Manchester United are in the early stages of planning an Old Trafford expansion, while they will play their first game with safe standing against Wolves next month.
United have played at their home ground for 111 years, with the venue already capable of hosting 73,000 fans on a matchday.
Initial meetings have taken place to further modernise the home of the Red Devils, but United’s chief operating officer (COO) Colette Roche insisted the plans are still in their infancy.
“These meetings have produced exciting potential ideas, although it’s important to note that we’re still at an early stage and it’s premature to talk about timetables,” Roche told a meeting of United’s fans’ forum.
While Roche assured no decision as to budget nor size of expansion had been made, she added the final plan would be “based on analysis and on consultation, with no preconceived ideas or limits”.
Roche also promised to involve the newly created Fans’ Advisory Board (FAB), which is due to meet for the first time in the new year to ensure board-level dialogue between the club and fans in the wake of the failed European Super League proposal.
The COO labelled the creation of the FAB as a “historic step that will establish a new model for fan engagement in English football and, ultimately, improve the club’s decision-making”.
United fans have been given an update on plans to modernise Old Trafford… #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 23, 2021
Within the same fans’ forum meeting, United confirmed 1,519 barrier seats for safe standing had been installed within the north-east quadrant, with around 500 more to be added in late December.
United’s first game testing safe standing will be against Wolves on January 3, with the new standing area to be independently evaluated from its introduction until the end of the 2021-22 season.
A review of other areas of the ground that may be suitable for barrier seats will also take place throughout the rest of the current campaign after United’s initial application for safe standing was approved by the Sports Ground Safety Authority.
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