74,879 (all seated)
Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester M16 0RA
0161 868 8000
116 x 76 yards
The Red Devils
Red, White and Black
Old Trafford has always been a special place, as it was one of the few grounds where the stands enveloped the corners. Although more stadiums are now also totally enclosed, Old Trafford’s sheer size still makes it a bewildering sight. It has been steadily expanded over the last couple of decades raising its capacity to a staggering 74,879, making it the largest club ground in Britain.
Both ends, which look almost identical, are large two-tiered stands, which were originally built in the early 1990s and had an additional tier added at the turn of the millennium. Each is quite steep, with a large lower tier and smaller upper tier.
Sir Alex Ferguson Stand
The three-tiered Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, opened in 1996, at one side of the ground, is the largest capacity stand of any league ground in England. It has 25,500 seats. The corners to each side of this stand are also filled with seating and extend around to meet both ends.
Sir Bobby Charlton Stand
These re-developed stands dwarf the older Sir Bobby Charlton Stand opposite. This stand (part of which dates back to 1910) is single tiered, with a television gantry suspended below its roof. All the stands have a row of executive boxes at the back of the lower tier. In April 2016 the Main (South) Stand was renamed the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand.
The ground looks a little imbalanced with the smaller Sir Bobby Charlton Stand looking somewhat out of place with its larger newer neighbours. However, in my opinion, the best views of the ground are from the front of this stand and from the away section, as you look out upon the three newer, larger sides. Still, if this Main Stand was to be re-developed in the same manner as the others, then the ground would possibly be the envy of Europe.
Unusual aspects of the ground include the raised pitch, and that the teams enter the field from the corner of the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand. Outside the ground is the Sir Matt Busby Statue fronting the impressive green glassed East Stand facade, whilst above the entrance to the Club Museum outside the North Stand is a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson. There is also a clock and plaque in remembrance of the Munich disaster. Across Sir Matt Busby Way is the United Trinity Statue of three of the 1968 European Cup winning team; George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton (now Sir).
The latest addition to the area around Old Trafford is the Jimmy Murphy statue, in honour of the ‘man who saved United’ in the wake of Munich. You can see this statue at the back of the Stretford End.
The Manchester United ownership of the Glazers is a massive bone of contention amongst United support with their lack of investment – or at least their openness to milking finances out of the club in the form of dividends – a major issue. One aspect that regular matchday going fans have is the state of Old Trafford with firm belief it’s now past its best. The question marks over the long term state of United’s ownership puts any plans to actually invest in the stadium – in a big way at least – on hold.
That being said, initial steps have been drawn up. Early in 2023, the Manchester United stadium ‘project’ was handed to a couple of major players in the sporting area field – specifically Populous and Legends International. They’ve presented the Old Trafford hierarchy with a couple of different scenarios as to how they can modernise their home.
One option is to redevelop the existing home whilst the other is a brand new build. Both come with huge cost implications whilst there is then a debate to be had as to what opportunity offers the best commercial opportunity. Either way, the changes aren’t imminent!
What is the away section at Old Trafford?
Away supporters are normally located in one corner of the ground, taking up part of the East and Sir Bobby Charlton Stands.
The views from the away sections are excellent and up to 3,000 away supporters can be accommodated. Entrance into the stadium is gained by first being searched by a steward and then placing your ticket into an electronic barcode reader. It is then up a few flights of rather steep stairs to the concourse.
What food is available at Old Trafford?
Although the concourse looks a little cramped, it is adequate and there seems to be enough food and drinks outlets that the queues never seem to get too long. These sell a range of pies; Meat & Potato, Steak, Chicken Balti, a ‘United’ Pie (which is Steak and Chilli) and Spicy Potato & Cauliflower. In addition, there is also a ‘Limited Edition’ pie which varies from match to match. Other refreshments on offer include; Rollover Hot Dogs, Cheese & Onion Pasties, Cheese & Tomato Pizza Twists and Pepperoni Pizza Twists.
At the far end of the concourse is a large flat screen television showing Sky Sports. I don’t know whether it is the American influence at Old Trafford, but I noticed on my last visit that after buying food or drink, that the attendant would always say; ‘Enjoy the game’ on giving back your change.
