Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s plan to build ‘Wembley of the north’ at Old Trafford gets council green light | Football

Old Trafford’s last capacity increase was in 2006 (Picture: Getty)

Trafford Council have welcomed Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s plans to build a ‘Wembley of the north’ on the site at Manchester United’s current ground, Old Trafford.

The 71-year-old revealed last week that his ‘preference’ is to completely rebuild Manchester United’s stadium on adjacent land to the current arena.

The club own large swathes of land around the stadium but the Glazer family – the former full owners of the club – haven’t commissioned any work to Old Trafford since their takeover in 2005.

While the possibility of refurbishing the current stadium remains, Ratcliffe says building an entire new stadium would be quicker and more cost-effective. Refurbishment is slated at £1bn, while a rebuild is £2bn, but facilities would be better and work would be completed in five years – approximately half the time.

Ratcliffe and INEOS have already got down to work by drawing up plans with the council to refurbish the Wharfside area around the stadium.

The British billionaire is looking for outside investment to fund the ‘Wembley of the north’, and said a conversation must be had with the government before a decision is made.

But, while Trafford Council back the plans, they say United will have to fund the move themselves.

Ratcliffe has bold plans for the area (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ratcliffe has bold plans for the area (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ms Patel, who is leading the council’s redevelopment plans, said a ‘Wembley of the North’ proposal “would be wonderful”.

‘That is great ambition from Jim Ratcliffe and these plans match that in terms of the setting and the future of the area,’ said Liz Patel, who is leading the council’s redevelopment plan.

‘How United get together the finances for their own stadium refurbishment would be separate.’

‘We want to create a much more family-friendly space where people want to stay longer and have processional routes so it’s a lot safer for fans arriving on foot from tram stops or walking out from the city centre – as sometimes happens in European matches.’

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