Manchester United will remove the executive seating from the Stretford End at its Old Trafford ground so the stand is entirely for fans with general admission tickets, the club has said.
The changes will be made to the stand behind the goal at the club’s stadium in time for the start of the 2024-25 season and is part of ongoing efforts to improve the atmosphere at United home games. The Stretford End is where some of United’s most passionate supporters watch the club’s home games and has been the scene of many iconic moments over the decades when memorable goals have been scored in front of it.
Removing the executive seating from the stand is something fans have been asking to happen for some time, and after consulting with United fan groups the club has now worked out a timetable to make the change.
Why are Manchester United making changes to the Stretford End of Old Trafford?
United acted on the presence of executive seating in the Stretford End following various requests from supporters to look again at the subject. The club worked with the Fans’ Advisory Board to review the presence of executive seats in the ground. It has now been announced that when the 2024-25 season kicks off all supporters in the Stretford End will be those with general admission tickets. Work will take place at the end of the 2023-24 season.
It is one of a number of decisions the club says it has recently made after consulting with fan representatives, including putting in rail seating and creating a dedicated atmosphere section in the Stretford End. It is hoped that reverting the stand to fans with general admission tickets will complement this and make the ground louder on match days.
Named after the area of Trafford the stand backs on to, the Stretford End has seen a long list of iconic moments over the years, with one of the latest being Marcus Rashford’s 82nd minute winner in the recent Manchester derby against Manchester City. Eric Cantona called the stand “the heartbeat of Manchester United,” while Denis Law, known as The King of the Stretford End, is celebrated by a bronze statue on display at the entrance.
The Stretford End was a standing terrace for decades before it became all-seater in the 1990s. The International Suite, which is now going, opened with a small amount of executive seating in the lower tier before a second tier was added in 2000.
What has the club said about the changes to the Stretford End?
Rick McGagh, head of fan engagement at Manchester United, said: “The Stretford End is one of the most famous stands in world football. It has been the backdrop to many of the most memorable moments in our history, and when it’s at its loudest you can feel the difference it makes to the players, and the connection the fans have with the team.
“Fans and fan groups including MUST and TRA have long campaigned for us to remove the executive seats from the heart of the Stretford End and to make them standard tickets and therefore more accessible to all fans.
“We have listened and agree that as many fans as possible should have the chance to be a Stretford Ender. We have worked with our Fans’ Advisory Board in recent months to make this happen and we are all looking forward to an even louder Stretford End from August 2024.”
Collette Roche, chief operating officer at Manchester United, said: “Structural work will take place over the coming year to return the Stretford End to general admission seating and create a new concourse. During this period, we will be consulting fans to understand how best to repurpose the space currently used by the International Suite.
“We very much value our executive club members who currently sit in the Stretford End and recognise the impact this change will have. The club is committed to working with those affected to find alternative seating where necessary ahead of the 24/25 season.
“Plans for the long-term redevelopment of Old Trafford continue to progress, while we simultaneously take steps such as this one to improve the matchday experience in the near-term. We are grateful to our Fans’ Advisory Board for their backing of this initiative, and believe it provides another positive example of the benefits of dialogue with fans.”