Connect with us


Sir Jim Ratcliffe reveals new Old Trafford stadium capacity and new plans



| Last Updated:


Credit: Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has opened up about a new capacity for Old Trafford amid potential plans for a new Manchester United stadium.

The idea of a new Manchester United stadium replacing the current Old Trafford has been a hot topic for a number of weeks, and many feel that it is time the club built a new, modern stadium.

In the last 20 years, multiple Premier League clubs, such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City, have built new, state-of-the-art stadiums that are fit for a modern club, while Old Trafford is nearing 114 years old.

BREAKING: Sir Jim Ratcliffe reveals Mason Greenwood plan in full statement on Man United loanee

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, United’s new co-owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has explained that in an ideal world, it is a “no-brainer” that United should have such a stadium.

“In an ideal world, I think it’s a no-brainer,” Ratcliffe said. “In an ideal world, you want a stadium in the north, a stadium of the north, which would be a world-class stadium where England could play and you could have the FA Cup Final, and it’s not all centred around the south of England.

“So in an ideal world, absolutely, that’s where I would be, but you’ve got to be practical about life.

“You have to think practically because money doesn’t grow on trees, obviously. The two most talked-about issues at Manchester United are number one, the football, the performance on the pitch, and the second one is the stadium.

“What we can see so far – we haven’t had much time – what we’ve seen of the stadium so far: there is a really good case to refurbish Old Trafford, probably about £1billion in cost, or something like that.

Speaking further, he explained that the ideal capacity would be between 80-90,000 seats, which would add a huge extra match-going crowd compared to the current 75,000-seater Old Trafford.

“You finish up with a great stadium, it’s probably an 80 or 90,000-seater. But it’s not perfect because you’re modifying a stadium that is slap bang up against a railway line and all that type of stuff, so it’s not an ideal world. But you finish up with a very good answer.

“Manchester United needs a stadium befitting one of the biggest clubs in the world, and at the moment, it’s not there. Old Trafford maybe was 20 years ago, but it’s certainly not today.

“There’s this wider conversation with the community as to whether you could use a more ambitious project on-site as a catalyst to regenerate that Old Trafford area, which is quite an interesting area in a way because it was the heart of the Industrial Revolution, it is the oldest industrial park in Europe, it was the first industrial park in Europe. It’s where the Industrial Revolution began. And it’s still one of the biggest ones. And they obviously built the Manchester Ship Canal to service it. That’s where all the coal came in, the cotton and that sort of stuff.

“And that’s why they built Old Trafford there. People would finish their shift and then walk to the ground, there was no transport in those days. That’s the history of why the club is there.

“But today it’s a bit run-down and neglected in places, there’s a strong case for using a stadium to regenerate that area, like with the Olympics, like Seb Coe did with that part of East London quite successfully. City have done it, and they’ve done quite a good job.

Ratcliffe also outlined the potential to create a national stadium in the north that would rival London’s Wembley.

“The people in the north pay their taxes like the people in the south pay their taxes – But where’s the national stadium for football? It’s in the south? Where’s the national stadium for rugby? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for tennis? It’s in the south. Where’s the national concert stadium? It’s the O2, it’s in the south. Where’s the Olympic Village? It’s in the south.

“All of this talk about levelling up and the Northern Powerhouse. Where is the stadium in the north? How many Champions Leagues has the north-west won, and how many Champions Leagues has London won? The answer to that is the north-west has won 10 – Liverpool have won more than us – and London has won two.

“Where do you have to go if you get to the semi-final of the FA Cup and you’re a northern club? You have to schlepp down to London, don’t you?

“So what happened to HS2, which was going to be a substantial amount of investment in the north, what happened to that? They cancelled that. And where are they going to spend that? They’re going to spend it on the rail network in London.

“People in the north pay their taxes, and there is an argument you could think about a more ambitious project in the north which would be fitting for England, for the Champions League final or the FA Cup final and acted as a catalyst to regenerate southern Manchester, which has got quite significant history in the UK.”