Old Trafford, Manchester United, c Nat Callaghan on Unsplash

Manchester United could get a new home - if Sir Jim Ratcliffe's dreams can become reality. Credit: Nat Callaghan on Unsplash

A new Old Trafford? Ratcliffe invites Gary Neville to weigh in

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe is putting together a task force to explore the building of a 90,000-capacity “stadium of the North”.

Ratcliffe announced the task force in a meeting with journalists, where he also said he was considering refurbishing the current 74,000-capacity stadium – a plan that the club knows it could afford, he said.

However, he has larger ambitions for the football club.

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

Ratcliffe said he had invited former Manchester United star and developer Gary Neville to join the task force. Media reports say that Neville has already met with United chief operating officer, Collette Roche, about providing his expertise.

This is not the first time a new stadium has been floated for United. The club appointed architect Populous and stadium consultant Legends International to explore the redevelopment of the football ground in 2022.

Creating a new stadium would be part of a larger regeneration scheme, Ratcliffe said, citing the impact the 2012 Olympics had on Stratford and the role Manchester City Football Club has had in Manchester.

Ratcliffe said having a high-profile stadium in the North was “a no-brainer”, adding that the facility should “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”.

However, before hopes are raised – Ratcliffe did admit that while a new stadium would be the best move in an ideal world, he would be practical when it comes to Old Trafford’s future. So it may just be the refurbishment after all.

Regardless of whether or not a stadium is built, the area around Old Trafford is already lined up for a regeneration scheme drawn up by Trafford Council. The local authority released its draft 15-year framework for Trafford Wharfside, a 215-acre area that includes the stadium, earlier this month.

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As a Liverpool fan who lives in Manchester I’d like to see United get a ‘Wembley of the North’. I’d also like to see the same stadium cripple them in debt, affecting the club on and off the pitch – life is all about balance

By Kloppite

Fantastic news for Manchester Airport.

By More Anonymous than the others

Looks like the new football cycle is about to begin, very exciting times.

By Bob

The airport can’t cope with any more traffic, it can’t cope now!

By Gilly

Multi-billionaire requests taxpayer handout to boost share price of successful business. I hope common sense prevails.

By Anne Nominus

I’m a city fan, but I do think it would be a mistake to leave the site…..I feel the same about Goodison park. I’d imagine best solution is going to be 3/4 stands in use with 1/4 stands being replaced each season. Obviously plenty of problems with doing it that way, but can’t imagine United going anywhere else.

By Anonymous

Huh huh huh huh good one Kloppite

By Huh huh huh

I know Jim is a lifelong fan – BUT – he is also a very astute business person. Presuming there is some sort of incentive and greater income stream from this from the wider landscape and as a shareholder! He’s not daft!

By Bob Dawson

He’s after public money – so doubt would be crippled.

By Anon

We have and will continue to play in the UK’s largest club stadium. As said Kloppite said, life is all about balance.

By Degsy Sir Alex Ferguson Stand (Upper Tier)

I don’t like anything which refers to a project, “Of the North.” It sounds parochial. Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he will be approaching the government for support. He won’t get anything out of the Southservatives, or London Labour. We are as ever, on our own. He might be better approaching the SNP in Edinburgh. We might be able to share it with the Scots.

By Elephant

@Elephant why should public money be used to fund this?

By Anonymous

They need some nice car parking


Cant see why an Govt would or should step in, perhaps for some investment in the wider regeneration of the area like what happened around Tottenham stadium. The Gov’t cant set a precedent to help football clubs build big new stadiums.

By J

Create a processional route from Old Trafford metrolink past the cricket ground, past the new football stadium, then on to Salford Quays. The area around the Bridgewater canal should be developed for leisure and housing. All car parking should be underground (either by digging down or raising everything on a plinth) to maximise space for development and public space. This should include public squares and a park. The design should make use of vistas, to provide views of stadium and other landmarks. It would also be good if the existing stadium could be reconfigured somehow so that Womens football and Youth teams could all be brought to the Old Trafford complex.

By Mark

Scruffy Jim fiddles while United burn. Great PR (Noisy Neighbours) to appease the United fans. You go for it Jim, but don’t expect the tax payer to fund your Stadium of the North vanity project.

By jrb

I suspect we all feel aggrieved and outraged at the blatant bias towards the South , its not whinging its a fact . However public money to build a stadium for a private company do me a favour . Old Trafford has become very tired and 100% needs either a significant refurbishment or replacing. Either way you are looking at many years ahead for that to happen. design , followed by the torturous planners , then build it 5 years minimum. Everton (New) & City grounds are decent enough for semi finals etc its the greed of the FA why they want games a Wembley

By Paul

having taken part in a review on the current structures viability for future retention i can safely say that there is no way it can be retained and built upon. The existing steelwork, cabling and foundation are well past their use by date. it would unrealistic to simply add to the existing structure. The whole thing needs breaking down and rebuilding. As a united fan i would love to see it retained but as a professional in the industry i know that will not happen. we must cast aside our feelings for the benefit of United future and accept a new state of the art venue must be built.

