Manchester United are focused on revamping Old Trafford, which could lead to the complete demolition of the current stadium.
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The 74,140 capacity home of the Red Devils hasn’t seen extensive renovations over the last 16 years and the Glazer family have been meeting with fans in recent years and upgrading Old Trafford is high up on the fans’ list of priorities.
According to Manchester United’s chief operating officer, Collette Roche, the club is looking at all options and is talking to consultants about the project.
A report from the Guardian states that the main plan is to either demolish and rebuild the current South Stand, or to potentially demolish Old Trafford and build a brand new stadium next door to it.
The issue with the latter is that United may be without a home while that work is done. Real Madrid and Tottenham have done something similar in recent years but both clubs were forced to play in temporary homes while the work was finished. Man United aren’t exactly going to move in to the Etihad Stadium on a temporary basis, are they?
What could happen?
Roche said the following at a fans’ forum about the potential revamp of Old Trafford.
“We have been assessing the capabilities of globally leading consultants who want to help us develop a masterplan for the modernisation of Old Trafford, with the ultimate aim of improving the matchday experience for fans,” Roche said.
“We are hoping to appoint our preferred partners in the coming weeks; following this, we will be able to formally kick off phase one of the project, which will be focused on establishing the vision and objectives for the masterplan.”
Why do United want to do this?
Old Trafford is the largest Premier League stadium by quite some distance (Tottenham’s home at 62,850 is the next largest) but huge modernization is needed.
Liverpool have expanded and upgraded Anfield in recent years, so too have Manchester City as their Etihad Stadium has incredible facilities. Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham have all moved into new stadiums in the last decade and their facilities are the envy of perennial Premier League giants.
Manchester United’s fans really want Old Trafford to be upgraded and this will be the first time under the ownership of the Glazer family that a renovation project of this scale has been undertaken.
It would probably be fair to assume that the owners would rather build a brand new stadium on land next to the current Old Trafford so they can make the most of any new premium seating and they can make the stadium into exactly what they want to maximize increased revenue opportunities.
However, expanding and improving the current stadium seems to be what the fans want and doing something similar to Liverpool’s upgrade of Anfield seems to be the way to keep everyone happy.