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Old Trafford redevelopment: Updates on new Man Utd stadium

In April 2022, Manchester United announced that they had hired a team of architects and management consultants to oversee an Old Trafford redevelopment. All options were on the table including an expansion of the current stadium and a complete rebuild.

The management consultants that were appointed, Legends International, have pedigree when it comes to stadium renovations as Tottenham Hotspur appointed them before work began on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium while in Spain, they have worked with Real Madrid and Barcelona on Bernabeu and Camp Nou renovations.

At the time Manchester United said:

“Work will begin immediately on developing options for Old Trafford and studying the feasibility, with the aim of significantly enhancing the fans experience. Fans will be at the heart of the process, starting with a meeting between the consultants and the Manchester United fans' advisory board later this month.”

Nearly two years later and there is yet to be any confirmation from the club in relation to what route they are set to go down, but it is believed that the cost of the project is what forced the Glazer family into seeking outside investment in late 2022. That process has now been completed with Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS purchasing a 25% stake in the club and the Old Trafford redevelopment is said to be on his list of priorities.

Old Trafford redevelopment
Old Trafford redevelopment work is ongoing in the background – Photo by Icon sport

Old Trafford redevelopment – latest news

Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants a ‘Wembley of the North'

Sir Jim Ratcliffe reportedly wants to build a brand new stadium next to where Old Trafford currently sits that will rival Wembley Stadium and its 90,000 capacity. Ratcliffe is said to want United's stadium to have a “wow factor” and while he appreciates the aura of Old Trafford and fan attachment to it, he believes building the new stadium on the same land would soften the blow of the move.

It is understood that refurbishments to Old Trafford, which has in many ways been left to rot and fall behind the times under the Glazer ownership, would cost around £1bn whereas a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium would cost around £1.5bn.

According to reports in the Telegraph and Daily Mail, INEOS would ask the British government to help support the build of a new stadium but it remains to be seen whether they would even be able to pump taxpayers money into a new football stadium.

Populous back a rebuild

In December, the Chief Executive of Populous, Chirs Lee, conducted an interview with the Daily Telegraph where he was asked about updates on the Old Trafford redevelopment project. Lee stated that he believes that the club should elect to demolish the current Old Trafford ground and rebuild a brand-new state-of-the-art stadium in its place. He said:

“I feel the new build may well turn out to be the most cost-effective solution. Yes, the initial outlay is obviously the highest of all options but there is so much land available to develop there. They could carry on using the existing ground while building work is underway, meaning no decline in matchday revenues.

“Architecturally, in the space available you could do something really innovative and exciting. There would be no space constrictions. We’ve done the work with Legends to look at all the feasibility options, multiple different versions of renovations of Old Trafford and also what a new build could potentially look like, all of it focused on how we can create an amazing fan experience. Manchester United are very focused on that.”

“The current building is reaching the end of its natural life – the cabling, the electricity supplies, everything is nearing its sell-by date. And the interiors are very cramped and difficult in places.”

During the interview, Lee also confirmed that the project had been put on hold during the club's sales process but now that INEOS have had their offer of 25% accepted, things should get moving again. As part of their 25% stake in the club, INEOS have pledged to invest $300m into the Club’s infrastructure at Old Trafford.

Old Trafford
Could Manchester United demolish Old Trafford? – Photo by Icon sport

Could a new training ground come first?

In addition to redeveloping Old Trafford, INEOS also want to build a brand new training complex amid fears that the facilities at Carrington – where Man Utd have trained since 2000 – have fallen behind the required standard.

According to recent reports, INEOS have been scouting out land in the local area to build a new training complex and want to buy a site in excess of 100 acres. Officials have been taking an interest in golf courses in the Cheshire area and are said to have their eyes set on High Legh Golf Club in Knutsford.

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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