Gary Neville’s complex for fans is ‘too big’, decide United

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MANCHESTER United have defended their decision to oppose a planning application for a hotel and leisure complex at Old Trafford that has been submitted by Gary Neville.

In the build-up to his testimonial game at the end of last season, Neville confirmed his intention to create a bar for United supporters.

It was envisaged that the development would be operational at some point in the 2013-14 season and, at the time, United were fully supportive. However, as the plans were reshaped, the club began to get cold feet.

And now they have lodged a formal objection on the grounds that the entire development, which includes a ten-storey 139-bedroom hotel and leisure complex, would be too big,

“The club has been developing its vision for the area over the last few months, following on from the very successful pedestrianisation scheme executed in July,” said a United spokesman.

“As part of that vision, we considered in detail the changes to the sheer scale of the new project proposed, as distinct from the original plan.

“We had some projections done of what the view of the stadium would be from various angles on the other side of Wharfside Way and have concluded that, on balance, we do not want a building of that size so close to the stadium.”

It now raises the bizarre situation of Neville, who celebrates his 37th birthday tomorrow and is forging an impressive career as a pundit with Sky Sports, being at odds with the club he represented for 19 years over a site for supporters.