Manchester United football legends Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have asked former team mates from the Class of '92 to join them in launching their forthcoming Hotel Football venture.
Gary's brother, Phil, together with Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, have become investors in the £23m, 133-bedroom hotel, which is set to open adjacent to Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, this autumn.
Last July it was announced that Giggs and Gary Neville would be teaming up with Stuart Procter, former general manager of London's five-star Stafford hotel, to launch two brands - Café Football and Hotel Football - under the umbrella of their new company, GG Hospitality.
Since then, the first Café Football, with 120 seats, has launched in Westfield Stratford, east London, in December to great critical acclaim.
When it came to the inaugural Hotel Football, Giggs and Gary Neville, both directors and shareholders of GG Hospitality, decided they wanted to invite Phil Neville, Scholes and Butt on board.
"We are not only former team-mates, but also best friends", said Giggs in an exclusive interview with Caterer and Hotelkeeper, who earlier this week was appointed assistant to the new Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal.
Neville added: "Ryan and I are now looking forward to another new challenge, working with our former team mates again to create something special near to the stadium we all love."
The fact that the 133-bedroom is going to be home to the Old Trafford Supporters Club (OTSC) has played a big part in getting the involvement of those team mates.
"We're all finishing out football careers and we were keen to give something back to our fans through the supporters club," says Phil Neville.
"It is a great project and something we are all very excited about," adds Butt. "We're all very close and like one big family, being in business is the next step."
While Giggs and Gary Neville have been involved every step of the way in the development of both Café Football and Hotel Football, with an input into menu tastings and the design of bedrooms, the contribution from Phil Neville, Scholes and Butt will be focused on their physical presence in the hotel as often as possible, with at least one of them always present on match days.
One of the unique features of Hotel Football will be a five-a-side football pitch on the rooftop of the 11-storey building, which will double up as an event space for dinners for up to 120 guests and barbecues on match-days. The five former team mates gathered for a kick around with the builders on the rooftop of Hotel Football earlier this month.
The hotel will also incorporate the second Café Football, with 185 seats Its menu will be created by the group's executive chef Brendan Fyldes, and Michael Wignall, the two-Michelin-star chef at Pennyhill Park, Surrey, who is a consultant to the group.
Like Café Football, Hotel Football is expected to be the first in what will become a world-wide brand.
Full details of the Class of '92's involvement in Hotel Football can be found in this week's issue of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, including the digital edition. To subscribe, click Subscribe to The Caterer today...join the Caterer Gold Club!.