Several members of the ‘Class of 92’, a group of footballers made famous for their achievements in the sport, are to open a new university in the Stretford area of Manchester.

Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs (pictured), Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville were all part of the Manchester United team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1992 and went on to have incredibly successful playing careers with club and country.

The group have worked on a number of ventures together and will now launch a new project in the form of the ‘University Academy 92’, which will offer sports, media and business courses.

The quintet hope to build the facility on a site in Stretford near to Old Trafford, the famous home of Manchester United, with plans to open in September 2019.

University Academy 92 will operate as a branch of Lancaster University and will be the first university of its kind in the UK.

“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,” Gary Neville said. “In other words, the complete package you need to succeed in the workplace.”

To support the project, the group will be working with Trafford Council, as well as development company Bruntwood, Trafford College and technology giant Microsoft. The council has already borrowed £12m (€13.6m/$16.2m) to acquire the proposed site for the facility.

Neville added: “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,”

Professor Mark E Smith, the vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, also spoke positively about the plans and the impact the project will have on the local area.

Smith 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.”

Manchester United is due attend the annual TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit taking place in Barcelona on 28-29 November.

Image: Gordon Flood