Fans return to an evolving Old Trafford

Wednesday 28 July 2021 23:58

Everyone at Manchester United is thrilled to be welcoming fans back inside Old Trafford over the next couple of months.

Collette Roche, the club's Chief Operating Officer, told MUTV ahead of our pre-season friendly against Brentford that supporters will notice a number of changes at the Theatre of Dreams as they return in their droves after far too long away.

Old Trafford had only once welcomed in a crowd during the COVID-19 pandemic, when 10,000 attended the final home Premier League match of last season against Fulham, in which Edinson Cavani scored his stunning 40-yard lob. Wednesday night's Brentford game was watched by 30,000 in the stands, and everyone involved with the club is delighted to see supporters back in such numbers.
It was an exciting night under the new floodlights.

"We have around 30,000 fans here and everyone's obviously really excited, as you can imagine," said Roche, before the thrilling 2-2 draw kicked off.

"We're hoping to then ramp that up for our next friendly match so by the time the season starts, I'd expect this stadium to be full. So [we've got] fingers crossed."

Inside the ground, new rail seating has been put in place in J Stand. Roche explained that the development comes "after a long conversation with MUST, our supporters trust, who were really keen to put this in as a good, safe option for our supporters on matchday.

"We're delighted that this friendly match will be our first opportunity for our fans to sample these rail seats," Collette said.

Highlights: United 2 Brentford 2 Video

Highlights: United 2 Brentford 2

Our pre-season game against the Bees was crammed with quality strikes! Watch all four amazing goals now...

"Old Trafford is exactly the same as other large stadiums, it's all-seater. Our fans do need to sit.

"But what this will do is make it safer for those that do temporarily stand, and also it will future-proof us. So in the future, should any legislation changes come about that do allow safe standing, we would be in a good position to facilitate that.

"I think it's fair to say we've been really busy at Old Trafford through the summer period even though we've not been playing any matches. We've obviously resurfaced the pitch, hopefully that'll get us three years on the run as Premier League Grounds Team of the Year.

"We've also installed new LED floodlights. That'll be good for our players but also for the quality of the visual product, both for broadcasting and here in the stadium. And because they're LED, it reduces our carbon footprint.

"Back in June we made some very strong commitments to our fans to engage them more widely and more deeply in things that are really important to them and over the last couple of months we've started to make big strides in that way, whether that's investing in the stadium, improving and replenishing the Fans' Forum and we're also going to launch our new Fans' Advisory Board next season."