REVEALED: Manchester United’s options to revamp Old Trafford include the dramatic step of DEMOLISHING their famous but faded 112-year-old stadium and playing elsewhere while they build a new, world-class arena on the same site
- Manchester United could choose to knock Old Trafford down as they work out how to revamp their stadium
- There are three options being considered by the club, with demolishing it being the most controversial
- In recent years, United have seen other clubs overtake them in terms of how modern the facilities are
A plan to knock down Old Trafford and rebuild it from scratch is one drastic option on the table as Manchester United consider how best to make their iconic but faded stadium fit for modern purpose.
Completely reconstructing English football’s most famous club stadium – the home of the Busby Babes and Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1999 treble winners – from the ground up would be an extraordinary and controversial way to solve the range of problems currently afflicting United.
But Sportsmail understands that the proposal is one of three currently being considered by the club.
Manchester United could decide to knock Old Trafford down and rebuild the stadium as they consider options to modernise
The club’s South Stand, which backs onto a railway line, could be knocked down and revamped as part of another option
Completely reconstructing English football’s most famous club stadium would be an extraordinary move by United
Old Trafford is 112 years old and one of football’s most recognisable stadiums
United are blessed with acres of land on their current site in Stretford on which to construct a stadium to rival any in the world of sport if they chose to do so.
One of two other two ideas being considered is to rebuild and extend Old Trafford’s ageing and problematic South Stand up and over the railway line that runs behind it.
The second is to leave the stadium structurally intact but conduct a comprehensive revamp of spectator and corporate areas on all four sides.
Currently, it is thought that the South Stand revamp appeals most to the club’s owners the Glazer family and as such it is the more likely option. It would also be the most acceptable to fans.
Current building technology would enable the railway line to be navigated, an issue that was considered prohibitive for many years, on the way to increasing capacity from the stadium’s current 74,000 to beyond 80,000.
United have said they would prefer a phased rebuild of Old Trafford and they would in all likelihood be able to carry out this work without impacting capacity while doing so.
However the option to demolish the 112-year stadium is understood to be real and is part of the proposals that competing architects and engineers have been examining as they bid for the contract to carry out the work.
The Stretford End, located to the west of the ground, is usually where the club’s most hardcore supporters are housed
The souvenir shop and ticket office can be seen on one of the corners of the ground back in 1983
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to United eventually playing in a totally brand new stadium is that the team would have to find somewhere else to play for two years while it was built. When Arsenal and Tottenham awaited work on their new stadia to be completed, they played home games at Wembley.
This would not be an option for United and there is no club outside the Premier League in the north-west that has a big enough stadium to offer a ground share. Sharing with neighbours Manchester City, meanwhile, would never happen.
Old Trafford remains one of the most famous stadium in world sport and has played host to World Cup and European Championship games as well as a Champions League final. But despite several attempts at modernisation over the years, it now falls some way below standards required by a top English club.
Facilities at places like Tottenham and Arsenal are currently far superior.
In recent years, other stadiums in England have overtaken United’s – much to the dismay of the club’s avid fanbase
One issue for United if they were to knock Old Trafford down would be that they would have to find somewhere else to play
United have promised to consult supporters throughout the process and chief operating officer Collette Roche told a fans’ forum in December that several options were being considered.
Roche said: ‘These meetings have produced exciting potential ideas, although it’s important to note that we’re still at an early stage and it’s premature to talk about timetables’.
An announcement about the appointment of an architect is expected soon with news of confirmed plans to follow later.