Manchester United’s owners, The Glazers, aren’t really viewed in a positive light by the fans and supporters of the Red Devils.
One thing they’ve said they’d never do is rename Old Trafford in some sort of sponsorship deal that’d net them big bucks – if that happened, I suspect the uproar surrounding the red half of Manchester would only increase.
Well, according to Gary Neville, selling the naming rights to Old Trafford is something he’d do if he were in charge – although it sounds rather dumb on the surface, it does make sense when you delve deeper…
“The Glazer family [Manchester United owners], and to be fair, they’ve said it for correct reasons, have said that they’ll never put naming rights on Old Trafford, the brand of Old Trafford,” Neville told Stan Collymore’s podcast, The Last Word.
“I would sell the naming rights to Old Trafford if I was at Manchester United for £60, £70, £80 million-a-year. On the understanding that all of the money generated – £800m over 10 years – would mean that the whole of the Stretford end would be £10 or £12 to get in, and a proportion of those tickets would go to young people.”
“It’s the first time I’ve made that suggestion, but I’ve thought it for many, many years.”
“You would consult with the fans, you’ve sold sponsorships in every other area of the club. Old Trafford is an iconic stadium in name. I’ll never change calling it Old Trafford. ‘But for the sake of it, let’s say you sponsor it for £80 million-a-year, and you call it “Stan Collymore’s Old Trafford” or the “Jamie Carragher Arena” it would subsidise ticket prices for 10 years and it would be wonderful.”
“It would allow the communities of Stretford, Salford, Broughton, of Ordsall, to get into Old Trafford for the price of a Costa Coffee.”
Though the stadium obviously wouldn’t be renamed the ‘Jamie Carragher Arena’, you can see the logic behind it if the money was put back into the club in one way, shape or form. Can you imagine how much good publicity the Reds would get if they took the naming rights and made tickets cheaper for the younger generation? It’d be a real step in the right direction.
At the end of the day, United is a business and eventually, money talks. If they do sell the naming rights I’d prefer that money to go back into the fans rather than into the owner’s pockets…
I’m sure that it wouldn’t go down well initially, but something good can come of this if done correctly. I genuinely think that Neville could be onto something good here – though United should tread carefully if they ever think about going through with it.