Old Trafford: Manchester United FC

Manchester United Football Club, Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester, M16 0RA, England
Debu55y / Bigstock.com

Old Trafford is one of the most famous stadiums in the world thanks to the success the club has achieved over the last 30 years or so. It is a traditional, four-sided stadium with the stands close to the pitch.

Built in 1909 and opened officially in 1910, Old Trafford has always played host to Manchester United Football Club. It is the largest club stadium in the United Kingdom, second only to Wembley in terms of capacity.

Owing to Manchester United being one of the most successful clubs in the country, the stadium also has a museum and offers tours. You can take advantage of hospitality on match days as well as corporate hosting and private hire at other times.

The impressive nature of the stadium means that it is worth a visit if you are ever in Manchester, perhaps combined with a visit to the home of the club’s bitter city rivals Manchester City’s ground, The Etihad.

Stats

Old Trafford Stats
Year Opened1910
Capacity75,635
Average Attendance75,530
Record Attendance76,962 (Wolves vs Grimsby Town (1939))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
NicknameThe Theatre Of Dreams
OwnerManchester United
Clubs HostedManchester United
First FixtureUnited v Liverpool (19/02/1910)
Manchester United Stats
Year Founded1902
NicknameThe Red Devils
Club MascotFred The Red
RivalsLiverpool, Manchester City, Nottingham Forrest, Chelsea
KitRed, White and Black (Home) / White and Black (Away) / Black (Third)
Training GroundAon Training Complex
Shirt SponsorChevrolet
Team OwnerManchester United plc
Record GoalscorerWayne Rooney (250)
Record AppearancesRyan Giggs (963)

Old Trafford Photos

Old Trafford Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By PeeJay2K3 (en:Image:OldTraffordPlan.PNG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Old Trafford is a large stadium with stands on all four sides and additional seating areas in the corners of the ground. The best views can probably be found in the South Stand, but the best stand to sit in for atmosphere purposes is the West Stand, home of United’s more hard-core fans.

  • The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand - This is the largest of the four stands, standing three tiers high and able to host around 26,000 supporters. It is also the home of some executive boxes and hospitality suites. The stand is named after Manchester United’s long serving manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. There are also two corner stands that make up part of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, the North West Quadrant and The North East Quadrant.
  • The South Stand - Home to most of the ground’s executive suites and often the place that hosts any VIP guests to the stadium, the South Stand is single tiered and is also the location of the television cameras. The capacity of this stand is just over 9,400.
  • The West Stand - Formerly known as The Stratford End and host to the most loyal Manchester United fans, the West Stand is a double tiered structure that can play host to just over 14,000 fans.
  • The East Stand - This stand has two tiers and hosts around 13,300 people. It is the stand that away supporters are placed in and is also the home of the club’s disabled supporters. The East Stand has a tinted glass façade, behind which the club's administrative centre is located.

Manchester United Ticket Prices

Ticket prices for games at Old Trafford depend entirely on which competition you are hoping to see. Major European games in competitions like the Champion’s League will likely set you back more money than going to see a League Cup match, for example.

Ticket prices depend on whether you’re looking for an adult, a concession or a younger supporter. Manchester United consider concession prices for over 65 year olds and 16-17 year olds, whilst younger supporters are aged 18-20. Supporters using wheelchairs, visually impaired supporters and their respective personal assistants are admitted free of charge. Ambulatory disabled supporters are charged at the standard admission price and their personal assistants will be admitted free of charge.

League and Domestic Cup Games

  • £31 - £53 / £17 - £23

Champion’s League Games

  • £31 - £53 / £17 - £23

How To Get Manchester United Tickets

You can find out about ticket availability on the Manchester United website, with the club often selling out their ticket allocation for home games. You can become an Official Member of Manchester United, allowing you exclusive access to match tickets with £5 off the price. For the bigger matches against teams like Manchester City and Liverpool the club holds a ballot for Members to decide who will get the tickets.

It is recommended that you do not buy tickets from unsolicited touts outside the stadium. This is directly against the club’s policy and the tickets are often fraudulent. Even if the game is sold out then you might still be able to buy tickets officially through third parties.

Getting To Old Trafford

Swap Start/End

The access to Old Trafford is excellent, with train, bus and car journeys all being very easy to do.

Train - One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get to Old Trafford is by train or Metrolink from Manchester Piccadilly, the city’s main train station. The club has its own train station right next to the ground as well as Metrolink stations a short walk away. Lancashire CCC stop, Pomona and Exchange Quays are all quite close to the ground, but they’ll take longer to reach than the train that takes around 10 minutes. All day tickets for unlimited journeys on the Metrolink cost about £5.

Bus - Manchester Coach station is about three miles away from the ground, so you’re unlikely to want to get the bus to Manchester if you’re going to the game. It’s only a short walk to Piccadilly Gardens, however, and from there you can get the 255, the 256 or the 263 to near to Old Trafford. The journey takes around 15 to 20 minutes depending on how bad the traffic is.

