Manchester United director admits no easy expansion of Old Trafford
Last Updated: 12/04/18 5:16pm
Manchester United managing director Richard Arnold is not sure there is a way of expanding Old Trafford without leaving them temporarily "homeless".
Sky Sports News understand United are examining their options in relation to increasing their stadium's capacity of almost 75,000 - but that there is no timescale on any plans.
Old Trafford already boasts the Premier League's largest permanent capacity (Tottenham's temporary home of Wembley Stadium is larger) and its thought they are confident that they can fill a larger stadium.
Three sides of the current Old Trafford site have already been redeveloped and increased in size but the railway line running behind the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand makes any revamp of that area more problematic - and costly.
The Manchester United Supporters' Trust has called for the stadium to become "the largest in Europe" as the club and their fans "deserve no less", with plans afoot to bolster Old Trafford's capacity to a reported 88,000.
"We haven't left the easiest stand until last," Arnold told United We Stand, quoted in the South China Morning Post.
"The South Stand - the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand - is the last unexpanded stand.
"It is sandwiched in a fairly narrow strip of land between the pitch and the main Manchester to Liverpool railway.
"There is not much space on either side of the stand, meaning that it is a very complex engineering challenge to deliver.
"It would be a multi-season challenge and it isn't certain that 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 for us and we don't want to give up the home advantage that we have here.
"Moving elsewhere would be difficult and the logistical issues associated with expanding the South Stand are not negligible.
"And that's before you start getting into how big the expanded stadium should be."
Arnold is confident Old Trafford will be expanded "one day" and says stadium development is backed by the Glazer family, but United are not only looking to improve the stadium but the atmosphere.
United boss Jose Mourinho has made his frustration with the Old Trafford faithful known during his tenure and last week the club introduced cheaper tickets for young fans to help improve the atmosphere.
Pitchside seats in the lower Stretford End will be available for £15 for fans aged 18-25 next term, while season and match ticket prices have been frozen for a seventh consecutive campaign.
United successfully trialled a singing section in the FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while a survey of fans is in the pipeline.
United are also in favour of safe standing at Old Trafford.
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