How Gary Neville landed a spot on Dragons’ Den

Dragons’ Den T21, first look, Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett, Gary Neville, Peter Jones, BBC Studios, Simon Pantling

Gary Neville is best known for his football skills, so it’s no surprise that people were surprised when he landed a guest role on the Dragons’ Den panel.

In this series he joins forces with dragons Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Sara Davies, Steven Bartlett and Touker Suleyman in the lair as one of them. Despite being widely known for being a footballer, Neville has proven his worth in the business world over the years.

On joining Dragons’ Den, Neville said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Dragons’ Den, even if it is for a very short period on an interim contract. I am used to being an interim coach. I will bring character, personality, drive, determination , hard work, all the things you would want in a team player.”

Football expert Neville previously told dragon Stephen Bartlett that the word entrepreneur “gives me goosebumps a little bit” while appearing on the Diary of a CEO podcast in 2022. However, the former football player has built a portfolio of business that earned him the place in the lair.

We take a look at some of his business successes…

Real state development

Manchester United's Gary Neville pictured with Sir Alex Ferguson.  (Getty)Manchester United's Gary Neville pictured with Sir Alex Ferguson.  (Getty)

Manchester United’s Gary Neville pictured with Sir Alex Ferguson. (Getty)

At the age of 21, Neville jumped into the world of real estate development, but remains passionate about it today. At the time, he was a Manchester United player, so he kept it a secret from his football boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, who notoriously wanted all his players to focus solely on sport, something David Beckham said about He also spoke in his recent Netflix documentary series Beckham.

In a previous interview, Neville told the BBC in 2018: “I would have seen it as a distraction.” The football legend went to great lengths to keep it hidden and recalled taking secret calls in the showers to prevent Ferguson from hearing her. “Physically I accepted that he had to rest, but mentally I needed to be stimulated,” she explained of why he went into real estate development while playing soccer.

Neville’s latest property developments include the £200 million St Michael’s development in Manchester.


In 2011, Neville announced his retirement from football. Just a few years later, he would launch his investment business Relentless in 2015. Neville said the word relentless summed up his personal approach to life and work. Keen to make his mark on the world as more than just a footballer, he said: “I didn’t want to be known just as a former Manchester United player and I didn’t want to think that my days of success, of achieving things, were over.”

GG Hospitality

In 2013, Neville teamed up with his former Manchester United teammate Ryan Giggs to launch GG Hospitality. With all his experience traveling the world, the former footballer had a vision and set out to bring world-class concepts to his native Manchester. It was this feeling that prompted him to launch GG Hospitality.

hotel football

A general view of the Hotel Fútbol next to the stadium.  (Getty)A general view of the Hotel Fútbol next to the stadium.  (Getty)

A general view of the Hotel Fútbol next to the stadium. (Getty)

Football friends Neville and Giggs opened the doors of the luxury Hotel Football on Sir Matt Busby Street in 2015, with a stunning view of one of the most famous stadiums in the world – Old Trafford. It remains one of the few hotels in the world with a five-player court on the roof.

In 2017, Neville shed light on how he was achieving goals with Hotel Football. He told The Caterer: “We wanted to prove ourselves as hotel operators and I think we have done that. “We avoided corporate brands and that was the right decision.

“By creating our own management company, we have made it more personal. The football references in the hotel are not overt, but subtle. We welcome families, business people and football fans for match day experiences.”


    The former Manchester Stock Exchange converted into a boutique hotel.  (Getty)    The former Manchester Stock Exchange converted into a boutique hotel.  (Getty)

The former Manchester Stock Exchange converted into a boutique hotel. (Getty)

Having caught the bug of creating luxury hotels, Neville and Giggs set out on a new project. In 2019, they opened the Stock Exchange Hotel, a five-star, 40-bedroom boutique hotel located in a Grade II listed building on Norfolk Street.

It boasts exclusive suites, a penthouse and corporate event spaces. It is a building steeped in history, as the Manchester Stock Exchange first opened its doors in 1906 and last traded in 1979.

The man behind the curtain

A lover of food and drink, Neville was so impressed with his first experience at Michael O’Hare’s restaurant, The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds, that he wrote an investment proposal on the back of his bill. The former soccer player invested in the restaurant in 2016.

By then, the restaurant had been a success for two years and first opened its doors to customers in 2014. It had made a huge mark on the food and drink industry, having won a Michelin star within a year and three AA Rosettes. Michelin chef O’Hare was appointed creative director of GG Hospitality in 2016.

FC Salford

Salford City co-owner Gary Neville is seen using his phone inside the stadium.  (Getty)Salford City co-owner Gary Neville is seen using his phone inside the stadium.  (Getty)

Salford City co-owner Gary Neville is seen using his phone inside the stadium. (Getty)

Furthermore, the Class of ’92 (Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville) bought a stake in Salford City FC in March 2014, when it was a non-league football club. A decade on and they are now a League Two club.

At the time of purchasing a stake in the club, Neville revealed why Salford FC was important to him. He said in 2014: “I had my first trial with Manchester United at Salford aged 11 and I will never forget how important it was for me. For me, Salford City FC represents those early years: the commitment, the hunger, the enthusiasm, the desire and spirit of football and I am very excited.

Businessman Gary Neville’s experience on Dragons’ Den

Gary Neville on the dragons' lair.  (BBC)Gary Neville on the dragons' lair.  (BBC)

Gary Neville on the dragons’ lair. (BBC)

And with all his wealth of experience in the business world, Neville admitted he wasn’t prepared for the length of pitches on Dragons’ Den. Of his appearance on the BBC programme, Neville told The Mirror: “What really caught my attention was the length of the pitches. It really was a test of endurance – the period of concentration required was something I couldn’t do. I had thought before.

“I think it’s becoming more and more normal, especially for the younger generation, to want to change careers and I think having that agility and flexibility in life is important. But also being bold and brave enough to do it. Being an entrepreneur by nature Your nature means that you are brave and take risks.”

Neville also shared insight into the close bond the dragons have off-screen. He revealed that the dragons would eat together after each day of filming. He added: “They had built this incredible team spirit together. I knew they would all get along like people do when they make TV shows, but I didn’t recognize it would be as close a team as it is.” “

What TV bosses said

TV bosses have revealed why they decided to have Neville and Good American chief executive Emma Grede as guest dragons on the show. Samantha Davies, executive producer at BBC Studios, said: “In our 21st series, it’s hugely exciting to bring a fresh new dynamic to Den in the form of guest Dragons.”

He added: “Gary and Emma are masters in their fields and it will be great to see their different styles and perspectives in the business world. But our existing Dragons won’t sit back and let them grab all the best deals, so viewers “You can expect all the usual competitiveness and sass at The Den.”

BBC Commissioning Editor Sarah Clay says: “Viewers have a lot to look forward to in the 21st series with the first guest dragons, a new group of bold entrepreneurs and, as always, the five formidable dragons. It’s fantastic to see.” “How popular the show continues to be with audiences, and each new season brings inspiration and surprises.”

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *