Manchester United's powerbrokers are in favour of renovating Old Trafford, despite exploring options to build a new stadium.
Amid the possibility that the Glazer family could retain a sizeable portion of the 69% stake it currently holds, the United co-chairman Joel Glazer's preference is to preserve the heritage of the 113-year-old stadium.
Ironically, it is approaching four years since Glazer stepped foot inside Old Trafford. He has not attended a United match since the Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat to Barcelona in April 2019.
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Glazer's view of retaining Old Trafford is believed to be shared by senior club figures who are based in Manchester. Glazer is understood to have likened visiting Old Trafford, where United settled in 1910, to attending baseball games at Fenway Park, the storied home of the Boston Red Sox.
One of the reservations United have about building a new Old Trafford is it could become soulless within a certain period. United chief executive Richard Arnold, an ever-present at home and away games, is believed to have highlighted Villa Park and Goodison Park as antiquated grounds that still have pureness and character that modern stadia lacks.
Sources have cited Arsenal's Emirates Stadium as an example of a new arena that has become infamous for its moribund atmosphere and questioned whether the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which opened in 2019, will still be admired as much after it has been open for a decade.
Having appointed Populous, the masterplanners behind the new Wembley and Tottenham's stadium, United have been informed the cost of rebuilding Old Trafford or building a new stadium is roughly similar.
It has been estimated that building a new stadium could take six years and would actually be quicker than revamping Old Trafford, which it has been suggested could take 10 years. A source said at least one year alone on the project could be taken up by additional planning, dialogue with Trafford council, consultation meetings, a town hall with local residents and dealing with any possible issues.
The infrastructure around Old Trafford would have to change completely, with new car parks and roadways, as well as a new station.
United have looked at completely demolishing the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, the only single-tier stand, and installing a third tier on the Stretford End and the Scoreboard End. Early estimates have indicated United could host crowds of 52,000 while the stadium is under construction.
A provisional plan drafted up is that one year would be dedicated to redoing each stand individually. Widening seats and having the second tier designated for hospitality ticket holders - similar to the set-up at Wembley - have been mooted.
Also under consideration by United is to have an official hotel on the site where the ticket office is currently located in the north-west corner behind the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. United also want to have a fan park similar to the area at Anfield behind the main stand that reopened in 2016.
Should United choose to construct a new Old Trafford, it would be on the same site, similar to what Spurs did when they vacated White Hart Lane in 2017. There is consideration to rotate the stadium to bypass the issue of the railway line that has prevented a renovation of the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, née south stand, so it would be symmetrical with the other stands.
Old Trafford's north stand, renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in 2011, reopened in December 1995 and holds 28,000 supporters. Second tiers were added to the Scoreboard End and the Stretford End in 2000 before the installation of the north-west and north-east quadrants in 2006.
During their near 18-year ownership of United, the Glazers have not overseen a single expansion of the stadium. United gained planning permission for the quadrants in February 2004.
Developers have assured United that they have the potential to expand their stadium to any capacity of their choosing, whether it is Old Trafford or a new Old Trafford. There is also a pledge to improve the stadium's acoustics.
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