Is Old Trafford not satisfactory as it currently stands?
Old Trafford is currently 114 years old and has not undergone any significant modernization since being purchased by Malcolm Glazer in 2005. The new incoming 25% owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, intends to change this. One possibility being considered is constructing a new stadium on the surrounding land, which Ineos sources suggest could be marketed as “the Wembley of the North”.
What is the process for that?
The plan is to build a custom, state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate up to 100,000 people and will cost over £3 billion. In addition to this impressive new addition to the club, there will also be boutiques, restaurants, fast-food options, a multi-screen cinema, a club museum, and other attractions to make this location a popular destination. It can be compared to the £2 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but on a larger scale to showcase the accomplishments of England’s 20-time champions and United’s ambitious modernization efforts led by Ratcliffe. This has earned it the nickname “the Wembley of the North”.
Can it be true that the North has its own version of Wembley?
Well, in a way. This is because Old Trafford’s inability to host Euro 2028 highlights its outdated and deteriorating state as a remnant from the 1990s, calling for a reset. However, it can also be considered as the unofficial Wembley Stadium of the region. Why? Despite its aging state, the 75,000-seat stadium has a rich history dating back to 1910 and has been graced by legendary players such as Billy Meredith, George Best, Sirs Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, Eric Cantona, and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others. It is also currently the largest football stadium in England after Wembley.
Is it possible for government funds to be allocated for this?
It is unlikely that this will be approved, especially considering the large amount of funding needed. United may try to persuade the government to provide funding as part of its levelling up initiative, but it is rumored that most of the money will need to come from the private sector since this is a business venture. There may be some tax breaks available, but the majority of the funding will need to come from private sources.
What is the probability of constructing a new stadium in that location?
The probability is now leaning towards 60-40. With Ratcliffe’s involvement, the likelihood increases as he has shown determination through his hiring of Omar Berrada from Manchester City as the new CEO. However, one should proceed with caution as the six Glazer siblings still hold the majority ownership and their past management of Old Trafford has not been impressive. The announcement of Ratcliffe’s deal on Christmas Eve stated that he would provide an additional $300m for future investment in Old Trafford, but this money could also be used for other purposes.
What is the estimated duration of the project?
Six to eight years.
Where will United be located while construction is taking place?
Could United potentially play at a different stadium while Old Trafford is under construction? Sources have suggested it may not be possible, but could they use City’s Etihad Stadium? One possibility is that once both teams’ fans are used to the idea, why not? For example, the Milan clubs share San Siro, and United played at City’s former ground, Maine Road, during WWII and in the 1950s when Old Trafford was damaged and lacked floodlights. However, if the Etihad is not an option, this likely rules out Anfield (due to the fierce rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool), so perhaps the new Everton stadium could be considered? Alternatively, what about using the Wembley of the South: Wembley Stadium? After all, according to the joke, United’s fanbase mostly consists of Londoners.
What could potentially occur to Old Trafford?
The stadium could potentially be downsized to serve as the women’s and academy teams’ venue, or it could be reconfigured to house the museum.
Indeed, an overhaul of Old Trafford is necessary. Nonetheless, the presence of a train track nearby presents limitations.