We’ve heard the same story too many times before – the downfall of a successful athlete who squandered his million-dollar earnings due to poor financial decisions. Take NBA player, Allen Iverson, for example, who showed how gambling and extravagant living can cause a star to fall from grace, going from earning more than US$20 million per season to retiring a bankrupt with over a million dollars’ worth of debt.
So, it’s heartening to know that retired Manchester United football players, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, are spending their post-sporting career relatively wisely. Inspired by their travel experiences, the pair started management company GG Hospitality, kicking off with the inaugural launch of football-themed Café Football in London’s Westfield Stratford City mall late last year.
This year, Giggs and Neville are returning to their home ground of Manchester to open their next venture, Hotel Football. The hotel will be positioned opposite Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, with the names of other alumni club members like Philip Neville and Paul Scholes behind the project as well.
Don’t mistake Hotel Football for a Manchester United hotel, though. The management is adamant that is it for all football fans. For instance, Hotel Football will house the second Café Football branch, with a menu designed by two Michelin star chef Michael Wignall. Dish names, such as The Starting Eleven Platter, are created to amuse football lovers. The hotel will also sport a rooftop football pitch with a fully retractable roof for guests to have a kick about while enjoying panoramic views of Manchester.
Besides entertainment purposes, Giggs is hopeful that the hotel can boost local economy. “Hotel Football gives local people the opportunity to work in a great hospitality environment. We will be working closely with local students to help them build their own careers in hospitality and this is something we are very passionate about,” he says.
The 133-bedroom hotel is slated to open later this year.