IAN LADYMAN: Man United must not let the past stand in the way of progress as they look to rebuild Old Trafford… looking back on triumph and tragedy is important, but not as much as the future with their stadium now feeling old
- Old Trafford is 112 years old and special to most Manchester United supporters
- United have been left behind on the field and even further adrift in the stands
- Claustrophobic areas as well as the leaky roofs and the patchy WiFi are issues
How sacrosanct are bricks and mortar? That’s the question pertinent to Manchester United’s dilemma regarding the future of Old Trafford.
To every United fan across the world, their team’s stadium means something. Even to those who have never been there.
Old Trafford is 112 years old. It has witnessed triumph and known great tragedy. It is as much a part of United’s fabric as the Holy Trinity of Best, Charlton and Law immortalised in stone on one of its vast forecourts.
Manchester United should not let the past at Old Trafford stand in the way of their progress
United’s stadium doesn’t need to be retained in its current form at all costs with issues evident
But this does not mean United’s stadium must be retained in its current form at all costs. The past is important but not as important as the future.
Football continues to gallop frantically. United have been left behind on the field and even further adrift in the stands and corporate boxes.
No club in the country has as much expertise in making money as United. But their stadium has started to embarrass and limit them.
From the cramped and claustrophobic bar and catering areas, to the leaky roofs and the patchy WiFi, Old Trafford has started to feel exactly that. Old.
I don’t think United will knock it down. My feeling is they will rebuild the South Stand, spend some money on other areas, increase capacity to 80,000 and move on. But they are right to investigate alternatives.
Old Trafford now has cramped and claustrophobic bar and catering areas – and leaky roofs
Many years ago, Liverpool and Everton should have built a new stadium on Stanley Park. It would have been magnificent.
There could have been a Goodison End and an Anfield End. But the clubs baulked at the idea and are still spending money trying to catch up.
Old Trafford could be rebuilt in its very own footprint. There would still be a Stretford End. Fans could drink at the same pubs and eat in the same cafes. It would still be home, just bigger and newer and better. This is called progress.
At Tottenham, the supporters love where their team play now. They moved but they didn’t move all at the same time.
It feels right and United are correct to explore whether that could work for them too. They would be negligent not to.