November 4, 2003

Lancashire consider move away from Old Trafford

Wisden Cricinfo staff



Old Trafford: time for lights out?
© Getty Images

Lancashire are considering a move away from Old Trafford after 138 years, to a purpose-built stadium on the east side of Manchester.

Old Trafford first hosted a Test in 1884, even before Lord's, and is one of the country's oldest grounds. But time has taken its toll. The stadium has become increasingly run down, and is constantly overshadowed by the nearby football ground, the home of all-conquering Manchester United. There are financial problems as well: attendances for major games have been dwindling, and as a result, Lancashire have held rock concerts there to increase revenue - only for local residents to complain about the noise.

The proposed new site would be next to the 2002 Commonwealth Games stadium, where Manchester City now play, and close to the velodrome and national squash centre. It would also seat 30,000 - a 30% increase on Old Trafford's current capacity.

A club statement released today said that Lancashire, together with the council, will be "working jointly to determine whether such a move would be a viable option for the club not just financially but in terms of providing a venue that will attract prestige competitions, maintain Manchester as a venue for international cricket and enhance attendance and membership in a modern, state-of-the-art stadium."

But they added: "No decisions can or will be taken on this issue without the support and approval of the club's members."

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