With the last major redevelopment of Old Trafford being in 2006, and its development largely being ignored by the Glazer family in their 18 years of ownership, it is time again for Manchester United to have a state-of-the-art stadia.
Back in April, United confirmed that they had hired the services of global architectural firm Populus and management consultants Legends International to make plans for stadium development, which with new investment into the club, could finally take place.
With stadium development happening up and down the country, it increasingly makes Old Trafford look like a relic, despite its size, with its leaky and dirty roof, no big screens for replays or VAR, numerous complaints about wifi and phone signal and the occasional rodent infestation.
Along with these reasons, there is also new revenue to be had with more seats, as United could likely seat at least 90,000 for most home games, 16,000 more than their current capacity, and if you average a ticket to £50 per person when contemplating season tickets and hospitality packages, that is an extra £800,000 per game, which over a Premier League season equates to around £15 million.
The redevelopment of the stadium will be no small feat, with the reported figure being around £1 billion to turn it into again the best club stadium in the country, and whilst this number is huge, the reported figure of a new stadium is around £2 billion, which is exactly why the Glazer family are looking for new investment into the club, whether that be a full or partial sale.
The major argument for redeveloping the stadium is because of the massive history of the stadium, with it being Manchester United's home since 1910, with some parts of the stadium still intact from when it was built.
Whilst it is metaphorically, it is the same pitch in which the Busby Babes became England’s favourite team, it is where Sir Alex Ferguson managed to win 13 Premier League titles and it was these reasons which made Old Trafford the largest capacity stadium in England, which would make knocking down the stadium as if they are taking away the history of the club to the fans, whilst also seeing it as an insult to the history and the countless memories that made Sir Bobby Charlton brand it ‘The Theatre of Dreams’.
However, the argument for completely ripping it down and starting from scratch is that redeveloping will be too complex, with the active railway line behind the Sir Bobby Charlton stand, likely blocking any development in the only single-tier stand and turning the current Old Trafford into a new, state of the art stadium, could take even longer than it would take to build a brand new stadium.
Whilst the Bernabeu is still being redeveloped, they were helped from there being no fans due to Covid, so they could afford to play at their training ground for a season, something United can’t do, and the logistics and revenue loss behind a reduced capacity or even a stadium share could be of hindrance to the club.