25/03/2011 11:45, Report by Adam Marshall
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Old Trafford's evolution

On 25 March 1939, a crowd of 76,962 fans crammed into Old Trafford for an FA Cup semi-final between Wolves and Grimsby.

That attendance remains a record for the Reds' world-famous stadium, even though it's been gradually developed since the Second World War to become the magnificent arena it is today.

Bomb damage during the war forced Matt Busby's men to vacate Old Trafford and play at Manchester City's Maine Road ground. When United made the emotional return in 1949, standing was still the norm - only 3,000 seats were installed in time for the homecoming match against Bolton Wanderers.

A stated ambition in September 1957 to house 100,000 spectators was shelved as the Munich air disaster the following year refocused the directors' minds to saving the club.

In 1960, the capacity was increased to 66,500 following work on the Stretford End and the neighbouring paddock and, four years later, a cantilever stand on United Road was installed with 10,500 seats and the first private boxes in the country. With Old Trafford due to host World Cup games in 1966, the £350,000 investment was assisted by the government.

The Theatre of Dreams was really starting to take shape. Another cantilever stand with 5,000 new seats extended the Scoreboard End in 1971 and more executive boxes were opened in 1973.

The 1980s brought only minor changes although seats were installed in the Stretford End paddock in 1985 and the Family Stand was introduced.

Following the Taylor Report recommendations in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, the Stretford End was demolished in 1992 and replaced by the new £12million West Stand. Another major development came before Euro '96 when the giant North Stand  took the capacity to over 56,000.

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