Manchester United Co-Owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe met with Labour Leader Keir Starmer on Sunday to discuss the redevelopment of Old Trafford.

The meeting on Sunday marked the first of the ‘Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force’, which was assembled earlier this year. The task force was created to drive the redevelopment of the Co-Owner’s vision to build a ‘Wembley of the North’.

Starmer was a guest of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham who is a member of the task force. Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of the Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force, was also present and met ahead of United’s home fixture against Arsenal.

The stadium is the focal point of the redevelopment. However, it was revealed that the task force hopes to revitalise the Old Trafford area. 

Redevelopment of the existing stadium is believed to cost in the region of £1bn and building a new stadium altogether would require approximately £2bn. The task force’s responsibility  will be to examine options for financing the project. Ratcliffe has previously stated that without government support the project lacks viability. 

However, the plan was aligned with Trafford Council’s ‘Trafford Wharfside Framework’, a goal to revitalise the area between Trafford Park and the banks of Salford Quays. It also fits within the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, which looks to drive investment in the north of England.

This initial meeting is a sign for supporters of the club that it is heading in the right direction after years of protests against Co-Owners the Glazer family. Supporters have raised questions over the lack of investment by the American family.

On Sunday the heavens opened and Old Trafford’s leaky roofs were exposed for the task force to see. A waterfall formed in the corner of the Sir Alex Ferguson stand and East Stand. In the opposite corner, water raced down the steps and flooded the moat around the pitch.

Looking forward, the task force will decide what is the most viable option and if it is possible to acquire government funding for the stadium.

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