A designer has presented what a redeveloped Old Trafford could look like amid claims Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to transform Manchester United’s stadium into the ‘Wembley of the North’ with a spectacular rebuild.
The Ineos billionaire, whose 25 per cent purchase of United is set to be ratified by the Premier League, allegedly believes the club should have a world-class arena that rivals England’s home venue.
The Daily Telegraphhas claimed Ratcliffe may lobby the UK government for ‘Levelling Up’ funding to help finance the project, which may cost up to £2billion.
A source close to Ratcliffe told the publication: “He feels the club need 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.”
Ratcliffe allegedly wants to remain on or close to the existing Old Trafford site that United have called home for 114 years. While a redevelopment and expansion of the current ground remains an option, a full rebuild would reportedly be more cost-effective.
The consensus is that Old Trafford needs a big major upgrade to compete with some of the world’s best stadiums. And last February, before the news of Ratcliffe’s re-development plans, YouTuber Bondibot created potential designs for a revamped Theatre of Dreams.
The first concept put forward in the above video is Old Trafford expanding its overall capacity to 74,310, with the Bobby Charlton Stand getting a much-needed face-lift.
The second concept includes a modern 360-degree exterior, similar to that of the Allianz Arena, alongside a new roof and expansion to the Sir Alex Ferguson stand.
Of course, these are fan-made mock-ups to show what the Theatre of Dreams could look like with financial backing
As per The Telegraph, Ratcliffe and Ineos are already in talks with Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester and officials at Trafford Council, regarding plans for a refurbished Old Trafford.
Part of the vision shown to Burnham and other officials reportedly includes the potential for a sport, entertainment and community village around the rebuilt stadium which would create jobs and boost the local economy.
While some government funding could be forthcoming, United would be expected to raise most of the capital themselves.