SIR JIM RATCLIFFE wants to transform Manchester United’s home into the “Wembley of the North”.
One of the biggest tasks facing the new minority owner is sorting out Old Trafford.
The 114-year-old famous stadium — the biggest in British club football — is decaying with a leaking roof, rusting metal and the dated venue lagging decades behind that of United’s biggest rivals.
Part of the £1.3billion investment confirmed by Ratcliffe on Christmas Eve included an approximate £237million guaranteed to be pumped into the stadium.
One option could see the 74,000-capacity Old Trafford updated, renovated and expanded — at a cost of around £800m.
But the more exciting, and considerably more expensive, option would be for a brand new stadium to be built from scratch.
Ratcliffe does not want to relocate United, and therefore the Ineos chief has reportedly identified the land around Old Trafford as the site for the fresh construction.
That would see the stadium placed between the railway lines that run past the current ground and the Bridgewater Canal.
And Ratcliffe hopes to build an arena that can rival the 90,000-seater national football stadium at Wembley.
The iconic stadium in North-West London is the standout stadium in the country, hosting all the major cup finals and England internationals.
It also was the scene of the Euro 2020 final and this June will stage its third Champions League final in 13 years.
Wembley is used for various other events, too, including boxing, NFL and massive concerts for some of the world’s biggest artists.
Ratcliffe, though, wants to see something similar in his hometown of Manchester.
And he may even try and lobby the UK Government to help fund the £2bn new stadium as part of the ‘Levelling Up’ pledges.
Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham have all benefited from impressive new grounds since the turn of the millennium, with Spurs’ home widely regarded as the best modern stadium in the country, if not the world.
Liverpool decided to stay put at Anfield but made severe improvements with new stands built while Chelsea remain keen on either updating Stamford Bridge or building a new ground entirely.
Elsewhere, West Ham moved into the former Olympic Stadium in 2016 while the 2024-25 season will be Everton’s last one at Goodison Park before their Bramley Dock ground opens. — The Sun.