Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, has had a long and varied history. It has been the home ground of Manchester United since 1910 and cost £90,000 to build. The architect was Archibald Leitch, a man who became famous for designing football stadiums throughout Great Britain and Ireland.
However, the “The Theatre of Dreams”, as named by Bobby Charlton, has witnessed several expansions over the years and looks a lot different today. The question is, does the Theatre of Dreams need a redesign?
Having started life with a capacity of 80,000 people, the additions to the North, West and East Stands throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s has seen it return close to that capacity, with every fan seated. The most recent expansion to Old Trafford came in 2005 and 2006. It saw an increase of around 8,000 seats thanks to the addition of second tiers in both the north-west and north-east quadrants of the ground.
The success on the pitch is what drove the need to increase the capacity of the stadium. If you would like to have a wager on further Manchester United success, check out betting24.
Two of the stands have been named after a former manager and player. The North Stand is now the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and boasts three tiers while the stand opposite, the South Stand, is the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand. This has only a single tier due to construction restraints.
Currently the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, and the eleventh-largest in Europe, Old Trafford remains one of the most prominent stadiums in world football. However, a look at some of the other stadia around the Premier League, is Old Trafford falling behind? The likes of Manchester City, Leicester City, Southampton, Arsenal, and most recently Tottenham Hotspur have invested in a new, modern football arena.
There is no doubt Old Trafford is beginning to look a little rough around the edges and the quadrant design is far from pleasant on the eye. The view from some of the seats at the back of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand also leaves a lot to be desired. The Premier League match day experience is not only about watching the game but also what is happening behind the scenes. Big television screens, cafes, restaurants, bars, cashless payment systems, Wi-Fi access points, and premium lounges are just some of the facilities fans expect to see at a modern football stadium. Old Trafford is somewhat lacking in that department and it is difficult to introduce first class facilities into an older venue.
Unfortunately, to bring the Theatre of Dreams up to the level of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it is going to require a major redesign and that could cost upward of £200 million. It is highly unlikely the owners are going to foot the bill and therefore the only real option available is to attract sponsorship money. This could lead to the renaming of the stadium, with the major sponsor featuring in the name and each stand could also have a sponsor.
It is unlikely many of the Manchester United faithful are going to want Old Trafford to be renamed under the branding of a sponsor. Therefore, although the stadium is going to struggle to meet the demands of a modern football arena, Old Trafford could remain the same for many years to come.