‘The Red Devils’ in no hurry to revamp home



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Possible updates on Old Trafford Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Premier League club Manchester United (UK) insists they are “open” to expanding their residence – Old Trafford – but have made it clear that presently there are no plans to do so.

The ‘Manchester Evening News’ stated that United have not increased Old Trafford since the North-West and North-East quadrants were set up in March 2006, taking the capacity to circa 76,000.

The Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK), which competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football.

Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,140 seats, it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, and the 11th-largest in Europe.

Plans for the quadrants were announced in March 2004 – 14 months before the Glazer family completed their takeover of the club. During the Glazers’ 16-year ownership, United have made a handful of upgrades to its digs.

Manchester United is currently owned by the six children of the Late former owner Malcolm Glazer: Avram, Joel, Kevin, Bryan, Darcie, and Edward Glazer. Malcolm Glazer took hold of a majority stake in the club in 2005 through investment company Red Football Limited.

The ‘Manchester Evening News’ further stated that the former captain of Manchester United Gary Neville echoed the views of many matchgoers recently by opining the stadium is “rotting”.

Premier League teams Tottenham Hotspur F.C. opened their new 62,850-capacity all-seater Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2019, Liverpool F.C. redecorated the main stand of their 53,394-capacity residence – Anfield – in 2016 and Manchester City F.C. enhanced the South Stand of their home venue – the 55,097-capacity Etihad Stadium – in 2015.

The roof of the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand at Old Trafford continues to leak and water gushed down from the Stretford End roof prior to the April 2019 derby.

In the minutes from the fans’ forum held on April 16th, a United supporter asked, “As there have been no fans in attendance for over 12 months now has the opportunity been taken to make any significant alterations or improvements to the stadium during this period either externally or internally. What are the club’s plans for renovating the stadium and increasing capacity? It is looking tired in comparison with other stadia, for example, Tottenham’s new ground.”

Collette Roche, United’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), had this to say, “Since 2005, over £100m has been invested in the stadium, including the £20m investment last season. We’re looking at an investment plan while maintaining what makes Old Trafford special. Part of the allure of Old Trafford is the fact that it’s a stadium that was built in 1910. Our vision is to rejuvenate the stadium but keep it feeling like it is Old Trafford. That’s the perfect solution for us.”

Added Roche, “There are no plans currently to increase capacity significantly, but we would not rule it out completely in the long term. There are ongoing work streams to review opportunities to slightly increase the capacity in a number of locations, however, this work is on hold until we can access the stadium properly again.”

She further pointed out, “It is worth noting a few specifics: The £11m upgrade to our disabled facilities is completed. These will be state-of-the-art and among the best in Europe. Once fans are back at Old Trafford we can test these facilities and then officially open them. We remain committed to installing barrier seating in the North-East quadrant and, while work has been on hold due to the pandemic, we plan to commence installation in the summer. We will be working with the Trafford Council to discuss and finalize the specific conditions and hope to have the barrier seating section operational once we are back to full capacity.”

Roche further informed, “Resources have been invested into ensuring that the stadium is COVID-secure. This has involved upgrades to our ticketing and access control systems, new signage and hygiene regimes to ensure that the fans’ experience at the stadium is safe. As always, we are carrying out our annual stadium maintenance program which involves painting and lighting upgrades to ensure that the stadium is in good shape for the return of our fans.”

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