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Old Trafford leaking roof: Incredible scenes as stadium fails to deal with downpour

On Sunday, Manchester United lost 1-0 to Arsenal in a tense Premier League match at Old Trafford. The home side performed better than they have done in recent weeks but still came up short against an Arsenal team who were also well below their usual standards.

Old Trafford leaking roof
Old Trafford was leaking more than ever on Sunday afternoon – Photo by Icon Sport

While the victory was further evidence that Man Utd have fallen behind English football's elite on the pitch, the state of Old Trafford on Sunday evening illustrated how far they've fallen behind off it, too. The Old Trafford leaking roof has been a source of mockery from rival fans for some time now but the scenes on Sunday after a storm hit Manchester were beyond anything seen before at the historic stadium.

Not only did a waterfall effectively form on the roof but videos filmed from fans inside Old Trafford showed water surging through the stands in scenes you'd expect to see on a sinking ship rather than one inside European football's most iconic stadiums.

The irony, of course, is that Manchester United have become a sinking ship under the Glazer ownership and the only hope for the club now is that INEOS can somehow revive it in the coming years.

Stadium task force witness the Old Trafford leaking roof

Ever since INEOS purchased a stake in Manchester United and took over football operations at the club, a new stadium or a renovation of Old Trafford has been high on the agenda. Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made his feelings clear on the matter and hasn't been shy in stating that his preference is to build a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium on the current land.

This would likely mean demolishing Old Trafford, something fans are keen to push against. However, after Old Trafford's issues were laid bare on Sunday, it's difficult to see a situation where the club don't elect to build a new stadium rather than renovate what's currently there.

On Sunday, Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford welcomed members of the Old Trafford task force to the ground to watch United take on Arsenal. The task force was set up in March to examine the options for either redeveloping Old Trafford or building a new ‘national' stadium that could become a ‘Wembley of the North'.

Two key members of the task force, Andy Burnham and Lord Sebastian Coe, were at Old Trafford and would have seen the leaking roof in all its glory as the match came to an end.

Sir Keir Starmer meets with Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Interstingly, Sir Keir Starmer was also in attendance as a guest of Burnham. There has been speculation that the Government's Levelling Up Fund could be used to fund the new stadium and with Starmer expected to win the next general election, it is understood that he met with Ratcliffe to discuss the potential redevelopment of the entire area.

What that means for the future may become clearer when Labour reveal their manifesto for the upcoming election.


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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