Man United 'consult stadium designers' to increase Old Trafford capacity as Jim Ratcliffe eyes 'Wembley of the north'

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Plans to increase the capacity of Old Trafford are currently being discussed by Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS group and stadium designers.

Manchester United have consulted with stadium designers over a potential Old Trafford expansion as Sir Jim Ratcliffe eyes a 'state-of-the-art' ground with a potential 100,000 capacity.

The Glazers have brought in Populous, the architectural and design practice that drew up Tottenham Hotspur's new ground, according to the Daily Mail. Discussions are being held over plans to refurbish or rebuild the Theatre of Dreams as the club enters this new era with Ratcliffe and INEOS.

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Populous have also announced they will be designing Morocco’s Grand Stade de Casablanca, a project expected to create the biggest football stadium in the world with a mammoth 115,000 capacity.

Ratcliffe has confirmed his desire to expand Old Trafford and revamp the stadium to create a 'state-of-the-art', 'world-class' facility. The INEOS chief recently spoke about the expansion plans on the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast and stressed the need for the north of England to have a venue similar to the iconic Wembley Stadium for blockbuster cup finals and international fixtures.

"You have got this opportunity if you choose to, to build a completely new ground, because we have got enough space," Ratcliffe said. "If you built a completely new ground it would absolutely be state-of-the-art, world class, 90,000 or maybe even 100,000 that then provides a platform for some of the big competitions in the north of England.

"Why do England always play in the south? Why is the FA Cup final always in the south? Why can't the Champions League final be in the north occasionally? Football in the north is just as important as it is in the south, arguably more so, and the people in the north pay their taxes, so why do we have Wembley, Twickenham, Wimbledon etc in the south? What have we got in the north? There's a strong argument to build a 'Wembley of the north'." 

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Following the news that Populous have been brought in, the plans are now being 'scrutinised by Ratcliffe's INEOS people'. United's options are being discussed among a task consisting of Reds legend Gary Neville, Lord Sebastian Coe, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

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