Ratcliffe resplendent Man United home plans


ManUnited owner targets 100,000 capacity for new stadium Image: Coliseum GSVA

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Owner of the Premier League team Manchester United F.C., believes Manchester United (UK) have the “opportunity” to build a “state-of-the-art” stadium that could house up to 100,000 supporters.

‘Manchester Evening News’ stated that Ratcliffe, who is the Chairman of the London (UK)-based petrochemical giant Ineos, completed a deal to secure a minority stake in United last month, bagging 27.7 percent of the club’s shares. The boyhood United supporter now has grand ambitions to transform the club’s fortunes, both on and off the pitch.

The Manchester United Football Club, commonly referred to as Man United, or simply United, is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK). The club competes in the Premier League, the top division of the English football league system.

The Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK), and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,310 it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, and the 12th-largest in Europe.

Earlier this month, Ratcliffe enlisted Lord Sebastian Coe and Gary Neville to join a task force to explore options for regenerating the top-flight club’s home facility – the Old Trafford. The United Co-Owner has made no secret of the fact he would prefer to bulldoze Old Trafford and build a brand-new stadium on the existing site.

Ratcliffe envisions building a stadium that is capable of hosting the Football Association (FA) Cup final and England fixtures. He is adamant United need a stadium that reflects their brand and stature.

London (UK)-based the Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

Remarked Ratcliffe, “It needs to have a stadium that’s befitting the club and the brand. That might have been the case 20 years ago, but it isn’t today. I mean we can refurbish the ground and we’ll do a really nice job of that, it will be a fantastic stadium. And that would cost about a billion [pounds] to do that and the club can shoulder that burden. But you have got this opportunity if you choose to, to build a completely new ground because we have got enough space to build a completely new ground. If you built a completely new ground it would absolutely be state-of-the-art, world-class, 90,000 or maybe even 100,000 (capacity). That then provides a platform for some of the big competitions in the North of England. Football is just as important in the North as it is in the South, arguably more so. The people in the North pay the taxes.”

Added Ratcliffe, “So why do we have Wembley (the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium in Wembley, England) in the South? Why do we have Twickenham (the 82,000-capacity Twickenham Stadium in Twickenham, England) in the South? Why do we have Wimbledon (London, England) in the South? Why do we have the Olympic Village (the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England) in the South? Why do we have the O2 concert arena (the 20,000-capacity The O2 Arena in London) in the South? And what have we got in the North? What’s all this sort of leveling up stuff and you know, the Great Northern Powerhouse – great words, but what’s actually been done?”

‘Manchester Evening News’ further stated that the United fans recently sent Ratcliffe a message about the need for a “Wembley of the North”-style stadium, and the use of public funds to help build it, which the billionaire has previously suggested he would look into.

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