Manchester United

Man Utd stadium: Will Old Trafford be demolished & a new ground built?

3:50 PM WAT 25/03/2022
Old Trafford | Manchester United Chelsea | 26102014
Several renovation options for an iconic venue are being considered, with the Red Devils ready to make serious upgrades to their famous home

Manchester United have called Old Trafford home since 1910 – a brief ground share with City at Maine Road aside during the Second World War – and intend to remain in their current surroundings for many years to come.

There is, however, a sense that the Red Devils are being left behind by domestic and continental rivals when it comes to 21st century stadiums, meaning that grand plans are being drawn up in a bid to level that playing field.

Change is on the cards down Sir Matt Busby Way, but how sweeping that is remains to be seen. Here, GOAL takes a look at the development plans that have been discussed – including a complete rebuild of an iconic venue.

Will Old Trafford be demolished & a new ground built?

United are keeping all redevelopment avenues open for now and are yet to commit to any specific project.

The club remain in talks with planners and developers regarding proposals for the site and have vowed to consult with supporters on a regular basis throughout an exciting process.

There has been talk of the entire stadium being demolished, albeit gradually so that games can continue to be staged at the ground, but such speculation is considered to be “premature”.

Alternative options such as extending the South Stand over the neighbouring railway lines are also being considered and no preferred partners for what will be a costly undertaking have been lined up as yet.

Club officials are, however, continuing to discuss the matter, with the plan being to bring Old Trafford into line with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Emirates Stadium.

United’s chief operating officer, Collette Roche, said at a recent fans’ forum: “Turning to stadium development, since our last meeting we have been assessing the capabilities of globally-leading consultants who want to help us develop a masterplan for the modernisation of Old Trafford, with the ultimate aim of improving the matchday experience for fans.

“We have met with companies across a range of disciplines, including architecture, engineering, construction, crowd modelling, transport, security and many more.

“We are hoping to appoint our preferred partners in the coming weeks; following this, we will be able to formally kick-off Phase 1 of the project, which will be focused on establishing the vision and objectives for the masterplan.”

Does anybody support the demolition of Old Trafford?

Old Trafford is currently the largest club stadium in English football, with only Wembley boasting a bigger capacity, and has undergone various upgrades over the course of its 112-year existence.

Knocking it down and starting again is considered to be a highly unlikely course of action, but that proposal has attracted support from a famed product of the club’s Class of ‘92 that took in 602 appearances for the Red Devils while claiming eight Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.

Gary Neville said on an Instagram Live when asked about the redevelopment plans: “There’s a story emerging from Old Trafford that they might be looking to rebuild the entire stadium.

“I’ve just been asked what I think of it, I actually think it would be the right move. I think by the time they’ve spent the money that needs to be spent on Old Trafford, the existing one, then I think you’re probably better off building a brand new super stadium.

“I do think Manchester United should always be at the forefront of stadiums, best facilities, and they have fallen behind.”

Pressed on whether upgrades to Old Trafford would help the Glazer family to earn some favour within a fanbase that has always been strongly opposed to their presence, Neville added: “No, not particularly, I do think it’s time for them to sell. I think they’ve overstayed their welcome.

“I think the fact they said they would engage with the fans three, four, five months ago and then they haven’t done since isn’t good enough. I think it would be a breath of fresh air [if they left].

“But I do think the stadium needs redevelopment. It’s fallen behind many other stadiums, not just in this country but obviously in Europe and I do think they need to rebuild that stadium.”