Gary Neville and Lancaster launch sport focused Manchester campus

SCAN investigates Lancaster University's new partnership with the 'Class of 92'.

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Working in partnership with Gary Neville and the famous footballing ‘Class of 92’, the University of Lancaster has today announced the creation of a new university branch on the doorstep of Old Trafford, University Academy 92.

From September 2019, the new campus will offer degrees in sports, business, and media management. In the words of one of the founding partners Gary Neville, it will seek to equip graduates “with a range of other skills such as how to deal with pressure, understand finance, leadership, and presentational skills, and also how to maintain a healthy body and mind. In other words, the complete package you need to succeed in the workplace.”

Leader of Trafford Council, the former Conservative Greater Manchester mayoral candidate Sean Anstee, sees the partnership as a potential game-changer for revitalising the Stretford area – to the extent that the council has spent £12 million on buying up the land involved.

“It will create jobs and attract 6,500 students to the borough by 2028. With Manchester United Football Club, Lancashire County Cricket Club and Media City on our doorstep not to mention more than 11,000 businesses, UA92 students will find it an inspirational location in which to study.”

“In my view, it presents a fantastic opportunity to revitalise and support our local communities.”

The project has wide support across the corporate and political spheres, ranging from project partners Microsoft and Trafford College to Alex Ferguson and Andy Burnham.

Alongside Manchester City setting up its own linked sports campus in association with Manchester Metropolitan university, the stage could be set for the escalation of old rivalries to hitherto academic levels.

With a goal of 6,500 students by 2028, an increase of almost 50% on the current student numbers at the University of Lancaster, questions will doubtless be raised about whether the university is overstretching itself.

But Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark E. Smith, claimed that the project was a strong fit with Lancaster’s academic strengths.

“We were very interested in the ideas presented by the Class of 92 because they matched closely with a number of things Lancaster already does very well, particularly innovation, widening participation and employability.”

“We therefore felt we could make a strong contribution to a project which seeks to do things differently”