- Manchester United are keen on expanding their stadium’s capacity to 88,000
- However, the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand is proving hard to expand due to spacing
- Managing director Richard Arnold has said the club will not relocate
Chris Wheeler for MailOnline
Manchester United will continue to explore ways of expanding Old Trafford to increase the stadium’s capacity to 88,000 but have ruled out the possibility of playing elsewhere while the work is carried out.
United have considered several proposals to build an extra tier on the South Stand in recent years, and the £200million redevelopment is expected to go ahead at some point in the future.
But senior sources at the club say there is no possibility of United playing away from Old Trafford after managing director Richard Arnold underlined the difficulties involved in the project.
Manchester United are keen on expanding their stadium but there are issues due to spacing
United want to expand The Sir Bobby Charlton Stand but may struggle without moving
‘We haven’t left the easiest stand until last,’ said Arnold. ‘The Sir Bobby Charlton Stand is the last unexpanded stand. There’s not much space on either side of the stand meaning that it’s a very complex engineering challenge.
‘It would be a multi-season challenge and it isn’t certain there’s a way of doing it which doesn’t render us homeless.
‘We have the biggest fanbase in the country and we’re not in London, where we could use Wembley. So that’s not a light challenge and we don’t want to give up the home advantage we have here.’
A club spokesman reiterated on Thursday that United will not consider plans that involve the team leaving Old Trafford which has been their home since 1910.
He said: ‘Richard has made it clear there are no finalised plans for South Stand expansion. He also made it clear that we don’t want to give up home advantage.’
It would take between three and five years for work to even start once United have agreed plans to redevelop the South Stand, which was named after Sir Bobby Charlton in 2016.
The stand is built on a narrow strip of land, and the rail track and housing behind it pose a major obstacle. However, it’s hoped that advances in engineering will enable United to add the extra tier in future without expanding beyond the existing land.
The aim is to increase the capacity of Old Trafford from 75,000 to 88,000, although the figure will actually drop to 73,300 next season to accommodate more disabled supporters.
Managing director Richard Arnold has ruled out the chance of Man United leaving Old Trafford