Can you pay by card for food and drink? Yes
The away fans section is set back from the pitch as there is a disabled area to its front. The leg room between rows is a little tight, as well as the space between the seats themselves. This results in most away fans standing throughout the game. The good thing though, is that the away fans can really make some noise from this part of the stadium.
As you probably know Old Trafford is billed as the ‘Theatre Of Dreams’ and is certainly one of the best grounds in the country. However, if you have never been there before, be prepared to be a little disappointed, as the reality will probably not meet your pre-conceived expectations. Getting tickets for Man Utd home games is pretty difficult even if you are a member of the club, so make sure you have tickets before you travel.
What size bag can I take into Old Trafford?
Security Notice – Taking Bags Into Old Trafford
The Club are quite strict about the size of bag that can be taken into Old Trafford. Anything bigger than a handbag sized (max 20cm x 15cm x 5cm) bag, has to be checked into storage for the duration of the game. The Club charge £5 (to be donated to the Manchester United Charitable Foundation) for the storage.
As you would expect the pubs nearest the ground generally won’t let you in if you are wearing away colours. Away fans are tending to head for Salford Quays which is around a mile away from Old Trafford. Luke Burns a visiting Birmingham City informs me: “The Lime Bar in Salford Quays, has good beer, quick service and a good mix of home and away supporters.” Also in Salford Quays is the Matchstick Man pub, which is part of the Hungry Horse chain and also serves visiting fans. There is also an outside bar that is open on matchdays at the nearby Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
Drinking in Manchester City Centre pre-match
Alternatively, it is probably best to drink in the Manchester City Centre or along one of the stops on the Metrolink, such as Altrincham, where there are some good real ale pubs to be found such as the Jack in the Box and Costellos. Andy Syborn adds “away fans are okay to drink in the Bridge at Sale. It is two stops from Old Trafford on the Metro (about eight minutes journey time).”
Alternatively, alcohol is normally served within the ground although for some high profile games the club opt not to sell any.
North Road and Bank Street; there are two stadium names you don’t instantly associate with Manchester United. They were, however, the first two homes of the Red Devils with Old Trafford not becoming their home stadium until 1910; at that time the £90k investment made saw the architect Archibald Leitch create a 77,000 capacity monster.
The record attendance, which pushed to being very close to 77k, came in 1939 and then World War Two came along and, come the end, people have seen a lot of the ground destroyed through bomb strikes. Needless to say, those issues were rectified! At this point the Old Trafford capacity stood at 55k. Through until the nineties that capacity remained untouched with alterations to the Manchester United ground being things like the addition of floodlights, roofing and, in the late eighties, a lighting innovation that seems the pitch lit from a series of spotlights located on the front of the footing.
The first change of the nineties dropped Old Trafford down to a 44k capacity; that was due to law changes off the back of the Taylor report. It didn’t take long for things to rebound to the 55k mark though; in 1995 work was undertaken on the North Stand to add those 11k seats back in. In 1999 the two stands running down the touchlines had second tiers added to them to boost the capacity further before a couple of corner stands got similar treatment in the mid-2000s. The result? A capacity of circa 76k.
From the South
Leave the M6 at Junction 19 and follow the A556 towards Altrincham. At the junction with the M56 take the A56 towards Altrincham. Keep on the A56 for six miles and then you will come to see Sir Matt Busby Way on your left. The ground is half a mile down this road on your left, although on matchdays this road may well be closed to traffic.
From the North
Leave the M6 at Junction 30 and take the M61 towards Bolton. At the end of the M61, join the M60. Leave the M60 at Junction 9 and follow the A5081 towards Manchester. After about two miles you will reach Sir Matt Busby Way on your right for the ground.
From The West:
Follow M56 until its end and then take the M60 (W&N) as for Trafford Centre. At Junction 7 leave M60 and take the A56 towards Stretford. Stay on the A56 for 2.1 miles then you will come to see Sir Matt Busby Way on your left. The ground is half a mile down this road on your left, although on matchdays this road may be closed to traffic. Thanks to Brian Griffiths for providing these directions.
Post Code for SAT NAV: M16 0RA
Where to park for Man United games?
There are lots of small private car parks near to the ground, otherwise, it is street parking. Peter Bennett suggests parking at Old Trafford Cricket Ground (cost £10). Try to arrive early (before 1pm) as if you arrive later, it takes ages leaving the car park after the game.
