Manchester United has removed hospitality space at Old Trafford to add a new players' lounge at the request of team manager Erik ten Hag.
The Premier League club’s players previously met at the stadium’s No.7 Suite ahead of home games, however they had to vacate 90 minutes before kick-off so hospitality guests could enter. They have also used facilities at the Lowry hotel in the past.
Reports claim Ten Hag requested a bespoke players’ lounge a year ago, telling club executives that it would help to monitor diet and build team spirit. A similar request from former managers Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal had been rejected in the past, but it is believed that chief operating officer Collette Roche signed off on the change because of a renewed “football first” focus under chief executive Richard Arnold.
The players’ lounge, which has been installed adjacent to the home dressing room in the stadium’s south stand, has taken about 12 months to get ready because of a reconfiguration of the area in which it is situated. It opened for the first time ahead of the friendly against Lens earlier this month.
A report in The Guardian suggests the addition of the lounge at the expense of hospitality space will cost millions in lost revenue, some of which the club will recoup by no longer having to pay for use of the Lowry hotel.
Last month it was revealed that Manchester United is to add more than 2,000 new rail seats in Old Trafford ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The installation of 2,100 new rail seats takes the total to more than 6,000 in the stadium’s ‘safe standing’ areas. The expansion comes after the club was granted a licence by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) to continue offering safe standing following an initial trial, which began after rails seats were installed in 2021.