Old Trafford

Will Jim Ratcliffe Build a New Stadium or Upgrade Old Trafford?

Anyone who has ever watched a match at Old Trafford knows the condition of the stadium.

In fact, the rival fans have been chanting “Old Trafford is falling down” for the last few seasons.

The rival teams use this chant to mock the team’s performance and their arena in general.

These chants are correct and fans have had to suffer during the rainy season.

Part of the stadium was flooded during the match against Arsenal, with water falling through the roof.

Luckily, the INEOS founder has a great plan for the team, but will he build a new stadium or upgrade Old Trafford? Let’s find out.

The Condition of Old Trafford

The declining standards of Old Trafford have been well-documented, with the latest example being from their match against Arsenal.

Videos of run-down areas of the arena were seen online, with the last upgrade being done in 2006.

This has resulted in the FA removing Old Trafford from the list of stadiums to host the Euro 2028.

The FA is unsure if the stadium will be ready by the time the games start, especially with the planned repairs or reconstruction.

Despite being the largest stadium in England, football fans have criticized Old Trafford for years.

The team owners need to repair the main stand and its roofs.

Some fans believe that the exterior of the arena also needs rework, as it appears a bit reddish.

But what has prompted an uproar among the fans is the stadium’s legroom.

The stadium has been redesigned several times over the century, but the team has never increased the legroom.

On top of that, the roofs are too low, which makes the stadium seem smaller than other modern arenas.

Therefore, redeveloping Old Trafford can be a good idea if it’s cheaper than building a new one.

Could the Red Devils Get a New Stadium?

Ever since Ratcliffe acquired 25% of the team, he has been vocal about his plans for the team.

One of his main plans is building a new stadium; however, he is against the idea of relocating the stadium.

But he believes that the fans will be fine with the idea if it remains on the same land.

Remember, Old Trafford owns over 100 acres of land in the region, and about 43 acres of land are perfect for the project.

His goal is to construct the “Wembley of the North” with a bigger seating capacity than the national stadium.

Therefore, Ratcliffe created a task force to oversee the rebuilding project with him as the chair.

The task force is currently considering two proposals (a complete rebuild of the stadium vs repurposing of the current Old Trafford).

What Have Other European Teams Done in the Past?

An upgrade can be a terrific idea, as they could simply expand some stands like Sir Bobby Charlton to hold more visitors.

Most teams have done this in the past, with Liverpool being the latest one to upgrade its arena.

But, if the cost of repair tops the price of erecting a new stadium, they should just build a new one.

Tottenham Hotspur did this in 2016 and had to spend three years at Wembley.

They shifted to their new 60,000-seater stadium in 2019.

Real Madrid also did the same thing, while Barcelona is currently building its own.

If you haven’t seen these stadiums, you should check out GO Sport Travel and secure your tickets for the next season.

Unfortunately, Old Trafford rests between a canal and a railway line, which has made it hard for them to expand in the past.

Nonetheless, technology has advanced, and other teams like Brentford have overcome these issues.

Speaking of Brentford, they had to deal with the challenge in 2020 when building the Gtech Community Stadium.

But their project was smaller, bearing a capacity of 17,000 fans.

The renovation of Aviva Stadium also dealt with railway line issues back in 2010.

How Much Will Building a New Stadium Cost?

Expanding Old Trafford can cost around £800m, whereas building a new one will cost over £2bn.

According to Daniel Levy, Tottenham spent £1.2bn, and Ratcliffe may have to spend more.

This means that he may have to raise his pledge of £239 for him to fulfil his promise.

If that is infeasible, then he may rack up the team’s debt, which currently stands at about £969m.

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