By K.Steel

Unbelievable but true, proposing something of significant importance for the North and oh by the way it has to be in Manchester and it would provide a new stadium for the biggest and richest team in the world who have no money?

By Begging bowl for Manchester again

Anon at 2.29pm. I think he means the area around the new stadium, not the actual stadium. Of course government should contribute to the roads in Old Trafford, and help with regeneration around that area. As was mentioned in the comments, they helped around White Hart Lane. Paul the word you are looking for is neglect, not bias.

By Anonymous

Schools, hospitals or subsidise the £140m Manchester United spend on Casemiro?

By M Knighton

Oh come on begging bowl, I mean as long as they don’t choose the same developers recently working on Anfield then this will be a massive win over the coming years for the North as a whole. Hurrah for the North !

By Anonymous

As per usual anything involving ‘of the north’ is a Mancunian powerplay to horde goodies for themselves – usually at tax payer expense

By James

Anonymous asks Why should public money be used to fund this? Answer: Because it is an economic investment that will generate economic returns not just for Manchester but for the North as a whole. More visitors, more money, more taxes generating a positive return on the investment. Government spending is mostly investment and government “debt” is mostly capital borrowing for public investment. It is called ‘capitalism’: borrow money to invest and make a profit on that investment.

By Anonymous

How is Gary Neville badged up as a man with exceptional expertise in regen, and not one of the city’s hundreds of chartered surveyors with decades of experience in delivery, funding, trading, etc…

By John W

@ 6:30 pm
By Anonymous or of course the same developers as the delayed and over massively over budget “Aviva” cultural venue that’s blown 200mil of tax payers dosh.

By Anonymous

Obviously it’s a rue at present by Ratcliffe.
But why if this ever sees the light of day that they can’t pay for it themselves, after all it would be their stadium?
Maybe the promised funds aren’t available to do this and the yellow and green scarfs will be making a comeback?

By Just saying

John W – Are you forgetting G.Nev has a Hotel right next to the stadium? This is the likely reason he is a stakeholder in all this.

By Anon

Hopefully Gary Neville will be in charge of hospitality, we could get a Rabbit in the Moon, a Cafe Football, a Mahiki, a Bear and Bull, a Stock Exchange Grill

By Jay

Gary Neville is just a front-man hired by Singapore Investors to attract buyers and win approval for their plans. He is not the financier, the site planner, the developer, the architect or site manager. But understandable to most folk, Gary Neville funds buildings, an architect draws the buildings, brickies build them. Dead simple.

By Anonymous

Good to see the unofficial Mayor of Manchester weighing in.

By Gary Who?

@9:01 am Anonymous. You should enter the Olympics for mental gymnastics if you think that a) A new stadium for Man Utd is for the benefit of the “North”. b) Ratcliffe will get a penny of government money to build his new plaything a stadium.

By Anonymous

Neville is the enabler. Like him or not, some cities would die for someone like him to promote their city the way he does.

By Anonymous

Think you’ve got the wrong stadium anonymous 9.28… the Avive has been here for years. But understandable there are so many world class venues in Manchester now.

By Anonymous

Of course it will benefit the North, we all live in the North. Nonsense to think otherwise. This is a wonderful proposal, be grateful it will create many jobs and regenerate an area that needs it just as Eastlands has done.

By Anonymous

Aviva studios only got completed late 2023 and as stated at around 150 million over budget. Manchester sure likes blowing public money on venues given Manchester Cities ground was built on public dosh too.

By Anonymous

Its the 21st century so whatever they do, it should have a fully retractable roof – afterall this is the North West of England, not sunny Spain.
(Doug Ellis backed a new national stadium in the late nineties around Birmingham. Was meant to have 100,000 capacity and a roof).

By MrP

Oh dear, Manchester clearly owes the country so much and has done so little to over the past 25 yrs to attract investment and development…couldn’t make it up!. Ah well some will believe what they wish ..for obvious reasons 😉. However this remains a wonderful proposal and while long term I have no doubt that as it’s in the right place for said investment it will undoubtedly progress, and very welcome it will be too.

By Anonymous

The capital of the North needs a stadium of this calibre. It’s going to be another brilliant asset to the city when it’s built . Now get on with it!

By Tom

As a massive fan of both MUFC and INEOS I’d love to see an INEOS world here, a formula one attraction with a replica F1 car, a velodrome to house the Grenadiers like the old one at Eastlands used to host Team Sky, a sailing facility for the Britannia Americas Cup team and to top it off a stadium that can host NFL games, NFL is due to become the UK’s second most watched sport on TV so we should have some live games in the north.


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