Sir Jim Ratcliffe ambitious plans to make Old Trafford the 'Wembley of the North'
Sir Jim Ratcliffe aims to take Man United back to the top
After acquiring a 25 per cent stake at Manchester United, Sir Jim Ratcliffe has some ambitious plans for Old Trafford.
Manchester United have much bigger plans, though, for their famous old ground. The intention is to create a world-class venue that rivals the 90,000-capacity home of English football in north London.
Sources close to Ratcliffe have told The Telegraph: “He feels the club needs 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.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is said to be “broadly opposed” to the idea of Man United having to relocate, although he believes support among fans could be secured if that becomes the only logical option. Land immediately surrounding Old Trafford, which Man United have called home for 114 years, could be acquired and developed.
Sources added: “The spiritual home is important. We think the fans would be quite happy to accept a brand new stadium if we stay where we are.”
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Man United may have to consider the construction of a brand new venue as Chris Lee – the managing director of Populous, the architectural design firm tasked with overseeing the project – has already told The Telegraph that a rebuild “may well turn out to be the most cost-effective solution”. He added: “The building is reaching the end of its natural life; the cabling, the electricity supplies, everything is nearing its sell by date.”
Redeveloping Old Trafford is said to carry a price tag of at least £800m ($1bn), while a new ground would cost between £1.5bn and £2bn ($2.5bn). Talks have already been held with the Mayor of Greater Manchester and council leaders regarding plans, with the hope being that a “pioneering” venue can be put in place that incorporates a sport, entertainment and community village.
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