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SPORTS UPDATE

Neville backs potential Man Utd plan to demolish Old Trafford

Gary Neville has backed a potential Manchester United plan to demolish Old Trafford after reluctantly admitting the current ground has fallen below elite standards.

Sportsmail revealed on Monday that the plan to demolish the ground on the existing Old Trafford site is one of three options the club are currently considering.

The third option is to leave the ground intact but to revamp the spectator and corporate areas within all four sides of the ground.

But Neville believes arguably the toughest of these choices, from a sentimental position at least, could also be the best for the club.

‘There is a story emerging from Old Trafford that they might rebuild the entire stadium and I have just been asked what I think of it,’ the United legend said on his Instagram Live via SportBible on Monday night.

‘I actually think that it would be the right move. I think by the time that they have spent money on Old Trafford, the existing one, then I think you would be better off building a brand new, better, super stadium.

‘I do think that Manchester United should always be at the forefront of stadiums, have the best facilities and they have fallen behind.’

However, despite being open to full demolition, it is thought the South Stand revamp is among the most attractive development path to club owners the Glazer family and remains the most likely option – a decision likely to be most popular with supporters.

Current building technology would enable the railway line to be navigated, an issue that was considered prohibitive for many years, on the way to increasing capacity from the stadium’s current 74,000 to beyond 80,000.

United have said they would prefer a phased rebuild of Old Trafford and they would in all likelihood be able to carry out this work without impacting capacity while doing so.

However, the option to demolish the 112-year stadium is understood to be real and is part of the proposals that competing architects and engineers have been examining as they bid for the contract to carry out the work.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to United eventually playing in a totally brand new stadium is that the team would have to find somewhere else to play for two years while it was built.

Ground sharing is not be an option for United especially with neighbours Manchester City.

Old Trafford remains one of the most famous stadiums in world sport and has played host to World Cup and European Championship games as well as a Champions League final. But despite several attempts at modernisation over the years, it now falls some way below the standards required by a top English club.

Facilities at places like Tottenham and Arsenal, built-in 2019 and 2006 respectively, are currently far superior.

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