Former Manchester United academy player, Federico Macheda, has pleaded with INEOS not to bulldoze Old Trafford.
This is according to an interview the player gave with The Daily Mail.
The future of Old Trafford has been up for debate for a while now, but rumours have intensified ever since INEOS’ part ownership bid was announced as official in December.
Macheda gave his thoughts on the matter in an interview with The Mail claiming, “I would be against destroying the stadium and building it somewhere else. I believe the structure and the history of the place should stay there, and then make some improvements”.
“Even if you build next to it — and I’m sure they would make it an amazing stadium — it’s a place where all the fans enjoyed great games and memories. The first day I signed for Manchester United when I was a kid, walking inside the stadium gave me a special feeling. I’d never seen something like it. It’s magical”.
The Rome-born attacker also went on to explain his attachment to the stadium, recalling that it was where he scored that iconic goal against Aston Villa in 2009.
“It’s not only the place where I scored the goal, it’s home for everybody who supports United. When I went back, it was the same. Obviously, it needs to be upgraded but the history of this club is also this stadium, Old Trafford”.
The now 32 year old striker claims that despite playing in Italy, Greece and Turkey, he has never experienced a noise like he did that fateful Spring afternoon versus Aston Villa in 2009, when he scored a last minute winner to keep United’s stumbling title defence on track, which was subsequently successful.
Nobody seriously contends that the stadium does not need upgrading but the crux of the issue is whether it should be redeveloped or knocked down and new arena built right beside it, as there is plenty of space to do so.
Chris Lee, the chief architect in Manchester United’s stadium redevelopment project, has already called on Sir Jim Ratcliffe to tear down Old Trafford.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has also weighed in by claiming that only a total rebuild will satisfy all match going fans as a redevelopment will only improve the experience of a rich few.
This is the big problem INEOS face. While most experts seem to think Old Trafford needs a rebuild, there will be the nostalgia from fans and players alike who will struggle to part with the famous old Theatre of Dreams, even if it is what is right for the club’s long-term future.