Manchester United’s owners have been buying land around Old Trafford – and here’s what they could do with it

4 days ago
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Whether Manchester United fans love or hate them, they can’t deny that a lot has changed since the Glazer family took over the club – and things could be about to get a whole lot different over the next few years.

Since assuming control of the club in 2005, the Red Devils owners have slowly been acquiring land around Old Trafford.

Millions of pounds have been pumped in by the Americans in order to take control of the surrounding real estate for what could be potential development opportunities, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Tottenham’s new stadium – built on the doorstep of their former White Hart Lane home – is an example of what United could do, should they decide to rebuild, rather than extend Old Trafford in the future.

Could things be about to change at Old Trafford?

Alternatively, across Manchester, the Etihad campus is a realisation of City’s Abu Dhabi owners’ vision of creating a state of the art academy and training facilities.

The Glazers’ determination to maximise United’s full commercial potential could also see them explore other lucrative projects, not necessarily linked to football.

A new stadium

The Glazers may prefer to start from scratch than extend

United have continued to expand Old Trafford as the club’s popularity has soared.

But new high-tech stadia has left sections of supporters believing the famous ground has become dated by comparison.

The Sir Bobby Charlton stand hasn’t been developed in keeping with the rest of the stadium, with the railway and private housing beyond presenting issues.

United spent £8.2m buying up land in 2011.

While a move away from the Theatre of Dreams would be controversial, they do have the room to rebuild a state of the art stadium on the same site in the manner of Spurs, with fewer constraints.

A mini Old Trafford

A smaller stadium could make sense for the academy

A 5000-10,000-seater stadium was considered as part of United’s deep-rooted review of their academy set-up.

The ground would be home to the club’s under-23s, who currently play at Leigh Sports Village, and other age groups based at Carrington.

City have their own academy stadium as part of the Etihad Campus, which has helped to attract some of the best emerging talent in Manchester and around the globe

Training ground

A lot has changed in 17 years…

United’s Carrington training base – renamed the Aon Training Complex – was a source of immense pride to Sir Alex Ferguson when opened in 2000, and has been frequently updated since.

But a chance to start from scratch at a new site would be an opportunity to deploy the very latest technology and medical facilities.

A mini Manchester Arena

A chance for more money, perhaps

A purpose-built arena was planned in the 1980s when United had their own basketball team.

Some 30-plus years on and a similar idea could be a commercial gold mine for the Glazers – as well as attracting other sports back to Old Trafford.

The Manchester Arena has become the go-to venue for the world’s biggest music acts, as well as major world title boxing.

A smaller version would be a viable alternative for both.

Boxing promoters have been forced to explore venues such as the Bolton Arena and Bowlers to stage the sport within the city, or close off large sections of the Arena.

United could well create their own niche unless they wanted to go directly in competition with the Arena.

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