One of the biggest hurdles facing Manchester United in the immediate future is how to rebuild Old Trafford to bring the world-famous stadium up to the modern standards set by Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal in recent years.
Old Trafford was unrivaled in the Premier League. But while it remains the largest by capacity, the ground first opened in 1910 has fallen into disrepair due to a lack of investment since the last major project began in 2005, just as other clubs have spent heavily on stadiums.
The South Stand, renamed the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand in 2016, sits lower than the other three. But building up on that side of the stadium poses a major engineering problem because of the proximity of a railroad track immediately behind the current structure.
The alternative redevelopment solution is to completely demolish the existing Old Trafford and rebuild it from scratch, similar to what Tottenham did at White Hart Lane.
While the demolition route has clear advantages in creating a clean slate from which to start anew, the idea of destroying over a century of history is not popular with many fans.
BBC Sport reported that current co-chairman Joel Glazer, who along with brother Avram is the most involved Glazer member at the club, prefers to rebuild the existing Old Trafford. He is said to “value the heritage” of continuing to play in the same stadium as all previous United teams for the past 113 years.
He wondered why that should matter when the club is in the early stages of a takeover process. But there appears to have been a bit of pushback from United’s current ownership about what’s actually going on with regard to several bids, only two of which are public.
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The Glazer family’s original statement in November specifically mentioned a possible “sale” of the club, but as part of many wider “strategic alternatives” under consideration.
BBC Sport adds that the club has stressed that “strategic alternatives” do not just mean a full takeover, while Raine Group, the investment bank overseeing the process, has told both the INEOS and Qatari bids to refrain from public statements that include feelings about restoring the “glory years” as seen by the club to indirectly criticize the Glazers.