What is the capacity of old trafford ? Since 2009, Old Trafford’s official capacity is 74,140, making the stadium the largest arena in the Premier League. This number of seats was achieved thanks to investments made between 1995 and 2006. First, the main stand was enlarged before Euro 1996. A few years later, it was decided to add extra rows over the western and eastern sections , as well as creating completely new corners between them and the north stand. Only the two-tier south stand remained in its current form.
At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, it became apparent that a further extension was needed to the venue that is the everyday home of Manchester United. The club, led at the time by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, regularly won successive Premier League titles and also checked in at the decisive stages of the Champions League. Such results attracted fans regularly filling the arena almost to the last seat. This led media outlets such as ESPN and the Daily Mail to speculate between 2015 and 2017 about expanding the south sections with an additional row of stands with a capacity of 7,500 seats and expanding the adjacent corner stands with a further 4,500 seats. Old Trafford is then expected to become the second largest stadium in the UK just after Wembley with a capacity of between 88,000 and 90,000.
What is the future of Old Trafford?
In the following seasons, despite the lack of significant success in the Premier League and Champions League, fans continued to visit “The Theatre of Dreams” in large numbers and the club recorded consecutive record years in terms of profits. The situation was only changed by the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns and closed arenas in 2020-2021 are the most common cause of delays for many projects. Also the expansion of Old Trafford went down the drain. Only the stabilization of the outbreak in recent months has brought the subject of expanding Manchester United’s home back to the fore.
In April 2022, the club’s governing body announced its desire to renovate the legendary venue. “The Red Devils” bosses commissioned the respected Legends International consultancy and the well-known design studio Populous to draw up a feasibility study for the investment. Several preliminary options prepared for “The Theatre of Dreams” were presented a few weeks ago. The most radical of these involves… the construction of an entirely new stadium. This would be built on land owned by the club close to the existing facility. The option marking the death of Old Trafford is more realistic than everyone might think.
It was estimated that the cost of a new arena would be around £2 billion. If it was decided to expand the existing stadium, and upgrade standards to the current trends, it has been calculated that the investment could cost close to £1 billion. The new-build option would also result in Manchester United being able to use Old Trafford unhindered until the investment is completed. The final option could also be influenced by complaints and protests from residents in the area surrounding “The Theatre of Dreams”, who complain about the noise, dirt and inappropriate behavior of fans that accompany match days. It is also worth mentioning that the final decision on the matter will be taken by United’s new owners, as the club has been up for sale for some time.
Manchester United Reportedly Consider Old Trafford Expansion to 88,000 Capacity
Manchester United are “seriously considering” expanding Old Trafford by more than 12,000 seats, with various extensions bringing the stadium’s capacity to 88,000, according to Mike Keegan for the Daily Mail.
The expansion would make Old Trafford the second-biggest stadium in European club football behind Barcelona’s Camp Nou (99,354).
The majority of construction would take place on the Sir Bobby Charlton stand, which could be increased by 7,500 seats. United would then add two “quadrants” on the corners of the same stand to mirror those opposite, as per Keegan.
United’s last expansion project saw nearly 8,000 seats added in 2006, when the first two “quadrants” were built at a cost of around £42 million, as per Andy Mitten for ESPN FC. This has left the current capacity at 75,635.
United managing director Richard Arnold has said he is “acutely aware” of the need to continue expanding, per Keegan, and such an ambitious project would certainly go down well with supporters.
Old Trafford would become the second-largest football venue in the country behind Wembley (90,000) and notably bigger than Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu (85,454).
As a result, United would quickly break their own attendance record if the expansion went ahead, which currently stands at 83,260, for a league match against Arsenal at Maine Road in 1948. The current record at Old Trafford is 76,962.
The club are also investigating the possibility of introducing a safe-standing area within the expanded stand, something that has been high on the Premier League’s agenda for some time.
Such a large extension might seem ambitious, but as one of the world’s richest clubs United would likely easily recoup their investment.
WILL MANCHESTER UNITED INVEST IN PUSHING OLD TRAFFORD CAPACITY TO 88,000?
Boasting an impressive 74,994 capacity, Old Trafford remains the largest club stadium in England by some considerable margin, only surpassed by the capacity of Wembley Stadium at 90,000 seats as a football venue, after the famous old arena was replaced by a luxurious new construction which opened in 2007. However, following massive expansions at the home of Manchester United since 1996, further upgrades to accommodate the constant demand amongst the legions of Red Devils fans, appear to have stalled.
Although their noisy neighbours Manchester City are romping the 2017/18 Premier League title race, United are still considered 1/5 certainties at Williamhill for a top-four finish. Whether or not manager Jose Mourinho and his side can finish this season with silverware in the trophy cabinet, Old Trafford will continue to enjoy capacity crowds for practically every match. Testament to the loyalty of fans who stick with their team through thick and thin, and would potentially do so with even greater numbers if the stadium capacity allowed.
Blessed with plenty of space when expanding upwards and outwards to the north, east, and west, plus in the north-east and north-west corner quadrants, the sticking point was always going to be the southern aspect of the stadium. The South Stand, which was renamed as the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand in 2016, presents a number of logistical difficulties which must be overcome if the capacity at Old Trafford is to increase any further. Not least because of the railway line passing directly behind and additionally, residential housing beyond that.
During the process of the previous expansions and particularly since the American Glazer family takeover in 2005, the club has acquired even more of the surrounding land for parking and other facilities, which reportedly also includes the huge rail Freight Terminal to the west of the stadium, according to the Manchester Evening News. Indeed, the local media outlet has speculated that this could provide Manchester United with an alternative option of building an entirely new stadium, within the current vicinity of Old Trafford.
Whilst the most ardent United supporters would prefer the club to stay put and expand the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, plus the adjoining south-east and south-west corner quadrants, reports in October 2017 suggested that costs for the proposed increase of around 12,000 seats, have spiralled to beyond £750 million amidst even the most conservative estimates, and could end up in excess of £1 billion. Clearly, this would indicate the club are not going to rush towards any final decisions.
Given the redevelopment of White Hart Lane by Tottenham Hotspur is costing around £800 million for a completely new 61,000 capacity stadium, and the new Stamford Bridge site for Chelsea has an estimated £1 billion price-tag for its 60,000 capacity, it begs the question as to whether Manchester United will decide to stick or twist with their own expansion plans. A completely new stadium would inevitably cost much more than either of the two aforementioned venues, and would be upwards of 25,000 higher in capacity than either, which suggests that staying put would make the most sense economically.
Nevertheless, when talking about such huge sums of money, and despite being a given that United fans would fill the expanded capacity, it could be several years before the club ultimately decides which option to work with.
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