It is the latest in a string of closures for GG Hospitality

Former Manchester United stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are to close Cafe Football in Manchester city centre, a week after they closed the Westfield Stratford branch in East London.

The football-themed GG Hospitality brand - launched in London in 2013 and brought to Manchester's National Football Museum in 2017 - will remain part of Hotel Football in Old Trafford, but will cease to have stand-alone restaurants, according to chief executive Winston Zahra.

It is the latest in a string of failed food and beverage projects for Neville and Giggs, who closed their ill-fated A-list club Mahiki in June last year, followed by their fine-dining restaurant, Rabbit in the Moon, four months later.

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Cafe Football is to close at the National Football Museum

Speaking frankly to Confidential at a recent press briefing in Hotel Football, Gary Neville seemed willing to shoulder the blame for the closures.

"Winston has been picking up the pieces of a couple of decisions I've predominantly made in the last two or three years, saying yes to expansion ideas, opening F&B places for fun," he said. 

"What it tends to do is damage other areas. This (Hotel Football) has always been profitable from day one, but the other operations haven't done as well and they were decisions made by me while Ryan has been coaching and Winston has been in Malta, and the rest of the team have been holding their heads in their hands... but we all learn don't we?"

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Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville with Winston Zahra (right) and Mark James (left)

At the briefing, Neville and Giggs announced a new partnership between Hotel Football and the Marriott International hotel group, which will see the 133-room Old Trafford hotel - co-owned by Singaporean business man Peter Lim and fellow United alumni Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt - added to Marriott's new Tribute Portfolio.

Asked whether recent financial losses at the hotel were the reason behind the new partnership, Zahra said: 

"You need to see the group in the whole context, last year the group made losses, this year it will make a healthy profit, we're very confident about that. However, the most important thing is that this hotel has been profitable for the last four years and this year we're looking at a record year."

GG Hospitality will continue to run the cafe in the National Football Museum, but not under the Cafe Football brand.