Old Trafford was once the leading stadium in England, with renovation and additional building work a near constant feature of the 1990s and early 2000s. But a lack of investment over the last 15 years has allowed the 76,000-capacity venue to fall into a state of semi-disrepair.
Picture: Aerial photograph of Old Trafford taken in 1996 after north stand completed.
Now, the likes of the Emirates Stadium, Etihad Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium put it to shame, while Liverpool are in progress with a major development project at Anfield and Chelsea are also working on plans for a new stadium.
A leaking roof has plagued Old Trafford for a number of years and it lacks the same modern finishes and comfort enjoyed at the homes of its Premier League rivals.
According to the Daily Mail, a conservative estimate from ‘corporate financiers who have detailed knowledge of the club’ is that the work could cost around £200m – but perhaps more.
Perhaps more importantly, that cost is proving off-putting to potential new owners, who would have to pay at least £2.4bn just to purchase the club from the current owners in the first place. There are already as few as an estimated 20 people in the world who could afford a takeover.
One of the longstanding issues for United regarding Old Trafford has been the redevelopment of the south stand, which backs onto a railway line. The stand remains untouched compared to the three others and the engineering project is complicated and would be vastly expensive.
Doing such work would also require Old Trafford to close while the project is undertaken and for United to find a new temporary home. But it appears the club is stuck because the Mail notes that they privately indicate the cost of redevelopment is ‘unviable and impossible within the financial model on which the Glazers concluded their leveraged £790m takeover in 2005’.