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Gary Neville discusses the possibility of a new Man Utd stadium

Earlier this year, Manchester United revealed that they had created a task force to assess the area around Old Trafford and to consider the possibility of a new stadium being built. The task force's job is to analyse the pros and cons of redeveloping the current stadium against the build of a brand new, state-of-the-art development.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, whose company purchased a stake of 27.7% in the club in February, has openly discussed the idea of United building a ‘Wembley of the North' at Old Trafford and wants to use the Government's Levelling Up Fund to pay for the project.

Although Ratcliffe's preference is clear, it won't just be down to the billionaire hence the creation of the task force. Sebastian Coe is heading up the group and members include the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and club legend turned businessman, Gary Neville.

In an interview released by Man Utd today, Neville has been opening up about the plans for redevelopment around Old Trafford and what he envisages for the club's future.

Gary Neville discusses new Man Utd stadium
Gary Neville has been speaking about what he would like the new Old Trafford to be like – Photo by Icon Sport

Gary Neville wants new Man Utd stadium to be the best in the world

Regardless of whether Man Utd decide to redevelop the existing stadium or build a new one, Neville is keen to ensure that the stadium is considered the best on the planet. Speaking to David May and Helen Evans, the former defender said:

“There are three things I feel that Manchester United have to do, or at least two they have to do and one they should try and do.
“One is that we have to have the best stadium in the world. Two is that we have to have the best training ground in the world and three is that we have to win. The third one, actually, I’m a little patient on. I’m a Manchester United fan – things move in cycles and you can’t always win.
“But if number one and two are right, and if you have the right people in the club, you’ve got a great chance of number three happening.”
Old Trafford
Old Trafford could look very different in the near future – Photo by Icon Sport

Neville doesn't want sentiment to get in the way of important decisions

Neville has a deep knowledge of Old Trafford and the defender has already seen Old Trafford change significantly from his days as a supporter in the Stetford End as a boy to now. He is keen to ensure sentiment doesn't get in the way ahead of whatever decision is ultimately taken. He explained:

“I’m not one of those that says that because I’ve watched football out there for 45 years and I don't need to watch the exact same players on that exact blade of grass. If you think of the development, that is not the stadium that’s been there for 110 years. The Stretford End is not the Stretford End that I saw growing up. The stands all around the ground have been redeveloped in the last 30-40 years.
“I’m not one of those people that says we can’t develop behind while we still play here and then move into a new stadium.  On the other hand, if the best solution is to refurbish the current stadium and do what Real Madrid and Barcelona have done, which is essentially wrap their stadium and sort of, if you like, fit it from the inside out, then if that is the best solution then I’m not against it.”

Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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