Why Andy Burnham believes Man Utd plan for Old Trafford is 'win-win' for Greater Manchester and even Liverpool

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The Mayor was at United’s defeat to Arsenal with Sir Keir Starmer.

Andy Burnham says there is a ‘win-win opportunity’ in the redevelopment of Old Trafford — but says it’s up to the club to find the money for stadium redevelopment.

The mayor of Greater Manchester was at United’s recent home loss to Arsenal, which was followed by heavy rain that created ‘a waterfall’ off the stadium roof. Images on social media also showed water following down the stadium steps next to seating.

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Mr Burnham attended the game with several high-profile figures from both United and the Labour Party, including Lord Coe, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Sir Dave Brailsford, Sir Keir Starmer, and Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig. Some of those sit on the Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force, a United-led panel to oversee the redevelopment of the area.

Andy Burnham, with Sebastian Coe, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and others at Manchester United's game against Arsenal Andy Burnham, with Sebastian Coe, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and others at Manchester United's game against Arsenal
Andy Burnham, with Sebastian Coe, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and others at Manchester United's game against Arsenal

And speaking on BBC Radio Manchester’s In The Hotseat programme on Thursday, the mayor has identified a ‘win-win opportunity’ for the club. When asked by host Mike Sweeney if club officials were pitching for support from a potential Labour government, the mayor said: “We want to support the club in its plans to rebuild or refurbish Old Trafford.

“There’s an opportunity to bring benefits to people in Greater Manchester. There’s a freight terminal right behind Old Trafford which means freight trains [need to] come through Piccadilly and Oxford Road.

“Here is the opportunity to take it away from Old Trafford and put it into Port Salford or Parkside, a scheme in development in Wigan [to take trains away from the Castlefield Corridor tracks] and then Manchester United have an easier space to use with regards to the redevelopment. This is not about public money being used improperly. It’s a win-win opportunity.”

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But when asked if Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer — an Arsenal fan — was supportive of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s plans, Mr Burnham did appear to rule out committing public money to the stadium redevelopment. 

He replied: “He was in a good mood. This could have benefits for both of those schemes and the Port of Liverpool.

“Then if you were to regenerate the Old Trafford area and link it to the plans Trafford Council have [for the area] it could be a scheme that benefits everybody in the north west. It would have to be a public-private partnership… but it would have to be the club to fund the stadium and associated Manchester United facilities.”

The Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force met for the first time last month, with chair Lord Coe saying ‘it is too soon to know where it will lead’, but promised it ‘will consult closely with fans and local residents along the way, and keep everyone informed of progress’.

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