Manchester United are interested in installing an all-safe-standing section in the lower tier of Old Trafford’s Stretford End, according to reports.
The Red Devils were one of the first sides to adopt safe standing when it was introduced into Premier League grounds in January 2022, when 1,500 rail seats were installed in the north-east quadrant of Old Trafford, along with 2,500 in the away areas. A further 2,100 safe-standing seats were added ahead of the 2023/24 season, bringing the overall number in Old Trafford above 6,000.
But as per the Daily Mail, United are exploring options to turn the bottom section of the Stretford End into an entirely safe-standing area. “The club have carried out feasibility work to look at bringing standing to the lower tier of the iconic stand, the beating heart of the stadium before changes post-Hillsborough saw it turn all-seater,” the Mail report. The Stretford End is the stand which houses the club's most-vocal supporters, and is where The Red Army fan group sit.
Speaking earlier this summer, Rick McGagh, United’s head of fan engagement, spoke of the importance of providing a standing area following discussions with fan groups.
“We believe safe-standing areas give fans choice about how they watch the game, and increase safety in areas where persistent standing has historically occurred,” he told the club’s website. “It is something our fans have long campaigned for and we are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from supporters who have stood in the areas we have operated for the past 18 months.”
The upkeep of Old Trafford has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years, with the iconic stadium growing more and more neglected with each passing season. Leaks in the roof and a mouse infestation have been the highest-profile issues which have impacted Old Trafford, a stadium that has seen little significant maintenance in the last 15 years under the Glazers' ownership.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has identified the need to make major improvements to the ground as part of his bid to purchase a minority stake in United, and any thought of maintenance work has fallen by the wayside during the last 12 months, amid the takeover process.