Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have told a group of people squatting in a building they plan to renovate into a hotel that they are allowed to stay until building work begins.
Not only have the former Manchester United stars opted not to evict the group at the nearest possible opportunity, but they've told them they can stay for the coldest months of winter.
The pair had been aiming to turn the historic Manchester stock exchange, for which they paid a reported £1.5m, into a plush hotel with gym, spa and a private members’ terrace, but when they received planning permission they found a group of activists using it as accommodation for the city's rough sleepers.
Wesley Hall, a housing and human rights activist who is leading the group called Manchester Angels, told the Guardian that he broke down in tears after speaking to Neville on the phone on Sunday.
We were expecting that as soon as Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville found out that we had occupied the building, they would try to get us evicted and that we would have to look for another building. Having a few months during the winter to work with homeless people without the threat of eviction hanging over our heads is brilliant.
Wesley Hall, Manchester Angels
The group say they want to keep the building in as good a condition as possible and will let surveyors and other construction staff access to the site whenever they need it.
Hall also suggested to Neville that they might employ some of the homeless people as labourers when the work begins.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “What a great guy Gary Neville is. We’ve been in negotiations with him and things are looking good. He said the main building work isn’t taking place until February, so we’ll be okay to stay until then."