Ratcliffe on new Man Utd stadium: North West has 10 CLs, London has two

Daily News
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Ratcliffe on new Man Utd stadium: North West has 10 CLs, London has two

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says there is a “very good case” for Manchester United’s new ‘Wembley of the North’ stadium to be publicly funded, adding the North West should have a national football arena due to the number of Champions League it has won.

Earlier this year, Ratcliffe – who acquired a 25 per cent stake of United for a fee of £1.2bn at the end of 2023 – revealed plans to regenerate Old Trafford by creating a stadium capable of rivalling the 90,000-seater Wembley in north London.

Trafford Council announced a 15-year plan to regenerate the area around Old Trafford in February, while Ratcliffe has also assembled the Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force, putting himself as chair. Other members of the task force include Lord Coe, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

Ratcliffe is continuing to push for public funds to regenerate Old Trafford and the surrounding areas despite no apparent political support being forthcoming. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was hosted at the stadium for the visit of Arsenal last week, just as heavy rain exposed the fragility of the ageing venue.

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The Old Trafford waterfall was on show again as the heavens opened after Manchester United’s match against Arsenal

“There’s a very good case, in my view, for having a stadium of the North, which would serve the northern part of the country in that arena of football,” Ratcliffe told Sky News. “If you look at the number of Champions League the North West has won, it’s 10. London has won two.

“And yet everybody from the North has to get down to London to watch a big football match. And there should be one [a large stadium] in the North, in my view.

“But it’s also important for the southern side of Manchester, you know, to regenerate. It’s the sort of second capital of the country where the Industrial Revolution began.

“But if you have a regeneration project, you need a nucleus or a regeneration project and having that world-class stadium there, I think would provide the impetus to regenerate that region.”

Ten Hag: Man Utd is still an attractive club

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Erik ten Hag plays down the exchange between Marcus Rashford and a fan before the Newcastle game, insisting the supporters and players are united

Under-fire manager Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United are still an attractive club for players despite missing out on Champions League football for next season.

United are battling to qualify for Europe for next season, but will not feature in the Champions League in 2024/25.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Ten Hag was adamant United will still be a place players will want to move to despite a lack of Champions League football.

    He said: “I’m not thinking about a negative scenario. We have the opportunity [to qualify for the Europa League], and it is in our own hands so we need to go for it. I’m thinking positive. I’m a positive man and it’s in our own hands, so we have to go for it.”

    When pressed on the impact of being out of the Champions League in terms of signing players, he added: “For every player Manchester United is a very attractive club.

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    Following their 3-2 win over Newcastle United, Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag praised the club’s supporters after a difficult season and said they’ll do everything they can to beat rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final

    “Of course, you want to play at the highest levels but if you want to go into a project at a club like Man Utd, I’m sure United are an attractive club for every player.”

    Despite their disappointing league performance this year, Ten Hag believes the club are in a better place 12 months on from the last campaign.

    “I think we’ve developed some young players with high potentials which can add to quality levels of our squad with established, experienced players,” he said.

    “They can make for a very good mix and be a strong squad to compete at the highest levels. That is also what we showed this season against top teams. We have very good players who are very competitive.”

    When asked if he sees improvement, he added: “When you look at results, no, but we know the reasons behind it. We say yes. We have more high-quality players in the squad – from that perspective in a better position.”

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