Car - If you’re coming from the South then you’ll want to leave the M6 at J19 and take the A556 onto the A56. From the North you’ll exit the M6 at J30 and head onto the M61 before joining the M60. Leave the M60 at J9 and follow the A5081. If you’re coming from the West then stay on the M56 until it ends and get onto the M60 (W&N). Leave the M60 at J7 and get onto the A56 until you see the ground. You won’t be able to get too close to the ground on match days, mind.

By Air - Manchester United’s ground is about 8 miles away from Manchester Airport, so the easiest way to get to the stadium from there is by taxi. That will set you back around £30, so if you’d rather keep your cost down then you can jump the Metrolink to Trafford Bar. This is about a 10 minute walk from the ground, but you can swap to another tram that will take you to Old Trafford, but expect it to be busy.

Taxi - A taxi from the centre of Manchester to Old Trafford will cost about £15 and should take about 20 minutes on a match day.

Parking Near Old Trafford

Owing to the fact that Old Trafford is quite close to Salford Quays, home of the BBC and ITV’s Northern branches, there are numerous parking options near to the ground. You can park at Lancashire CCC for about £10, at the Lowry Mall shopping centre in Salford Quays, which is a 10 minute or so walk from the stadium, for around £3.50. You can also explore the possibility of parking in places like Altrincham and then getting the tram to Old Trafford from there.

There are also plenty of small, private car parks near to the stadium and on street parking, should you wish to take advantage of that. Obviously we recommend that you follow good practice and don’t leave any valuables on display in the car.

Useful Resources

Old Trafford Hotels

Old Trafford Lodge - About £79 per night

Lancashire County Cricket Club, Brian Statham Way
5 minutes walk away from Old Trafford and close to other amenities like the Trafford Centre and the Imperial War Museum. You can upgrade to an executive room and enjoy a view of the cricket pitch! More details.

Hotel Football Old Trafford - £120 per night

99 Sir Matt Busby Way
A stone’s throw from Old Trafford and set up by a consortium including Gary Neville, Hotel Football offers plasma TVs in the rooms, a restaurant and bar and a laundry service. More details.

Ramada Manchester Salford Quays - £200 per night

17 Trafford Road, Salford
Less than a mile from Old Trafford, the Ramada has everything you’d expect from a top end hotel including a restaurant, bar and lounge areas. You can get breakfast, have your laundry done or enjoy watching things on an LCD TV. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Old Trafford

Sam Platts

Trafford Park Warehouse, Trafford Wharf Road
This is one of the more partizan pubs near to Old Trafford, with away fans very much told to keep their distance. Expect loud singing, lots of drinking and about a 5 minute walk to the ground.

The Tollgate

Seymour Grove, Old Trafford
About 10 minutes walk from Old Trafford and directly opposite Trafford Bar Metrolink station, The Tollgate does traditional pub food and a BBQ on most matchdays.

The Green Sports Bar

Bridge House, Ducie Street
Located a minute away from Piccadilly train station, this Sports bar isn’t ideally located for Old Trafford but it’s about the distance away you’re looking at if you want to get a few pints in before the game as an away supporter.

Facilities

As a modern stadium for one of the top clubs in the country, Old Trafford has all of the facilities that you would expect. There are bars and food venues in all of the stands, places to buy your match day programmes and even locations for you to place a bet before and during the game.

Venture to Old Trafford’s East Stand and you’ll discover the club’s Megastore. Reported to have at least 800 product lines available for sale inside, the Megastore is where you’ll go if you want to pick up souvenirs like replica shirts or club scarves.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.50
  • Pie: 3.10

Hospitality

By André Zahn (André Zahn (User:Nic/de:Benutzer:Nic)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons

Old Trafford plays host to numerous hospitality options including but not limited to executive boxes, individual dining and more. There are also a number of pre and post match lounges in which you can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. How much you’ll have to pay for your hospitality experience depends on the level of hospitality you’d like to partake in and the match you are hoping to see.

Executive Boxes - There are a myriad of executive box options at Old Trafford, with the club hoping to appeal to both individuals who like to enjoy a certain standard of living as well as companies that are hoping to impress clients at the venue. These experiences will include meals, drinks and a panoramic view of the pitch.

Museum - This includes the ability to wander around the museum, handle memorabilia from the club’s illustrious past, enjoy hot and cold buffets as well as drinks, a programme, a gift and a Q & A with a former player. You’ll then get a seat in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand for the match itself.

Red Cafe - Available in both pre and post match ticket variations, the Red Cafe also features a Q & A with a former player. You’ll also get a three course meal, champagne on arrival, a free bar, a programme and a gift. Enjoy all of that before taking your seat in the Alex Ferguson Stand to watch the game. Should you wish you to take advantage of this post-match then you’ll experience all of that after the game, though the size of the meal and the free bar will depend upon the match you’re watching.

The Lancashire Package - This is an off-site match day experience and takes place at the Lancashire County Cricket Club, a short walk from Old Trafford itself. If you take advantage of this package then you’ll receive a champagne reception, a three course meal and complimentary bar. You’ll also get a Q & A from a former player, a programme and a gift. You’ll have access to the LCCC both before and after the match with your meal being served at different times depending on the kick of time of the match you’re attending.

