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Former Manchester Utd footballers open doors to homeless for winter

Image: Homeless campaigner Wesley Hall stands outside the former stock exchange building in Manchester northern Britain, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

LONDON (Reuters) – Two former Manchester United footballers have told a group of homeless people looking for a place to shelter during the English winter that they could set up camp inside a building they plan to turn into a boutique hotel.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, who both spent their entire careers in Manchester and together won all of English club football’s trophies, will let about 30 homeless people stay at the 1.5 million pound ($2.3 million) property over the winter months when the temperature often dips below zero degrees.

Wesley Hall, the homeless group’s leader, said he had spoken to Neville on the phone on Saturday and was told the squatters, who were evicted from an empty office block last week, could stay there until February when building work will start to turn the building into a 35-bedroom luxury hotel.

“I’m crying… Just go(t) off the phone to Gary Neville… He’s letting us stay for a few months over the winter period and he’s gonna help us with intervention. I’m shaking here,” Hall posted on Facebook on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for Neville said he would not be commenting, but she confirmed the exchange had happened.

“Thank God we’ve found this place,” one of the squatters at the site told the BBC. “At least for the winter, when it’s very very cold and it’s snowing and raining and everything, we’ve got somewhere to stay.”

“It’s exactly what Manchester needs right now,” Hall told the Manchester Evening News, referring to the Northern English city’s problems with homelessness.

Neville and Giggs are among Manchester United’s most famous ex-players and they retired in 2011 and 2014 respectively. Neville captained the team for five years and Giggs is the most decorated player in English soccer club history, having won 34 trophies with the team.


(Reporting by Angus Berwick; editing by Stephen Addison)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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