Manchester United legend Gary Neville details post-football business ambitions: Salford City in the Premier League is "the dream"

 
Joe Hall
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Class of '92: Neville was talking to students at Salford University (Source: Getty)

Gary Neville has spoken of his ambition to take Salford City FC from the eighth tier of English football to the Premier League in a discussion about his post-playing business career.

Read more: Class of ‘92 buy Salford City

The former Manchester United defender, Sky Sports pundit and current England coach has engaged in a number of business ventures since hanging up his boots, including non-league club Salford City.

The "Class of '92" group, made up of Neville, brother Phil and their fellow former Manchester United teammates Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, took over Salford City last year with plans to turn the tiny club into a top tier team.

He told students at Salford University: "Salford City...are seven promotions away from the Premier League. That's the dream, it could be our greatest ever achievement. Is it likely? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe in 10 years people will be slapping 'naive' across me and I'll be lying bankrupt in a gutter because I've thrown all my money at a load of football players.

"But the fact of the matter is, that's an ambition. The idea that Salford is one of the biggest cities in England that's not got a Football League club...we want to achieve things. When you talk about ambition, you have to re-set your ambitions all the time."

Neville detailed how the drive to keep winning drilled into him as a player during Manchester United's most successful stint has contributed to his attitude to outside business ventures.

Read more: Class of '92 join forces with Singaporean billionaire at Salford City

"You might think oh, my ambition is to get a degree", said the former England international. "No, it's not - that's a given. You have to get a degree. It's what's after that? And then when you get your placement you think 'actually, I want to be CEO of the company'. No you don't, you want to be the owner of your own company.

"It never stops...you should never be content with what you've done. You should celebrate it momentarily like you would do a Premier League title for the evening or a week and then move on. Sir Alex Ferguson and the club drove that into us."Talking about his experience in business, Neville said he had learned from early mistakes made while still a player."

From developing his first property aged 23, Neville is now co-owner of Zerum Consult, a consultancy and building design company which recently posted a £750,000 profit in its first financial year.

Neville and the Class of '92 have made also made a number of big property investments in Manchester, including the development of "Hotel Football", a four-star hotel near Old Trafford.

"The vast experience I had in my early years has come into the fore now and I'm making better decisions", said Neville. "I see I'm making better decisions now."

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