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Mayor in talks with Manchester United's owners over future of Old Trafford

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been in discussions with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford over the future of Manchester United’s ground.

Sir Jim is the CEO of Ineos, the chemical giant which has recently bought a 25 per cent stake in the club, with Sir Dave being the company’s director of sport. In the first few weeks of the Ineos regime, there has been speculation that Old Trafford could be expanded or upgraded.

The stadium is the largest football club ground in England, with a capacity of 74,310. However, it has missed out on hosting Euro 2028 matches, with rivals Manchester City’s current 53,400-capacity Etihad Stadium getting the nod ahead of the larger venue.

The decision not to include the Red Devils’ ground was a joint decision between the club and the FA, as officials have planned to redevelop it — and wanted to avoid a situation where they had to pull out of hosting due to building work.

Now, it’s been revealed that Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has been in discussions with the new owners over its future — and says he will "stand behind the club" and "make sure it works" during his regular BBC Radio Manchester In The Hot Seat phone-in.

“To any United fans listening, I am not trying to steer it in any particular way — that’s not my job,” Mr Burnham, a lifelong Everton supporter, said. “Your club needs to decide what it wants.

“All I am saying is, we are absolutely standing behind the club in saying whatever it is they want, we will facilitate. We will be there to make sure that the club is set up for the future.

“I think there is an exciting potential here, I am talking to the club. I may well be seeing them next week.

“Sir Jim has really brought a lot of energy to the situation, Sir Dave Brailsford is a brilliant person and is the architect of British cycling success over the last couple of decades and the velodrome in Manchester — he was very much involved in the building of the velodrome and he is bringing that expertise now to Manchester United.”

Sir Jim completed the purchase of the stake on Christmas Eve, and said his decision to invest in another sporting venture — already part-owning the Mercedes Formula 1 team, the Ineos Britannia sailing team, and French football club Nice — was driven by his boyhood love of United, having been born in Failsworth, and raised in East Yorkshire.

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