Old Trafford

Capacity74 994
Country England
CityManchester
ClubsManchester United FC
Inauguration 19/02/1910 (Manchester United - Liverpool FC, 3-4)
Construction 1909-1910
Renovations 1941, 1946-1949, 1951, 1957, 1973, 1995-2000, 2006
Recod attendance 76,962 (Wolverhampton Wanderers - Grimsby Town, FA Cup, 25/03/1939)
Design Archibald Leitch (1909)
Address Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Manchester


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Description: Old Trafford

“It is the most remarkable arena I have ever seen. As a football ground it is unrivalled in the world. It is an honour to Manchester.” is what The Sporting Chronicle wrote about Old Trafford upon opening in February of 1910. Quite a welcome, but the stadium proved worthy of its reputation over the years.

Before moving to Old Trafford, the great Man United began as Newton Heath and only earned its current name after the old club dissolved in early 20th century. By 1909, just 7 years into its operation as United, owner of local brewery and chairman of the club, John Henry Davies, pumped £90,000 into construction of a brand new stadium with open-air embankments on three sides and a covered main grandstand in the south.

Old Trafford's initial form was created by perhaps the greatest name in British football architecture, Archibald Leitch. This famous Scotsman also worked on Hampden Park, Ibrox and White Hart Lane, to name just a few from his impressive portfolio. For United it was relocation from Bank Street (Clayton) to western Manchester for the first time. The opening game was played against Liverpool FC on February 19, 1910. The Red Devils lost 3:4.

In 1911 and 1915 the stadium saw its first FA Cup finals and in 1920 it set the attendance record for a league game, when 70,504 people watched the tie against Aston Villa. All-time record for Old Trafford was set on March 25, 1939, when 76,962 people were drawn to the FA Cup semifinal between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town.

During World War II, on March 11, 1941, the field and stands were seriously damaged by Luftwaffe bombing. The team had to use Manchester City's Maine Road between 1946 and 1949. When finally reopened on August 24, 1949, Old Trafford again saw United lose, this time 0:3 to Bolton Wanderers.

In the following years roof was erected above remaining sides of the stadium but it included supports within the stands, which obstructed the view to many people. In mid-1960s expansion of the stands began, first replacing the north and east stands. With terracing in front and seating behind it, this was enough to host the World Cup in 1966.

For the next 30 years a series of upgrades took place, not all as fortunate as one would expect. In 1970s it became the first stadium to get perimeter fencing to protect from crowd invasion, the kind of protection that was later removed from all British stadia. Throughout the 70s and 80s the stadium held under 60,000 people but following the Hillsborough disaster and conversion to all-seater mode, it fell to just 44,000. With brand new Stretford End built in 1994 and north stand in 1996, the stadium may have been of decent quality and sufficient to hold Euro 1996, but capacity of 56,000 was still below actual demand.

Despite varying height of all stands, Old Trafford's inner edge of the roof has remarkably remained at almost the same level for years. This incline towards the field became a signature feature of the stadium, making the north stand's third tier barely visible to some fans inside as the roof prevents parts of the crowd to see others.

The last major expansion so far took place in 2005-06, when two northern corners were filled with brand new facilities. Called the quadrants, brand new towers with 6 floors and tall cantilevered roof structure make for a more unified silhuette, while also expanding floor space and capacity to around 75,000 seats. While not enough to beat the stadium's all-time record, this safely made Manchester United the dominant British team in terms of crowds.

Nicknamed The Theatre of Dreams, the stadium was first called that by Sir Bobby Charlton.

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