Manchester United make immediate £2bn Old Trafford leaky roof decision

Manchester United have no immediate plans to fix the roofing issues that caused mass leaks at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Old Trafford failed to cope with a biblical rainstorm as the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand roof leaked and water gushed down the stands after the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Footage also showed rain streaming down inside the tunnel and in front of balconies that accommodate hospitality guests.

United have explored the feasibility of a new roof and have detailed plans in place for a possible replacement on the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand. However, club sources say it would be a multi-million-pound project with multi-year engineering work that would cause significant disruption to stadium operations. United would also incur huge operational costs.

Due to co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe's preference for a rebuild of Old Trafford on the existing site, there is no significant work planned on the roof. A full rebuild could cost around £2bn according to some estimates.

United sources said the water that gushed down from the east stand is not a leak but was a consequence of a huge volume of rain entering the siphonic roof drainage system so quickly that it caused it to overflow.

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A similar waterfall developed in the roof of the Stretford End before the Manchester derby in April 2019. In December 2021, operations director Jim Liggett dismissed the leak on the fans' forum and put it down to "the siphon system that drains surface water from the roof, not by a leak in the roof itself".

Leaks from rainfall onto press desks in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand have been reported since January 2017. A United source conceded their stadium - the biggest club stadium in Britain - suffers sporadic leaks and the roof "is showing its age".

There has been minimal work at Old Trafford since the Glazer family completed their takeover in May 2005. The only expansions - the north-west and north-east quadrants - were implemented in March 2006 but work was approved in February 2004.

Old Trafford is not among the 10 stadiums that will host European Championship matches in the UK and Ireland in 2028.

Ratcliffe has described Old Trafford as "run down" and is determined to rebuild the stadium on the existing site. Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer was invited to Old Trafford on Sunday as a guest of Manchester mayor Andy Burnham. Starmer spoke with Ratcliffe and Lord Coe, chair of the Old Trafford regeneration taskforce, before kick-off.

41mm of rain fell in the two hours after the final whistle of United's loss to Arsenal and United recorded 29mm of rainfall at Old Trafford in the whole of May 2023.

The storm also caused leaks inside the terminal at the much-maligned Manchester Airport and the nearby Victoria Warehouse.