Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘urged to demolish outdated Old Trafford and build a new £2BN stadium on the surrounding land’ by leading architect, after taking a 25 per cent stake in Man United
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe has a big decision to make about what to do with Old Trafford
- A prominent architect urged him to demolish it and build a new site
- Ratcliffe took a 25 percent stake in Man United on Christmas Eve
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been encouraged to demolish Manchester United's iconic Old Trafford stadium and build a new one, according to reports.
Ratcliffe took a 25 percent stake in United on Christmas Eve – subject to Premier League ratification – and has plenty on his plate as he prepares to take control of the football operations of a team ranked eighth in the Premier League.
The British billionaire has pledged to invest £245 million in the club, and one of his first big decisions is what to do with the aging Old Trafford.
There are currently three possible options following a masterplan drawn up by Populous, the architectural firm that helped build Tottenham's stadium in 2019, and management consultants Legends International.
These are aimed at a small makeover project, extending the south stand over the adjacent railway line and redeveloping the rest of the site, or building a completely new stadium.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe took a 25 percent stake in Man United on Christmas Eve
He has a big decision to make about the future of the club's iconic Old Trafford stadium
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Populous CEO Chris Lee believes Ratcliffe is best off choosing the latter option.
“Well, I would say it's not, but I think the new build could be the most cost-effective solution,” Lee told The Telegraph.
'Yes, the initial investment is of course the highest of the three possible options, but there is so much land available to develop there. She [United] could continue to use the existing ground while construction work is underway, meaning matchday income will not decrease.
'Architecturally speaking, you could do something very innovative and exciting in the available space. There would be no space restrictions.”
Lee's assessment follows a year-long 'strategic review' at United after the Glazers put the club up for sale last November.
According to The Telegraph, Ratcliffe is aware that resolving the situation at the stadium will require significant investment in the future.
Ratcliffe has been urged by a leading architect to demolish Old Trafford and build a new stadium
It is estimated that it would cost Ratcliffe £2 billion to build a new stadium on the surrounding land
The leaking roof was bad when heavy rain fell ahead of the Manchester derby in 2019 (left), while fans watching Olympic football in 2012 (right) were also caught out by it
Old Trafford has been United's home since 1910 but is reaching 'the end of its natural life', and Lee insists inaction would risk the club falling further behind its rivals.
He believes serious consideration should be given to building a new stadium on the surrounding land, which would cost an estimated £2 billion.
Lee's insistence that building a new stadium would not impact matchday revenues may convince Ratcliffe that this is the best solution.
United earned £136 million in matchday revenue in 2022-23 – the equivalent of £4.1 million per match.
Checkatrade mocked Old Trafford's leaky roof last month with a poster just steps from the stadium
The demise of Old Trafford has been criticized by former players, including club legend Gary Neville.
Neville has regularly pointed to Old Trafford's leaking roof as a symbol of how United have been mismanaged by the Glazers.
United's stadium has been ridiculed by rival fans this season, with Manchester City supporters heard chanting 'Old Trafford is Falling Down' during their 3-0 win over the Red Devils in October.
Checkatrade also poked fun at United last month when they put up a giant poster targeting Old Trafford's leaky roof just a stone's throw from the stadium.