Giggs, Neville kickoff Asian expansion for football hotel, café

cafePETALING JAYA: Two Manchester United (MU) legends have joined forces with Singapore tycoon Peter Lim to develop football-themed hotels and cafes across Asia, Bloomberg reported yesterday.

Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, who both joined the club as teenagers before moving up the ranks to the senior team under former manager Alex Ferguson, will kickstart their project in Asia with the first football-themed hotel and café opening in Singapore next year.

The duo’s first café, simply called Cafe Football, opened in Westfield Stratford, London in October 2013.

This was followed by their second project, the world’s first Hotel Football, launched in December 2014, which is located directly opposite Manchester United’s home ground, Old Trafford. The hotel also has a Café Football in the premises, and features a football pitch on the roof.

Their teammates from the famous “Class of ’92”, Philip Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, are also involved in the Hotel Football project in Manchester.

According to Bloomberg, a third Cafe Football is set to be open by the end of the year at the Manchester-based National Football Museum as a result of a partnership between Lim’s Rowsley Ltd, a Singapore-listed property developer, Giggs and Neville.

“We’ve had fantastic reviews in Manchester, and we are looking for a UK, Europe and Asia expansion over the next 12 to 18 months to add multiple properties,” Neville was quoted as saying by the financial daily.

He added that some developments will house a hotel and cafe, while others will only be a cafe.

Giggs and Neville are currently in talks with potential partners to expand in China, Thailand, India, Singapore and Malaysia, Bloomberg reported the duo as saying.

Aside from the football-themed hotels and cafés, the MU legends are working with Lim to develop St Michael’s, a 1.43 hectare site in downtown Manchester. The project will comprise a 5-star hotel, offices, housing and retail outlets.

Another project in the works by the trio is a transformation of Manchester’s historic Northern Stock Exchange building into a boutique hotel, Bloomberg reported.

Between them, Giggs and Neville played for MU in more than 1,500 matches, winning the English Premier League 21 times – Giggs holds the overall English top-tier record of 13 titles.