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Football

07th Feb 2024

Old Trafford demolition plans outlined as Sir Jim Ratcliffe looks to build ‘Wembley of the North’

Charlie Herbert

Old Trafford

‘The club needs an absolute state-of-the-art, knock-it-out-of-the-park stadium’

Manchester United’s new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly looking to create a ‘Wembley of the North’ for the club.

In December, the British billionaire agreed a deal to buy a 25 per cent stake in United and assume control of the football operations at the club, with the Glazers maintain control over the commercial side.

While performances on the pitch will be front and centre of most United fans’ minds, another key issue that Ratcliffe will be tasked with solving is the club’s iconic stadium.

Throughout the Glazers’ time at the club, the stadium has undergone very little development and investment, meaning parts of the ground have fallen into disrepair.

The Telegraph reports that Sir Jim wants to completely demolish the stadium and build a ‘Wembley of the North’ for the Red Devils.

A source told the publication: “He feels the club needs an absolute state-of-the-art, knock-it-out-of-the-park, ‘wow’ ‘stadium.

“And we feel there’s a strong argument for the country having a top-class major venue in the North – a Wembley of the North.”

The INEOS owner, who is a boyhood United fan, is opposed to the club moving to a new location in Manchester, but is said to be open to the idea of building a stadium from scratch on the same ground where Old Trafford currently stands, therefore keeping the club at its ‘spiritual home.’

The source added: “The spiritual home is important. We think the fans would be quite happy to accept a brand new stadium if we stay where we are.

 

“Ultimately you’ve still got a 1910 building.”

The estimated cost for the project is between £1.5 billion and £2 billion. This is compared to the £800m a stadium expansion or renovation would reportedly cost.

It is hoped that United would be able to secure government investment for the project under the “levelling up” initiative.

The source said: “It shouldn’t be a burden on the club because a new stadium should be paying for itself effectively.

“If you’ve got a new 90,000 stadium you’ve got 20,000 new people paying for that stadium.”

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