Last Wednesday, Gary Neville joined Bury College students for a virtual Q&A, answering all their questions about his football career, his current projects, and UA92, the new University Academy he has co-founded.
Ben Fallows, Head of Sport and the organiser of the event, said: “It was a great opportunity for the learners to meet such a high-level athlete with a great pedigree in coaching, analysis and business. It was also excellent to celebrate the relationship we have with UA92 and the progression route from our HNC onto their degree programmes.”
Neville joined us from his very own Café Football, housed in Hotel Football, to answer questions submitted by students. One of these questions was about his motivations for founding a university. Neville described how, upon the end of his career, and those of his cofounders, they all wanted to create opportunities for young people, impacting as many as possible. The skills that ‘the class of 92’ gained as footballers, such as dedication, reliability and teamwork, could help equip young people for futures in any industry. Neville said, “young people just need someone to believe in them.”
Neville himself hails from Bury, and was able to inspire the students with a story of one of his proudest moments; finding out he had been accepted into a Manchester United apprenticeship when he was 16. He was picked up from The Elton High School by his father, where many Bury College students will have studied themselves, and told the good news. Neville said that this was only topped by being able to look back upon his 25 years in football at the end of his career.
He was also able to give our final year Bury College students some tips for their future, sharing that he believed the main reason he ‘made it’, was his “attitude and passion”. Neville said, “I gave my all and left nothing to chance. Not putting everything you have into what you do is only damaging one person, and that’s you.” The students working at the Café Football are another example of Neville’s faith in young people. He said, addressing Bury College students, “young people should be seen as entrepreneurs and innovators, rather than just someone to pass knowledge down to – pass some of your knowledge up to us!”
Joe Belak, a Level 3 Sport Student, enjoyed the session very much. The former Our Lady’s R.C High School student said, “The session was amazing, he gave such detailed answers to the questions and I liked how he mixed in his past and his present so we got a sense of where he came from. I will definitely be heading down to the UA92 campus for their open day.”
The Sport and Exercise Science HNC offered at Bury College University Centre, available to students with a Level 3 Sport qualification, can lead directly onto a sport course at UA92.