Premier League

Man Utd begin Old Trafford renovation with key redevelopment

Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United have already started work on the club’s next renovation project, which is seeing the players’ tunnel at Old Trafford undergo a makeover ahead of 2024/25.

The current tunnel at Old Trafford, situated in the south west corner between the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand and the West Stand, is best described as a functional space leading out from the dressing rooms, which were updated in 2018, with white-painted breeze blocks and a retractable red cover.

That is in contrast to the tunnels at the Etihad Stadium and other much newer venues. But United say: “The objective is to create a performance environment that will inspire and motivate our men’s, women’s and Academy players on matchdays. Led by the football department, this summer’s refurbishment will introduce a more modern and premium space for the squads to utilise.”

Existing plaques commemorating John Henry Davies, who took over Newton Heath in 1902 – both saving the club from bankruptcy and changing the name to Manchester United, and James W. Gibson, who had a similarly lifesaving impact in the 1930s that paved the way for the foundation of the world famous youth team and Matt Busby era, will have homes in the new tunnel.

The tunnel renovation project is set to be complete by the time United open the 2024/25 Premier League season at Old Trafford against Fulham on Friday 16 August.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The corner is currently in the south west corner of Old Trafford / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

The club has used the south west corner for the tunnel since 1993. Before that, players would emerge from the dressing rooms in between the respective benches at the middle of the pitch. The much smaller halfway line tunnel is the only surviving part of the original stadium built in 1910, with relentless German bombing raids of the neighbouring large industrial estate during the Second World War resulting in major destruction and an extensive late 1940s rebuild.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s long-term vision for Old Trafford, which has fallen into a state of relative disrepair compared to the homes of rival clubs, is a ‘Wembley of the north’. The ideal is likely to be knocking down the current stadium and rebuilding on adjacent ground. That way, it is pulled out of the restrictive slice of land wedged between a railway line and the Bridgewater Canal.

A special Old Trafford task force has been created, although in the short-term a variety of refurbishment projects should be expected at the current Old Trafford.

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