Old Trafford expansion is unlikely

‘The Theatre of Dreams’, as it has been tagged, is celebrating its

100th birthday. Old Trafford has been reshaped in recent years and

is now the largest club stadium in Britain with a capacity of more

than 75,000. The main stand is the only part of the ground not to

have been touched in that spell, with the last major work on it

done in the 1970s. While United have looked into the prospect of

expanding it, there is a problem of a railway line behind, which

although not insurmountable, would make costs larger than usual.

And United’s Group Property Manager George Johnstone admits that,

at the moment, there may not even be a case for expansion. “There

are two limiting factors to any possible expansion of the main

stand – primarily the railway line, but there are also several

privately owned properties beyond that which could be an issue if a

new stand was to span the railway and have footings in that area,”

he said. “It would be very costly and technically difficult. We

haven’t really looked at the figures, but an expanded stand may

only give us an extra 12-16,000 seats. “The numbers need to stack

up. Demand is an issue, so perhaps the current capacity of just

over 76,000 is appropriate at this stage.”