- Mitch MacCullom
Manchester United Takeover Delays Equal Old Trafford Uncertainty
The ongoing saga that is the takeover of Manchester United shows no signs of being resolved anytime soon, and with that, the future of United’s home, Old Trafford, is still up in the air.
The stadium is regularly criticized for being in a state of disrepair and in desperate need of an upgrade in facilities. The team seems to be improving on the pitch, and the general consensus seems to be that progress also needs to be made off the pitch, or the club will get left behind.
United contending on the pitch again
Such is the progress made under Erik ten Hag this season, United are one of the betting favorites to win the league title next season. In the latest Premier League winner odds, United are 9/1 to win their first title since 2013. But such is the strength of their cross-town rivals, most punters making Premier League predictions won’t be putting the red half of Manchester down as their champions tip for next season.
That said, a place in the top four is well within United’s capabilities. But with other clubs such as Arsenal, Spurs, and Chelsea, not to mention Manchester City, in the mix. The thorny issue of the quality of stadiums comes into the equation.
Those other clubs mentioned above can all offer state-of-the-art facilities for the corporate sector, which generates huge sums of money for Premier League football clubs in the 21st century. Put simply, a football club's ambition on the pitch needs to be matched off it. And in the case of Manchester United, the quality of their stadium isn't keeping up with the team.
To the average football fan, Old Trafford looks as good or bad as any other stadium in the country. There’s a seat to sit in, toilets, bars, and program sellers. But football fans rarely look beyond what is in front of them in their seats. They are only there to watch the football, after all.
But even though Old Trafford might be okay in the eyes of football fans, it’s far from okay in the corporate world. The ground hasn’t been invested in since 2006, and if any indication of how far down the pecking order Old Trafford has fallen is needed, then look at the bid to host the European Championships in 2028.
Old Trafford not shortlisted to be a Euro 2028 venue
Old Trafford currently has a capacity of over 74,000, that’s far more than the five Premier League stadiums shortlisted to host matches at Euro 2028. So the question has to be asked, why has the City of Manchester Stadium (Man City’s Etihad), Everton’s not even yet built stadium, St James’ Park in Newcastle, Villa Park, and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium been selected ahead of Old Trafford?
The locations of the stadiums do play a part. But with two stadiums selected in the northwest of England, and Old Trafford not one of them, questions need to be asked why?
One conclusion that can be drawn is facilities. The facilities at Old Trafford are way behind those at the Etihad, and they will be behind those available at Everton’s new stadium at Bramley Moore.
As things stand, there are no immediate plans to modernise Old Trafford. The bidding parties looking to purchase the club have pledged to invest in the ground. But until a takeover is completed, there can be no upgrades. And while all this carries on in the background, Old Trafford is simply falling further behind.