Club one of several looking at major work on stadia in coming years

Firms have been put on alert about a potential rebuild of Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground after new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed his £1bn purchase of a 27.7% stake in the club.

Any rebuild is likely to dwarf previous new stadium schemes with a £2bn price tag put on the cost of redeveloping the ground.

Sources have told Building, Manchester United is one of several clubs looking at sprucing up existing grounds or, in some cases, carrying out a complete rebuild of ageing stadia.

One said: “United is one job that is getting going again but there are a lot of Premier League clubs looking at work. There will be quite a few clubs competing for the same builders.”


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A new stadium could lead the wider regeneration of south Manchester, according to Ratcliffe

Laing O’Rourke has previously carried out improvement work at the ground, which dates back to 1909, and would be an early favourite for work – provided it can reach an agreement.

Last year, O’Rourke was set to carry out an expansion of Manchester City’s Etihad ground but left the scheme after failing to agree a price. Sisk will carry out the work although its appointment has not yet been formally confirmed.

Only a limited number of firms could do a job of the size and profile a complete rebuild of Old Trafford would require. Mace, which built the Premier League’s benchmark ground for Tottenham Hotspur, is understood to be reluctant to take on a job of that scale again and has not traditionally carried out many big schemes beyond its London and South-east heartland.

Wembley stadium builder Multiplex has already ruled itself out while question marks remain over the appetites of others. One option could be to go to an overseas firm and one other would-be bidder admitted: “There is a lot of risk on football jobs. Who would do it from the UK? There’s not many who would fancy it.”

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Ratcliffe said yesterday there was “quite a big argument” for regenerating the whole area of south Manchester around Old Trafford with a new stadium as the “nucleus”.

“If it can be achieved, I would be very excited for that prospect for the North of England,” the billionaire chairman of chemical firm Ineos told the BBC, suggesting a new arena could host England games and cup finals.

According to The Times, former United player-turned-developer Gary Neville has been invited to join a special committee to oversee plans for the regeneration of Old Trafford and the surrounding area.

Two years ago, United said Tottenham Hotspur Stadium architect Populous was working on plans for the ground, along with US project manager Legends, which had been involved with Liverpool FC’s Anfield Road stand redevelopment.

Building reported at the time that WSP was also part of the team for the project, which was tasked with “developing options for Old Trafford and studying their feasibility”. Fans were surveyed for their views in July 2022.

If the club decides against building a new stadium next to Old Trafford, it may opt to enlarge the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand on the south side.

The ground currently has a capacity of 74,310 and any redevelopment would likely bring this over 80,000.