Manchester United’s iconic home stadium, Old Trafford, could be demolished and rebuilt as part of radical revamp plans.
According to a report by Telegraph, Man United are close to appointing preferred partners for what could be the biggest redevelopment project in the club’s rich and colorful history.
The decision has been made after an exhaustive tender process was carried out in which those bidding were asked to put forward three different resign proposals.
Of the proposals submitted,the most ambitious is for Old Trafford to be completely rebuilt.
If the club pressed ahead with the move,a new,larger stadium would be built on a reconfigured site.
It is claimed that it would be large enough to rival Wembley’s 90,000 capacity.
Furthermore,it would also feature a second ground to play host to the women’s team and fixtures of the academy.
A lot of United’s youth-team and women’s fixtures are currently played at Leigh Sports Village.
The Glazer family, whose attendance at matches this season has been almost non-existent, have faced a wealth of criticism in recent years from United supporters for not putting enough funding into modernising Old Trafford. The ground, in parts, has become dated and lags behind the stadia enjoyed by some of their rivals, such as Tottenham Hotspur.
Whilst a full rebuild would be a straight-forward project, a redevelopment of the stadium could prove to be problematic. That is because it would raise questions about where United would play their home games whilst works are carried out.
Whilst Tottenham had their new stadium built, they played their home games across London at Wembley. However, there is no alternative, large venue in the north west of England that could cater for a club of United’s size during the building work period.
The prospect of ground-sharing with another club would present no shortage of troubles and mean a hefty-sized blow to United’s matchday revenue. Currently, United generate more than £4million for every home game at Old Trafford.
However, it is reported that nothing, at this stage, can be ruled out, with United prepared to consider all the possible options. The other options under consideration are:
- An expansion of Old Trafford’s existing South Stand, which would involve going up and over the top of the adjacent railway line and increase capacity to over 80,000, plus an overhaul of the rest of the stadium.
- A complete revamp of the existing stadium, including a drastic overhaul of the club’s corporate hospitality, but with no South Stand expansion.
It is reported that if United chose one of the two above options, the club ideally favour a phased rebuild that would allow them to continue to play at Old Trafford at a full capacity, opposed to the South Stand being temporarily closed. However, the costs involved in the project would considerably increase if the preferred bidder was asked to redevelop the South Stand whilst it remained in use on matchdays.
Once the preferred bidder is confirmed and named, United are expected to pursue a detailed assessment of the costs, timescales and pros and cons of the three proposals submitted before deciding on the best way forward.