- Sir Jim Ratcliffe has spoken of plans to turn Old Trafford into a national stadium.
- The billionaire said his ‘preference’ is to use taxpayer money for the project
- As long as Pep Guardiola is at Manchester City, it will be difficult for anyone to take them down – Listen to the everything is beginning podcast
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly facing government pushback as the Manchester United co-owner seeks public funding for his Old Trafford redevelopment.
Ratcliffe officially became a co-owner on Tuesday after the club confirmed INEOS’ 27.7 per cent investment in Manchester United, with the British billionaire taking charge of football operations as part of the deal.
Earlier this month, Mail Sport revealed Ratcliffe’s £2bn plan to turn Old Trafford into a ‘Wembley of the North’, aiming to produce an iconic venue to rival England’s national stadium in London and its capacity for 90,000 people.
Renovating the existing 74,000-seat stadium, opened in 1910, would likely prove to be a short-term measure and would cost around £800m. Meanwhile, a new build can cost between £1bn and £2bn.
Ratcliffe confirmed plans to build a “national stadium in the north of England” this week, adding that his “preference” is to use taxpayers’ money to fund the project.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly facing defeat in his bid to secure public funding for Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe has confirmed plans to build a “national stadium in the north of England”
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“If it can be achieved (with taxpayers’ money), it would clearly be my preference,” Ratcliffe told the BBC.
‘I would be very excited to come to the north of England. Trafford Park is where the industrial revolution began. If you look at that region of Manchester today, just a mile from the centre, it is tired and neglected and some parts are quite run down.
“In my opinion, there are quite strong arguments in favor of regenerating that whole southern part of Manchester. At the heart of it would be the construction of a new world-class, state-of-the-art stadium that could host England matches, the FA Cup final and the Champions League final. It could serve the north of England.
Ratcliffe is reportedly already facing defeat in his bid to secure public funding for a stadium development.
according to The timesA government source has said that public investment would only be considered for regeneration projects in the area, but not for the stadium.
Tracey Crouch, a former sports minister who wrote a review of football governance in 2021, highlighted how the Glazer family had “underinvested” in Old Trafford while taking money out of the club.
Ratcliffe has admitted that Old Trafford is “tired and needs a renovation”
Old Trafford currently has a capacity of 74,310 people, but United have long wanted to increase that capacity.
Public investment would also prove controversial, with Everton taking out significant loans to finance the construction of their £550m stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.
In another interview, Ratcliffe told the club’s website: “I mean, it’s an impressive stadium and it’s the biggest Premier League stadium in the country, the second biggest stadium in the country after Wembley I guess.”
“But it is not the level you would expect from Manchester United today and they have fallen behind.” Maybe 20 years ago it was (by the standard), but today it has been left behind.
“We need to look at the path forward for the stadium, the redevelopment of that stadium, and clearly there are two paths we could take: we could renovate the existing stadium or we could look at building a new stadium.” And that’s what we’re looking at right now.”