Gareth Hawker adds: “I parked at the Salford Quays Lowry Outlet Mall (M50 3AH), a ten minute walk away from the stadium, the cost of which was £4, for four hours. There was virtually no traffic on leaving, and the road takes you straight onto the M601 which joins up with the M62/M6. This avoids the congestion of the traffic heading South.”
There is also the option of renting a private driveway near Old Trafford via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Alternative parking options at Old Trafford
Park in Altrincham town centre and take the Metrolink to the ground (20 minutes). Some pubs such as the Bricklayers Arms in Altrincham town centre, will allow parking for the afternoon, as long as you enjoy a pre-match drink (they also do good food). Kevin Dixon-Jackson adds: “You can get the Metrolink to Old Trafford from Ladywell Halt, in Eccles, where there is also free secure parking. It is about a 15 minute journey on the tram and costs £1.20 return. You can reach Eccles from the M60 (take the Carrington spur J8 A6144(M)) or M602 Motorway (leave at the first junction for Eccles, turn right, and right again at the lights, onto Eccles New Road. Secure parking is immediately on your right). You are only 200 yards away from the Drinking Capital which is Eccles town centre!”
Key Tip For Parking & Getting Away After The Game:
Going along the A56, as the stadium emerges in front of you, follow the signs for Old Trafford Cricket Ground, which means that you will bear off the A56 to the right. At the end of the park on your left and before you reach the Cricket Ground, turn right into Great Stone Road. Just over the hill you will see a pub called the Quadrant, which is next door to a chip shop. There is plenty of street parking in this area, up to around 1.15-1.30pm. You are only a ten minute walk away from the ground. However, the Quadrant pub does not admit away fans (there are bouncers on the door checking tickets). After the game, head away from Old Trafford (keeping the Quadrant pub on your left) along the side streets. You will reach the A5145 (Edge Lane). Turn right down here and you will eventually join up again with the motorway and avoid all those traffic jams on the A56.
Licensed Bar On Board.
30 minutes journey time to Old Trafford.
Departure time 1 hour before kick off.
Return 20 minutes after the final whistle.
In operation for all Manchester United home games.
Avoid the hassles of driving and parking around Old Trafford or going by public transport.
For more details or to book online visit the Manchester River Cruises website.
Manchester Coach Station is located three miles away from Old Trafford. However, it is only a few minutes walk away from Piccadilly Railway Station where a train or metro can be caught up to the ground or Piccadilly Gardens where buses can be located. As you come out of the main coach station entrance turn right along Chorlton Street. At the bottom of Chorlton street turn left into Aytoun Street. Proceed along this road and then turn right into Auburn Street. At the crossroads with London Road, you can see the entrance to the station over on on the right. If you continue past the station and at the next junction turn left, then you are in Piccadilly Gardens where there is a large bus terminus. Although published journey times are around 20 minutes, these can increase quite a lot closer to kick off time, due to the amount of traffic around Old Trafford (just ask the Manchester United Team Bus driver!). So ensure that you leave in good time for the game.
Buses From Piccadilly Gardens
Adam Hodson informs me; “From Piccadilly Gardens you can get the Stagecoach Manchester Buses 255, 256 or Arriva North West No 263. These services all run down the A56 Chester Road near to Old Trafford. Journey time (depending on traffic) is around 15-20 minutes.” They can be caught from Stop L (255, 256) or Stop K (263) in Piccadilly Gardens.
Manchester Airport is located eight miles away from Old Trafford. You can either get a taxi from the airport (cost around £30) or catch one of the regular metrolink trams from the Airport to Trafford Bar, which is around a ten minute walk away from Old Trafford. You can change at Trafford Bar for another tram to Old Trafford, but unless you are there early or on a non-matchday these are already likely to be pretty full. If you buy a one day (off peak weakens and after 9.30am on weekdays) Adult travelcard, which gives you unlimited tram journeys for that day, then this will cost £5.
Securing tickets to Old Trafford is not the easiest thing to do owing to how heavily in demand they are. That sees a lot of fans stray from the official route of purchase, however, core pricing through the Manchester United ticketing website generally tops out around the £70 mark for non-VIP and hospitality seating.
