Gary Neville has admitted that he would sell the naming rights to Old Trafford if he was in charge of Manchester United.
This may sound like pure sacrilege but Neville has eloquently explained why such a move would have the potential to benefit United supporters.
The former Man Utd captain believes that selling Old Trafford’s naming rights could generate as much as £80 million a year - or £800 million over a 10-year period - and this, in turn, could lead to cheaper ticket prices in the club’s famous Stretford End.
“The Glazer family, 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 said on Stan Collymore’s new 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.
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“On the understanding that all of the money generated - £800m over ten 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.”
He continued: “To be fair, 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’, I was trying to think of a company name then, but let’s call it ‘Stan Collymore’s Old Trafford’, or the ‘Jamie Carragher Arena’, it would subsidise ticket prices for ten years and it would be wonderful.
Think about it, £80m per year, and the whole of the Stretford End would be absolutely bouncing with hungry, raw individuals, who would be able to take their kids, and drive the next generation of United fans.
“It would allow the communities of Stretford, Salford, Broughton, of Ordsall, to get into Old Trafford for the price of a Costa Coffee.”
Two things, Gary.
First of all, a Costa Coffee doesn’t cost 10 or 12 quid last time we checked. Secondly, ‘The Jamie Carragher Arena’? Not a chance.
In all seriousness, though, Neville’s controversial idea makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Cheaper ticket prices for fans is something we can all get behind - and if that means allowing a big company to have their name before ‘Old Trafford’ then maybe, just maybe, it might be worth it.
Of course, it would be preferable if the Glazer family would decrease ticket prices without changing Old Trafford’s name, but that’s never going to happen.