London (AFP) – Manchester United are to create 300 new positions for disabled supporters at Old Trafford as part of a plan that will see the ground’s capacity shaved from 75,635 to about 73,000.
The increase in the number of places for disabled fans will involve United moving 2,600 season-ticket holders from their current positions over three years — United admitted that would be “a sacrifice” for those supporters.
United hope the structural alterations — which were warmly welcomed by the Premier League club’s disabled fans and roughly double the number of spaces available to them — will be completed by August.
“Old Trafford is a home for all United fans and these changes will help many more of our loyal disabled supporters to attend games to watch their heroes,” said United’s group managing director Richard Arnold.
“Manchester United prides itself on its work in this area for more than 25 years and will continue to ensure that it remains at the forefront of our thinking.”
Arnold added: “We know that many of the affected season-ticket holders have held their seats for decades and it will be a sacrifice to give them up.
“But we also know that the vast majority will understand and support this expansion.”
Chris Banks, secretary of the Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association, welcomed the planned changes: “I’m filled with pride that the club I’ve supported since first coming to Old Trafford as a little boy in 1957 is leading the way in increasing accessible seating to meet the standards set out in the Accessible Stadia guide.
“It’s a dream come true for me and many other disabled United fans.”