The Europa Suite - With padded stadium seats in the South Stand, a champagne arrival, four course meal and complimentary bar, the Europa Suite is the ultimate in match day experiences. As with the other packages, you’ll have a Q & A with a former United player, a programme and a gift here. You’ll also get to witness the Man Of The Match presentation. The same package is available in the North West Quadrant Europa Suite, too.

Private Hire

Old Trafford is available for numerous private hire reasons, including weddings, conferences and exhibitions.

The club has their own wing, dedicated specifically to dealing with private functions, called United Events. You can use the club’s suites, conference rooms and meeting rooms to host your event.

The club can let you use a room styled like a boardroom, give you a classroom layout, set up as though for a lunch or dinner or a drinks reception and it can also do a mix of all of those. For larger conferences the Manchester Suite and International Suite are both available and can cater for up to 1100 people.

Old Trafford is licensed for wedding ceremonies and you can have access to a whole host of suites for the occasion, with at least two over looking the pitch itself. You can also use Old Trafford to host your prom, Christmas party, grand ball or dinner dance.

Stadium Tours & Museum

The stadium’s museum and tour centre can be found at the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. The museum is open 7 days a week from 9.30 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon apart from on match days and school holidays. Tours last for around and hour and twenty minutes and the last one starts at 4.30pm.

Tours run every ten minutes except for on match days themselves as well as the day before European games. As tickets for the tour also include tickets for the museum, you’re advised to arrive about an hour and a half before the tour you’re booked on is due to leave. If you’re not interested in the tour but are keen to have a look around the museum then you can purchase museum only tickets.

There is good disabled access for the tour and you can also take pictures. The club also operates occasional Unique Tours that are hosted by former club Legends. You’ll also get a certificate to prove you’ve done the tour!

Museum and Tour - Tickets to do both the stadium tour and look around the museum are different priced depending on your personal situation. Adults will be charged £18 whilst junior and concession tickets cost £12. Families of four can do the tour and museum for £54 and educational visits cost from £6 per person. Adult groups and students both pay the same price of £16 and junior or concession grounds will pay £10.50 per person. If you are an Official Member then you’ll pay £9 if you’re an adult and £6 if you’re a junior or concession.

Museum Only - If you’re not too bothered about the tour then you’ll be able to look around the museum alone for £11 if you’re an adult, £8.50 if you’re a junior or concession, £7.50 if you’re part of a junior or concession group and £10 if you’re part of an adult group or you’re a student. Families of four can enter the museum alone for £36.

Tickets for the tour are available online or from the club directly. There are also some different types of offers, such as a leisure cruise plus tour, that you can purchase from the club and selected third parties.

About Manchester United

United Trilogy (Best/Law/Charlton) - By Bernt Rostad from Oslo, Norway (The United Trinity) [CC BY 2.0 or CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Manchester United are the second most successful English football club in the history of the game. Originally founded as Newton Heath FC in 1878, they changed their name in 1902 before moving into their newly built stadium in 1910.

With a trophy haul including 20 league titles, 12 FA Cups and 5 League Cups as well as 3 European Cups and 1 Europa League win, the club is the envy of most teams in the UK. In 1999 they became the first club to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.

The club was the world’s third most valuable in 2015, valued as it was at $1.98 billion. The majority of the club’s value is thanks to their global success, predominantly owed to Sir Alex Ferguson. United have also had their fair share of tragedy, with everyone associated with Manchester United taking a moment to remember the lives lost in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958.

United have had a number of iconic players in their team over the years, including the enigmatic playboy character of George Best, the French philosopher Eric Cantona and England’s top scoring striker Wayne Rooney. The club’s highest scorer is Wayne Rooney who broke Booby Charlton's record when he netted for the 250th time in the 2016-2017 season. Ryan Giggs is the appearance record holder - he made 963 appearances for the Red Devils.

Old Trafford History

Old Trafford 1992 - By my own picture (Øyvind Vik) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Work began on Old Trafford in 1909 and it opened officially on the 19th of February 1910. The first game played at the ground was a friendly match between Manchester United and their now fierce rivals Liverpool - a match that United lost 4-3.

During the Second World War Old Trafford was used as a depot by the British military, making it the subject of German bombing raids. One such raid on the 11th March 1941 destroyed much of the ground meaning it needed to be rebuilt. It was re-opened without a roof in 1949.

After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 a decision was made to make all top-flight stadiums all-seater venues. In 1995 the North Stand was demolished and re-built and the stadium was extended again in 2006 with the addition of second tiers to both the north-east and north-west quadrants of the stadium.

Old Trafford isn’t only used for football matches. It is sometimes used as a location for both rugby league and rugby union matches, with the Super League grand final taking place there every year. If the UK ever plays host to major sporting attractions, such as The Euros, World Cup or Rugby World Cups, Old Trafford is one of the main venues asked to host certain matches.

The stadium has also seen its fair share of rock concerts with names as famous as Status Quo, Rod Stewart and Bruce Springsteen using the venue for live events.

Future Developments

Despite being the largest club football stadium in the UK, Manchester United haven’t ruled out extending the capacity of the stadium further. The likelihood is that they will find a way to develop the South Stand - the only part of the stadium that remains single tiered.

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