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Man United stadium revamp faces setback amid public funds uncertainty

Man Utd stadium

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s grand vision to transform Old Trafford into the ‘Wembley of the North’ has hit a massive stumbling block. 

Ratcliffe had intended to secure public funds to realise his ambitious vision for Old Trafford. But the Times reports that the government will likely reject any approach from the INEOS chairman.

While the new United shareholder envisions a glistening facility to replace Old Trafford, Whitehall insiders remain tight-lipped, hinting at funding only the regeneration of the surrounding area rather than the stadium itself.

Ratcliffe’s suggestion of securing public funds from the government has also been criticised by former sports ministers. One accused the Glazers of neglecting the stadium despite raking in hundreds of millions.

The other claimed it wouldn’t be fair to Everton, who are funding the construction of their new Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium themselves and have even incurred large debts doing so.

Ratcliffe has yet to approach any government official on the subject, but the news will come as a major blow to the INEOS chairman, who may have to find an alternative approach to fund the project.

The 71-year-old has already committed £1 billion to renovate Old Trafford rather than forking out double that amount to construct a new stadium, but also wants to ensure benefit for the taxpayers.

United plan to announce a dedicated task force to oversee the redevelopment of Old Trafford, with club legend Gary Neville potentially on board, having been invited to join the committee.

Ratcliffe has made a significant first impression at United since his investment was approved and has wasted no time ringing the changes, which extends to the club’s recruitment.

A deal to land sporting director Dan Ashworth from Newcastle United is still in the pipeline, while Southampton’s director of football Jason Wilcox is also on their radar.