General

08/03/2024

MUST appointed to Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force

Today, the Club has announced (see below) a new Taskforce to consider the options for the future of Old Trafford and its surroundings, which MUST has been invited to join to represent fans views and interests.

This announcement seems to be a signal of real intent and ambition in terms of investment in the stadium and surrounding area. United fans used to take great pride in the fact we had the best ground in the country - and we all want that to be the case once again. Certainly, we all know investment in OT is desperately needed and most fans would put it right at the top of their priority list.

The million dollar question is whether to redevelop the existing stadium, our home for 114 years, or build a new ground next door. Any decision to move from our home would need to be taken in full consultation with fans, but we believe all supporters should enter the process with an open mind willing to look at the evidence and the options, and assess what would be in the best interests of the Club, supporters and the community. 

The process needs to take into account a wide range of stakeholders, particularly supporters, and we’re pleased to have been asked to join the group where we intend to best represent fans interests. In that role representing fans views, we intend to make sure fans have as much information as possible and we will consult widely to understand the collective view of the fanbase. This is not about MUST’s view on the future of OT - it is about yours.

It is important to understand that the Task Force is not a decision making body. It has been set up to ensure all stakeholders are represented in considerations that go beyond the stadium and impact the local community too. Of course, in the end, it is the owners, the executive management of the club and the local authorities which will take any decisions but our role is to ensure the fan’s voice is heard and our priorities are taken into account.

We view this a good step forward. And we will be back in touch in the near future to embark on the process of fully understanding fans views on the future of our home and its surrounding area.

Chief Executive Officer of Manchester United Supporters Trust, Duncan Drasdo: 
"It is very encouraging to see the emphasis being put on fan consultation, including representation on this panel, and exciting to see the vision and ambition behind this project, not only to put Old Trafford back among the world’s leading football stadiums, but also for it to form part of a wider regeneration. Fans are the heartbeat of any football stadium and we look forward to consulting with supporters while working with the club and local stakeholders to help deliver an outcome that brings benefits for supporters in harmony with the surrounding neighbourhood."


Manchester United's press release is included in full below:

EXPERT TASK FORCE TO EXPLORE OPTIONS FOR OLD TRAFFORD REGENERATION

A joint task force has been created to explore options for regenerating the Old Trafford area of Greater Manchester, with the development of a world-class football stadium at the heart of the project.

The ‘Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force’ will bring together local leaders and national experts to examine how stadium development can support renewal of an area of the city with rich industrial history and huge potential for the future, and deliver social and economic benefits for the entire region.

Chaired by Lord Sebastian Coe, former Chair of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics, the task force will assess the feasibility of a new stadium of national significance equipped to host international games and finals, as well as providing a modernised home for Manchester United. Other members will include Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Sara Todd, Chief Executive of Trafford Council, and Gary Neville, former Captain of Manchester United.

Working in synergy with Trafford Council’s Trafford Wharfside Framework, the project aims to support revitalisation of the area between Trafford Park and the banks of Salford Quays, and support the ‘levelling up’ agenda to drive investment in the north of England. It would also reduce the over-concentration of major sporting venues and events in London and the south-east.

Lord Coe said: “Throughout my career in sport, I have seen the potential for stadiums to become focal points for strong communities and catalysts for social and economic development. That was certainly true of the venues we built in east London for the 2012 Olympics, and we are overdue a project of similar scale and ambition in the north of England. I am honoured to have this opportunity to share my expertise in support of this tremendously exciting project.”

Andy Burnham said: “The development of one of the most iconic stadiums in world football will help attract investment, create jobs, and lead to new opportunities that will not just benefit Trafford but communities across our city-region and beyond. Greater Manchester has been a hive of innovation and creativity for centuries, and sport has played a huge role in shaping our past and present. This bold and exciting vision for the future of Old Trafford and the surrounding area can become another success story for our city-region.”

Sara Todd said: “We are very pleased that Manchester United have confirmed their commitment to remaining at Old Trafford, their historic home, and welcome the prospect of renewed investment in the development of a world-class stadium. As plans for the stadium and the neighbouring Trafford Wharfside area progress, we have a unique opportunity to truly transform the historic industrial ‘engine room’ of Greater Manchester into a modern hub for growth and a new community, and we want to build on the socio-economic benefits this will bring, particularly for local residents. We are committed to working with the club, local residents and other key partners to develop these exciting and ambitious proposals.”

Gary Neville said: “I’m incredibly fortunate to have had the privilege of playing hundreds of games at Old Trafford, and no one can take away those amazing memories. But Old Trafford has evolved throughout its history and it’s clear we are at a point where it has to change again to ensure that Manchester United has a world-class stadium befitting the world’s greatest club. While I want the best for Manchester United, I also want the same for the surrounding community. Old Trafford should be a stadium that the whole of Greater Manchester can take pride in, and be a catalyst for sustainable, cohesive growth in an area of the city that has been neglected for too long.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, co-owner of Manchester United, said: “This can be a major regeneration project for an area of Greater Manchester which has played such a key role in British industrial history, but which today requires new investment to thrive again. The north-west of England has a greater concentration of major football clubs than anywhere else in the world, yet we don’t have a stadium on the scale of Wembley, the Nou Camp or Bernabéu. We will not be able to change that on our own, which is why this task force is so important to help us seize this once-in-a-century opportunity.”

Others so far recruited to the task force include:

  • Duncan Drasdo, Member of Manchester United Fans’ Advisory Board and Chief Executive of Manchester United Supporters’ Trust
  • Tom Ross, Leader of Trafford Council
  • Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester
  • Anna Bensky, Associate Director of The Peel Group
  • Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester
  • Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University

 

  • An economic impact study will be commissioned to assess the potential socio-economic benefits of the project.
  • Fans and local residents will be closely consulted throughout the process.
  • The task force is expected to make recommendations later this year.
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