Man Utd board ‘supportive’ of Ratcliffe plans to destroy Old Trafford and build ‘Wembley of the north’

Jason Soutar
Aerial view of Man Utd stadium Old Trafford.
Aerial view of Man Utd stadium Old Trafford.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe believes building a new stadium ‘will be better for fans and the surrounding community’, with the Manchester United board ‘supportive’ of his plans, according to reports.

Ratcliffe completed his 25 per cent takeover of the Red Devils last month and is overseeing all football operations at the club, with the heavily criticised Glazer family taking a step back of sorts.

Man Utd: Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to build ‘Wembley of the north’

The British billionaire has big plans for the Premier League giants and is yet to publicly back manager Erik ten Hag, sparking talk of him being sacked and replaced at the end of the season.

His most ambitious plan that has been mooted is undoubtedly moving United away from Old Trafford and to a new stadium dubbed the ‘Wembley of the north’.

The Daily Mail first revealed Ratcliffe’s plans for a new ground, with a source telling the website: “He [Ratcliffe] 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.”

OPINION: ‘Wembley of the north’? Man Utd should rescue Old Trafford not build a new one

Journalist Ben Jacobs has revealed more information on Ratcliffe’s plans – which are likely to be government-funded.

Jacobs says the Manchester United board are ‘supporting’ the idea of a new stadium in the same area as Old Trafford.

‘Ratcliffe has already analysed both options and made an initial conclusion that a new build will be better for fans and the surrounding community, and the MUFC board is supportive of exploring this approach.

‘Ratcliffe wants to build a 90,000-seater stadium on adjacent club-owned land. Old Trafford redevelopment is another option that will naturally still be discussed despite Ratcliffe’s preference. Under no circumstances will Manchester United move away from the Old Trafford area.

‘Financing is one of the things the task force will look at. Manchester United already has capacity to finance a phased redevelopment of Old Trafford, but the cost involved in a new-build (and wider regeneration) will require support from funding partners.

‘INEOS has extensive experience of financing and developing major infrastructure, and it’s understood private funding will be explored. MUFC are not looking for ‘handouts’ but there may also be some opportunities for public-private partnerships.

‘Ratcliffe has already held meetings with fan and community leaders to discuss the options and build relationships with stakeholders. Manchester United has already surveyed 30,000 fans on the future of Old Trafford as part of an initial master-planning process.

‘Manchester United owns a large amount of land around Old Trafford which they believe is under-utilised and could be repurposed for housing, leisure, business and education projects. Doing so would also create jobs.

‘And there is an opportunity to link Old Trafford and Wharfside with MediaCity on the other side of Salford Quays to create a major economic and social hub driven by sport.’

READ NEXT: Manchester United get huge Ten Hag decision ‘approved’ with Mourinho green light issued