Richard Arnold explains why Old Trafford expansion would be difficult for Manchester United

There has been speculation about an expansion of Old Trafford but according to a report from Sky Sports, Manchester United managing director Richard Arnold believes doing so will temporarily leave us without a ground.

Tottenham Hotspur recently went through a similar situation as White Hart Lane underwent renovations. They are momentarily playing home games at the iconic Wembley Stadium and we might have to walk the same road if an expansion does happen.

At present, Old Trafford accommodates 74,994 spectators but as per the report, there have been calls to increase the capacity. An earlier report from Sky Sports had claimed that the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust had sent a letter to the club demanding stadium expansion to not just seat more people but to become the largest stadium in Europe. 

However, to throw a dampener, there seem to be several issues that need to be taken care of before undertaking such a huge challenge. Making changes to the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand would be rather tough and finding a temporary home ground will undoubtedly be an uphill task.

“We haven’t left the easiest stand until last,” Arnold told the South China Morning Post (h/t Sky Sports).

 “The South Stand – the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand – is the last unexpanded stand. It is sandwiched in a fairly narrow strip of land between the pitch and the main Manchester to Liverpool railway.

“There is not much space on either side of the stand, meaning that it is a very complex engineering challenge to deliver.

“It would be a multi-season challenge and it isn’t certain that there’s a way of doing it which doesn’t render us homeless.

“We have the biggest fanbase in the country and we’re not in London, where we could use Wembley. So that’s not a light challenge for us and we don’t want to give up the home advantage that we have here.

“Moving elsewhere would be difficult and the logistical issues associated with expanding the South Stand are not negligible.

“And that’s before you start getting into how big the expanded stadium should be.”

The report has also gone on to claim that the stadium will be expanded sometime in the future and that the move is fully supported by the Glazers.

While Arnold’s concerns do seem legitimate, it remains to be seen how things progress from this point and perhaps we have to wait until we get the green light for expansion.