It never rains but it pours – Old Trafford issues exposed by storm

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe was given a stark reminder of the issues facing a deteriorating Old Trafford as a storm wreaked havoc around the ground on Sunday.

The Red Devils are looking at options to redevelop the current site or build a new one on adjacent club-owned land, with the first option expected to cost in the region of £1 billion and a new stadium requiring a £2 billion outlay.

Ratcliffe favours a new ground and got a first hand glimpse of the issues at United’s current home after a storm broke out towards the end of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Water poured from the corner of the roof between the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and East Stand, funnelling down like a waterfall onto the seats beneath.

In the opposite corner, water raced down the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand steps and flooded the moat around the pitch.

A social media video appeared to show pipes had broken above that area and other footage highlighted other problems around the ground, including in the tunnel area.

The PA news agency understands senior figures met to discuss the issues shortly after the match.

United have not commented on the problems but said 41mm of rain fell in the two hours after the final whistle. By contrast, 29mm fell on Old Trafford in the whole of last May.

Earlier on Sunday, co-owner Ratcliffe met with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to discuss the redevelopment of Old Trafford.

PA understands Starmer attended the match as a guest of Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who is a member of the task force exploring options for how to revitalise United’s home ground.

Burnham was also present at the talks ahead of kick-off along with Lord Coe, who is chair of the Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force.

The task force, which also includes former United captain Gary Neville, met for the first time last month as Ratcliffe looks to create a world-class stadium by either redeveloping Old Trafford or constructing a new ground on adjacent land owned by the Premier League club.

The stadium is the focal point of the project, which is looking to regenerate the wider Trafford Park area.

It is understood the discussions with Arsenal fan Starmer were part of ongoing engagement with political leaders on a local, regional and national level as options for the project are explored.


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