Class of 92 stars have plans to build a university approved
Stars including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt hope their new university will help students "realise their dreams".
Ambitious plans by former Manchester United stars to build a university and student village in the city have been approved.
Named after their iconic "Class of '92" moniker, The University Academy '92 is the brainchild of Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Gary and Phil Neville, who all started their careers at Old Trafford that year.
Since retirement the group have pursued a number of investments in Manchester, including the purchase of non-league side Salford City and the construction of a hotel next to United's home ground.
The university proposal is included in Trafford Council's £170m "Refreshed Stretford Masterplan", which aims to transform the town centre and wider area into a "prosperous and vibrant place with attractive communities and a wide range of facilities".
It will offer sport, media and business courses for up to 6,500 students as part of Lancaster University, to run in partnership with the Conservative council and Trafford College, with the main campus on the site of a former Kellogg's building expected to open in September 2019.
The academy's official website describes it as "a game-changing Higher Education initiative to establish a new model of university" to help students "exceed their potential and and realise their dreams".
Gary Neville said: "Our aim is that university students will of course leave with an academic qualification, but also a range of skills such as how to deal with pressure, an understanding of finance, leadership, presentational skills and also how to maintain a healthy body and mind.
"In other words the complete package to succeed in the workplace."
Council planners gave the proposal the go ahead on Monday after it was revised following a public consultation, with locals having criticised the accompanying student village as an "intrusive" and "ugly" tower block.
The accommodation will now be spread across "lower rise" buildings.
Alongside the academy will be a rejuvenated Stretford Mall and a new and enlarged Stretford Leisure Centre, featuring two 3G sports pitches and three new training pitches for Salford United.
But there has been some disappointment for the footballers-turned-developers this week, with another plan for two skyscrapers in the Jackson's Row area of the city set to be scrapped.
Giggs and Gary Neville said they would "help with the regeneration of Manchester", but Historic England snubbed the proposal last summer and did so again on Monday.
The project had an estimated cost of £200m - more than the combined cost of their former club's two most expensive signings, Paul Pogba (£89m) and Romelu Lukaku (£75m).