Workers spotted on leaky Old Trafford roof amid changing rooms update for Man United vs Newcastle

Builders abseil and climb up the outside of Old Trafford on Monday morning
Builders abseil and climb up the outside of Old Trafford on Monday morning -Credit:Eamonn and James Clarke

Workers climbing up the outside of Old Trafford today have been carrying out routine maintenance work and painting the steel girders around the stadium, rather than working on any specific issues as a result of the heavy rain that engulfed the stadium on Sunday.

A significant storm that started five minutes before the end of Manchester United's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday caused leaks to appear all around the stadium once again, with videos posted to social media capturing the extent of the problem.

The Old Trafford roof is now notorious for springing a leak when it is hit with heavy rainfall and Sunday's downpour was spectacular. The groundstaff recorded 42mms of rain falling in the two hours at the peak of the storm, compared to 29mms falling in the whole of May last year.

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Water came cascading in from leaks in the roof and poured down the steps in one section of the stadium. In other areas it poured out of drainpipes to create waterfalls from the roof.

On Monday morning workers were spotted abseiling down the front of the stadium from the forecourt while others climbed ladders towards the roof, but club officials said they were carrying out routine work that had always been scheduled for Monday rather than attending to any specific issues from Sunday.

The leaks at Old Trafford came on a day when Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Andy Burnham and Lord Coe hosted Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and pushed the case for public funding as part of a redevelopment of the Trafford Park area, with a new stadium at the centre of it.

Sky Sports' post-match coverage of the game included dramatic footage of the water pouring into the stadium. United officials admitted that "some parts of the stadium struggled to cope" with the exceptional level of rain and inside the ground the clean-up operation was underway on Sunday and continued on Monday, with Newcastle United visiting Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The stadium was open as normal on Monday and the first museum and tour group entered at 10am. More than 700 fans have visited the ground throughout the day.

With the clean-up now complete - including in the away dressing room - the leaks will have no impact on the game with Newcastle this week.

In February, Ratcliffe declared his preference to rebuild Old Trafford and said: “In an ideal world, I think it’s a no-brainer, a stadium of the north, which would be a world-class stadium where England could play and you could have the FA Cup final and it’s not all centred around the south of England.

"So in an ideal world, absolutely, that’s where I would be, but you’ve got to be practical about life. In broad terms, a refurb is one [billion] and a new stadium — both of these would include the campus so, you know, the museum’s c**p and the shop is too small and you’d have the Xbox thing for entertaining the fans. So in other words, the fans could come there and do some stuff. So include the campus in both cases, in very simple terms you are talking about one versus two [billion].

“I think the refurb would take longer than the new one because it’s more complicated because obviously you’re building and you have to build over a main railway line which is quite complicated and expensive.”