It has been claimed that Ratcliffe believes United fans would not be opposed to knocking down Old Trafford and building a new world-class stadium at the existing site. According to the Daily Telegraph, the Ineos chief has drawn up big plans to build a ‘Wembley of the north’ for United in the not-too-distant future.
Ratcliffe has also been busy in other areas since agreeing to purchase a minority stake in the Red Devils, with Omar Berrada having joined from Manchester City as the club’s new CEO, while they are also stepping up plans to appoint a new director of football. And it seems that Ratcliffe may have been listening to the advice of Neville, who previously urged him to improve things in the boardroom before focusing on the stadium issue.
“You have got to get on to the sporting side where you think about a head of recruitment, a manager and a sporting director, and that CEO making it up from a financial perspective,” Neville told Sky Sports in December. “To me, it is really important, ultimately, that they get that right.
“Then you can start to think about the stadium, training facilities and all the other things. I have to think once you have got those people and place, you know, management and the plan around the stadium sorted, I do think the football side starts to take care of itself because the foundations are good and the principles are good.”
United have been widely tipped to either redevelop Old Trafford or build an entirely new stadium in the future, with the current arena in desperate need of modernisation. The roof of the Main Stand leaks when it rains and the stadium has been left off the list of venues for Euro 2028, which will be hosted by the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have spent £195m on two new stands at Anfield since 2016 while City’s owners are committed to a further £300m investment in the Etihad Stadium, according to ESPN. Tottenham have also reaped the rewards of replacing White Hart Lane with a new modern home, which has seen them overtake the likes of Chelsea in terms of revenue over the last few years.
It remains to be seen if Ratcliffe’s impressive plans for a new United stadium will end up coming to fruition, with the 71-year-old having reportedly set aside £250m for upgrading or replacing Old Trafford. The money will also be used to redevelop the club’s training ground at Carrington, which has been their base for 24 years since it replaced The Cliff in 2000.
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