Sir Jim Ratcliffe took a 25 per cent stake in Man United on Christmas Eve

Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘urged to demolish outdated Old Trafford and build a new £2BN stadium on the surrounding land’ by leading architect, after taking a 25 per cent stake in Man United

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  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe has a big decision to make over what to do with Old Trafford
  • He has been urged by a leading architect to demolish it and build a new ground
  • Ratcliffe took a 25 per cent stake in Man United on Christmas Eve 

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been encouraged to knock down Manchester United‘s iconic Old Trafford stadium and build a new one, according to reports.

Ratcliffe took a 25 per cent stake at United on Christmas Eve – subject to ratification from the Premier League – and has plenty on his plate as he prepares to take control of football operations of a team down in eighth place in the Premier League table.

The British billionaire has pledged to invest £245m in the club, and one of his first big decisions is what to do with the outdated Old Trafford.

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There are currently three possible options following a masterplan put together by Populous, the architectural design firm that helped complete the building of Tottenham‘s stadium in 2019, and management consultants Legends International.

These are to focus on a small makeover project, expand the south stand over the adjacent railway while redeveloping the rest of the ground, or building a completely new stadium.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe took a 25 per cent stake in Man United on Christmas Eve

Sir Jim Ratcliffe took a 25 per cent stake in Man United on Christmas Eve

He has a big decision to make over the future of the club's iconic Old Trafford stadium

He has a big decision to make over the future of the club’s iconic Old Trafford stadium

Populous chief executive, Chris Lee, believes the latter option is the best one for Ratcliffe to take.

‘Well, I would say this wouldn’t I, but I feel the new build may well turn out to be the most cost-effective solution,’ Lee told The Telegraph.

‘Yes, the initial outlay is obviously the highest of the three possible options, but there is so much land available to develop there. They [United] could carry on using the existing ground while building work is underway, meaning no decline in matchday revenues.

‘Architecturally, in the space available you could do something really innovative and exciting. There would be no space constrictions.’

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 fixing the stadium situation will require significant investment in the future.

Ratcliffe has been urged by a leading architect to demolish Old Trafford and build a new stadium

Ratcliffe has been urged by a leading architect to demolish Old Trafford and build a new stadium

It is estimate that it would cost Ratcliffe £2bn to build a new stadium on the surrounding land

It is estimate that it would cost Ratcliffe £2bn to build a new stadium on the surrounding land

The roof leaked amid a heavy downpour of rain before United played Manchester City in 2019

It is a problem that has occurred before - notably when Old Trafford hosted Olympic football in 2012

The leaky roof it was bad when there was heavy downpour ahead of the Manchester derby (left) in 2019, 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 their rivals.

He feels serious consideration should be given to building a new stadium on the surrounding land, which would cost an estimated £2bn.

Lee’s insistence that building a new stadium would not affect matchday revenues may convince Ratcliffe this is the best solution.

United earned £136m from matchday income in 2022-23 – the equivalent of £4.1m per game.

Checkatrade mocked Old Trafford's leaky roof with a poster within a stone's throw of the stadium last month

Checkatrade mocked Old Trafford’s leaky roof with a poster within a stone’s throw of the stadium last month

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The decline of Old Trafford has been criticised by former players, including club legend Gary Neville.

Neville has regularly pointed to Old Trafford’s leaky roof as being symbolic of the way United have been mismanaged by the Glazers.

United’s stadium has been ridiculed by rival fans this season, with Manchester City supporters heard singing ‘Old Trafford is falling down’ during their 3-0 win against the Red Devils in October.

Checkatrade also poked fun at United when they put up a giant poster taking aim at Old Trafford’s leaky roof within a stone’s throw of the stadium last month.





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