Andy Burnham says Old Trafford plans could be ‘the biggest regeneration scheme in the country’

Big words.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 12th March 2024

Mayor Andy Burnham has claimed that Manchester United’s plans to redevelop Old Trafford are not only massive for the club and Greater Manchester but that they could prove to be one of the biggest Levelling Up projects in the UK.

Speaking in a lengthy press conference after being appointed as one of several figures on Man United’s ‘regeneration taskforce‘, which is being tasked with exploring all the options surrounding the next chapter for Old Trafford, the Manchester mayor insisted that the plans are much bigger than the club.

As per the BBC’s Simon Stone, Burnham said, “This could be the biggest regeneration scheme in the country” and that beyond being a shiny new football ground, it could bring “thousands of jobs” to the region in turn.

He also revealed that the club isn’t set to make a decision on whether to remain at a refurbished Theatre of Dreams or build a new construct a new Old Trafford until the middle/latter part of the year — one of the key decisions that the taskforce is helping United’s executives reach.

Having already insisted that Old Trafford’s regeneration — be it an updating and upgrading or a total rebuild — would mean “no other city in the world would be set up in terms of its football infrastructure to Manchester”, the Labour MP has insisted he is fully committed to playing his part in the project.


Named alongside the likes of club legend turned pundit and businessman, Gary Neville, Lord Sebastian Coe (former Chair of the organising committee for the 2012 Olympics) and the Chief Exec of Trafford Council, Sara Todd, he will be key in making sure the plans have both social and economic impact.

Burnham went on to tell BBC Sport: “We’ve seen what has happened on the east of Manchester, with the investment that has gone in. I’m looking at a balancing investment on the west of Manchester that will set this city up to be the capital of football around the world in the 21st century.”


Referencing Man City and how the development of the Etihad Campus has undoubtedly helped regenerate surrounding areas over the past decade or so, it’s clear that the 54-year-old sees this as a massive investment in the community as opposed to just a private venture — and has said as much too:

Andy Burnham insists whatever happens to Old Trafford, it should involve a mix of public investment and private funding.

While Burnham’s suggestion that Manchester United should seek public investment has come under plenty of fire, with many asking why their new billionaire co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe would turn to the taxpayer for help with funding, he insisted it should be a “public-private partnership”, not a handout.

As an Everton fan himself, he was quick to cite how the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has already helped the Toffees in supplying loans, grants and in covering other professional costs related to supporting works on their new stadium on Bramley Moore dock which is still in progress.


Circling back to United and Old Trafford, Burnham added: “People should just get away from the idea of public sector money, that is not the issue, it is much broader, with transport, employment and new investment into our city region. That is what is at stake here.”

The Mayor also appeared on a special episode of MUTV’s UTD Podcast, touching on how such a project would be massive for the North as a whole, transport and the ever-growing Bee Network, as well as how his new consulting brief fits into his wider role as the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

He reiterated that Manchester is already “the global capital of football” but that Old Trafford’s regeneration will only further cement things.

Read more:

The insights that people like Andy Burnham, Gary Neville and Lord Coe will no doubt factor into how Manchester United approach the plans and whether it be continuing Old Trafford’s legacy or starting from scratch, but several reports are now suggesting that Ratcliffe is leaning towards a new stadium.

The INEOS boss has already insisted that he wants Old Trafford to become the ‘Wembley of the North’ and feels the stadium plans would need government backing to achieve that goal.

People have long been envisaging what a new and improved Old Trafford could look like, be it upgrading the existing stadium or erecting entirely new ground, and it remains a big debate amongst the supporter base. What do you think, United fans: stay put and renovate or think up the next Theatre of Dreams?


For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.

Featured Images — Sky Sports (via YouTube)/MUTV