Bringing the concept of Hotel Football to fruition began with the serendipitous opportunity to buy some sought-after real estate opposite Gary’s old work.
“An opportunity arose to take the plot of land opposite Old Trafford and we identified this as a good spot for a hotel,” says Gary. “I had the thought straight away of making it a football-themed hotel with its proximity to Old Trafford, but not necessarily a Manchester United-themed hotel, because I knew that we needed to try and live for the other 340 or so days a year that don’t have match days.”
From there, the concept grew organically.
“I remember writing it down. ‘Football hotel’… and then twisting it round to ‘Hotel Football’ and thinking ‘I like that but there will already be a Hotel Football somewhere’. So I put it in Google and, amazingly, there was no other Hotel Football in the world!
“I always remember where I am for these things and I was on the plane to Lisbon and after landing, I rang my lawyers straight away and said ‘register Hotel Football and the domain straight away’ and we bought them there and then. Then we created the brand, the concept and we did it.
“The dream was always to roll out Hotel Football nationally and internationally, Manchester, London, Madrid, Paris – who knows. Basically in cities where they have big clubs and are passionate about football. That was always, and still is, the vision.”