten attributes: academic learning, life skills, work experience, how to survive in demanding workplace situations, leadership skills, peer group analysis, participative learning, fitness, and presentation and financial skills,” he added.
“The intention is to welcome the first students in September 2019 to a new campus in Talbot Road, Old Trafford.”
The new campus has been over 18 months in planning and has the backing of both Manchester United and nearby Lancashire County Cricket Club.
It effectively means that both United and Manchester City will have their own linked sports universities, as plans are also being drawn up for a rival Manchester Metropolitan University-backed campus at the Etihad.
The M.E.N. understands Manchester and Salford town halls were also approached to consider Neville’s proposals, but Trafford council was first to the table – viewing the plan as an opportunity to also regenerate the wider Stretford area.
Sean Anstee, leader of Trafford council, said University Academy 92 would attract 6,500 students into the borough.
“Trafford already has some of the best performing schools in the country, as well as a rich and successful history of sport and business, so it is an ideal home for this new and exciting education initiative,” he added.
“With Manchester United Football Club, Lancashire County Cricket Club and Media City on our doorstep not to mention more than 11,000 businesses, UA92 students will find it an inspirational location in which to study.”
Professor Mark E Smith, the Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said the plans ‘matched closely’ with some of its existing strengths, including ‘employability’.
“We therefore felt we could make a strong contribution to a project which seeks to do things differently,” he said.
“This is a good time to test the appetite for a venture of this nature for two reasons.
“Firstly, the government wishes to open up the Higher Education marketplace to new and innovative ways of delivery. Secondly, businesses are becoming increasingly interested in how Higher Education can prepare students for working life.
“This project is designed to address both of those ideas head on.”
Among the project’s supporters are legendary former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who congratulated his former proteges on the launch.
“I want to wish Gary, Nicky, Ryan, Paul and Phil good luck as they embark on a commendable project that demonstrates their commitment to giving something back to the community that played such a formative role in their lives,” he said.
“It is a project with great potential and I hope that their efforts make a genuine difference and provide opportunities in life for those that otherwise would not have been given a chance to realise their potential.”
A three-month consultation will now be launched on the plans.