Manchester United’s next major venture beyond the playing field may involve the establishment of a cutting-edge training ground, prompted by the limitations of their current facility at Carrington.
In 2002, United relocated to Carrington, situated on former farmland near the M60 ring road. This move was initiated by the iconic former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who expressed concerns about the lack of privacy at The Cliff, the club’s primary training base since the 1930s (still utilized for certain youth operations).
While Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have developed superior elite training facilities in recent years, enhancing or redeveloping the existing Carrington site to reclaim a leading global position presents challenges. Carrington currently covers around 85 acres, but a report from the Daily Mail indicates that at least 100 acres of buildable land is deemed necessary to meet current demands. The present site is considered at full capacity, lacking adequate parking space.
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One potential option under consideration is constructing on a new site. United is eyeing locations in affluent areas of south Manchester and north Cheshire, ensuring a convenient commute for many male players. The Mail notes that United has scouted golf courses for potential purchase and transformation, citing High Legh near the exclusive village of Knutsford as an example, although talks with its current owners, American Golf, did not result in an agreement.
While no final decisions have been reached, one option is to build a new, albeit smaller, facility while retaining Carrington and The Cliff as bases for the women’s and academy teams. However, the preference is reportedly to consolidate everyone onto a single site, mirroring Manchester City’s comprehensive training operation at the Etihad Campus, adjacent to the stadium.
The funding for a new training facility, including whether Sir Jim Ratcliffe, set to oversee the club’s sporting operations with a 25% buy-in deal, would cover the costs, remains unclear. United recently concluded the construction of a state-of-the-art women’s team facility at Carrington, addressing long-standing concerns over training facilities that factored into Casey Stoney’s unexpected resignation as manager in 2021. Construction of the purpose-built facility commenced in February 2023 and opened in October of the same year.