Exactly 104 years ago today (19 Feb), Manchester United played the first-ever match at Old Trafford. Here, we chart the stadium's rich history and heritage...
Aptly, Sir Bobby Charlton coined that phrase in the pages of ‘Soccer’, a book by author John Riley, at the beginning of Sir Alex Ferguson’s imperious reign in 1987. Since then, United’s home has undergone a dramatic evolution to become what is – in our humble opinion - the finest club ground in British football.
Indeed, Old Trafford is the second largest stadium in the UK (after Wembley) and ninth largest in Europe, having developed enormously since it was first designed in 1909 by the celebrated architect Archibald Leitch, whose iconic works also include Liverpool’s Anfield, Fulham’s Craven Cottage and Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium, among many others.
Back then, ambitious chairman John Henry Davies had a vision that didn’t involve the crumbling, smog-bound facilities at Bank Street, where the pitch was a quagmire, deemed unsuitable for a club of United’s calibre. His solution was to spend £60,000 on a stadium fit for heroes, prompting one journalist to describe the venue as “the most handsomest, the most spacious and the most remarkable arena I have ever seen. As a football ground it is unrivalled in the world, it is an honour to Manchester.” In keeping with such a review, Old Trafford soon staged the 1911 FA Cup final replay and the