Former Manchester United star Gary Neville has co-founded Sustainability In Sport with the aim of helping clubs and supporters become more eco friendly.
He’s also become an eco-building developer, including designing his own zero-carbon home. “I’m driving a plug-in hybrid Vauxhall Ampera,” Neville told The Metro newspaper recently. “I’ve put three tanks of petrol in it in eight months, which I’m proud of, and I really do want to do as much as I can for the environment. I want to promote green issues as much as possible and make people aware.”
Even before retiring in 2011, Neville, who is now a Sky TV pundit, was embracing a green lifestyle with plans for an eight-bedroom underground eco home. “The key for me is to live in a low-impact house that performs the best it can,” he said.
“There have been some criticisms over the design but I’m not really bothered about it. I’ve got thick skin; I’ve been criticised all my life. It was more to do with erecting a wind turbine but I take great pride in the fact there are now three wind turbines that have gone up within a mile of the site since mine got through planning. I don’t know whether people just slipped theirs under the radar while I was getting battered but it’s a positive thing.”
Neville also donated the proceeds from his farewell testimonial match with Manchester United to Sustainability In Sport. “Sport is a very important element in society and there is an environmental impact,’ he says. ‘I’m not saying get rid of anything because there is so much good that comes out of sport, so much enjoyment, but sensible decisions can be made at zero cost that add even bigger positives environmentally, so clubs actually save money.”
Neville, who is now on the England team coaching staff, is hoping some of his fellow footballers will come on board and join the cause, but says: “It has to be someone who is actually looking to improve. What you don’t want is people doing it for the wrong reasons; you have to believe in it and want to do it.”