The future of Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford stadium is secure after a supporters group succeeded in having the ground registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).
Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) nominated the stadium for ACV status in order to prevent any future sale of the club’s home.
United moved to Old Trafford in 1910 and, with the newly gained status, fans will be entitled to bid for the historic stadium if the owners – the Glazer family – ever decide to sell.
A MUST spokesperson told the trust’s website: “We welcome this news – and believe both Manchester United and other football fans should too.
“While we appreciate the owners have no current plans to move or sell Old Trafford, this is a decision that helps to protect fans’ interests in the long term, as no one knows what the future holds.”
Despite a victory for the fans the club have objected to the ruling and have called for a review by Trafford Council.
A club statement said: “Old Trafford is, of course, a special place; it is the heart and soul of the club.
“The club obviously sees it the same way, which is why over the last eight years it has demonstrated its commitment to Old Trafford by spending around £90million upgrading its facilities and it will continue that investment in the future.
“We do have concerns that the legislation is not being applied correctly which could set a precedent throughout the country.
“Therefore, we have asked the council to follow the statutory review process to ensure the legislation is being applied as intended and we shall continue to keep open communication with the council.”
Despite the club’s objection MUST have received the support of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP who saw the ruling as a victory for the community.
“The Community Right to Bid brought in by this Government, gives communities the opportunity to retain land and buildings for use and ownership by local people who value them most,” he said in a statement.
“Many of our great cities – including Manchester – are recognised around the world because of the sporting institutions which represent them.”
“The new community rights we have introduced have ensured that even a global iconic institution like Manchester United will remain rooted in the community in which it was founded thanks to the actions of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.
“I look forward to other communities following this wonderful example.”
Picture courtesy of Andre Zahn via Creative Commons, with thanks.