You can also book your tickets with SeatPick.
- Official Programme: £3.50
- Red Issue (now defunct): £3
- United We Stand: £3
- Red News Fanzine: £3
StubHub (who are owned by Ebay) have a number of Corporate Tickets available for Manchester United matches played at Old Trafford. There are different categories of corporate tickets, but most allow access to a private suite, include padded seating and some also include a meal with wine. As these tickets are in Corporate Hospitality areas, smart casual wear is required and no team colours are allowed to be worn. Although these tickets are higher priced than normal match tickets, they are ideal for a celebration event such as birthday present, all those visiting from overseas.
Check their current availability of Manchester United FC Tickets.
Man Utd vs Liverpool rivalry
There is no love lost between these two clubs. Manchester United’s stadium is always a special place to be when Liverpool visit but the derby isn’t all about making sure Liverpool stay off “their ******* perch”. Just generally, the two cities don’t exactly see eye to eye with the development of the Manchester Ship Canal a big part of that.
Way back, Liverpool thrived on being the port city. The Manchester Ship Canal allowed boats to bypass Liverpool and head direct to Manchester. It was seen as a double whammy for Liverpool; they’d lost a large element of their trade from the ships but their neighbouring city, Manchester, was getting money poured into it and thriving as an economic centre. It’s never been forgotten; nor will it be whilst players keep ramming it down the fans’ throats – we don’t blame him either.
Man Utd vs Man City rivalry
Manchester is only home to two major football clubs so it’s little surprise that there is some tension between them. There always has been but it’s peaked and fallen through the years as life on the pitch has looked very different for the clubs; that’s in both directions at various points too. Denis Law – a United legend – arguably gave United their lowest moment in the fixture as he scored as a Man City player to all but relegate United. Sir Alex Ferguson and the Class of 92, however, gave Man United some rather good times with a period of absolute dominance. Recently City have bitten back but will they ever be United? That’s the question.
Man Utd vs Leeds rivalry
It would be fair to say that, at least historically, neither Manchester United or Leeds have been universally loved. Nor have they loved each other. Their main gripe with one another actually started away from football with the War of the Roses. Relatively close proximity, good teams, large hooligan factions and player transfers have all helped to intensify things further over the years too though.
For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website.
When you’re Manchester United it’s obvious that there will be a huge demand for stadium and museum tours at Old Trafford. There are tours taking place nearly every day – although they sell out pretty damn quickly too.
Using the official club website is the best way to secure your place whilst costs are as follows:
- Adult – £27
- Under 16 – £15
- Over 65s – £15
- Under 5s – Free
You can add a meal option to your tour for £10.
Mounted up on a wall outside the South East corner of the stadium is a Memorial to the players and officials of the Club, who lost their lives as a result of the Munich Air Disaster in 1958.
Also nearby is the ‘Munich Clock’ which shows the current time
and not the time that the disaster took place.
Behind the East Stand is the impressive looking United Trinity Statue. Unveiled in 2008 in shows United’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. These players were part of the club’s first European Cup success in 1968.
Outside and perched up on the stand named after him is the Sir Alex Ferguson Statue
A Closer Look
Modern All Seated Attendance Record
76,098 v Blackburn Rovers
Premier League, March 31st, 2007.
Stadium Record Attendance For a Football Match
76,962 – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Grimsby Town
FA Cup Semi Final, March 25th, 1939.
2021-2022: 72,922 (Premier League)
2020-2021: N/A (Covid-19)
2019-2020: 73,393 (Premier League)
2018-2019: 74,498 (Premier League)
2017-2018: 74,976 (Premier League)
The song most commonly associated with Manchester United is ‘Glory, Glory, Man United’.
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I’ll update the guide.
Special Thanks to:
Owen Pavey for providing the ground layout diagram
Doug Bagley for providing a photo of the Unity Trinity Statue
Gerold Rachlinger for providing a photo of the Unity Trinity
Statue Haydn Gleed for providing the YouTube video of Old Trafford
The Old Trafford Museum and Stadium Tour video was produced by Olehenri and made publicly available for distribution via YouTube.
The Awaydays Old Trafford video was produced by TheUglyInside and made publicly available via YouTube.