Design & Development

Foster + Partners to lead overhaul of United’s training complex

Manchester United has engaged architectural practice Foster + Partners to carry out a £50m (€59.4m/$63.5m) revamp of its Carrington Training Complex.

The English Premier League football club today (Friday) announced that work will commence to modernise the men’s first team building at Carrington on Monday, with a focus on creating a “high-performance collaborative environment” for players and staff.

The project will result in all areas of the building being refurbished to deliver a “world-class football facility with a positive culture to support future success”. Foster + Partners, led by Manchester-born Lord Norman Foster, has been appointed to lead the project.

The renovation work is expected to last for the duration of the 2024-25 season. The initial focus will be on the gym, medical, nutrition, and recovery areas, with a design emphasis on creating more space for collaboration and innovation among players and staff.

Temporary adaptations will be made to the rest of the Carrington site to ensure players and staff from all of United’s teams can continue to operate successfully next season.

This latest phase of development at Carrington follows the opening of the £10m women’s and academy building last summer. Today’s announcement is the latest move by United co-owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, to improve the club’s much-criticised infrastructure.

Ratcliffe is pushing a ‘Wembley of the North’ stadium plan for United. In April, the Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force held its inaugural meeting as talks continue over United’s long-term stadium future.

In March, the club announced that Sebastian Coe, Andy Burnham and Gary Neville would form part of a taskforce created by United to explore options for the redevelopment of Old Trafford. Lord Coe, who chaired the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympics and now serves as president of World Athletics, is chair of the taskforce.

Other members include Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester; former United player Neville; Trafford Council chief executive Sara Todd; Trafford Council leader Tom Ross; Manchester United Supporters’ Trust chief executive Duncan Drasdo; and Peel Land associate director Anna Bensky.

The taskforce was formed to oversee options for the regeneration of the Old Trafford area of Greater Manchester, with the development of a “world-class” football stadium at the heart of the project.

The taskforce is due to examine how stadium development can support renewal of the area and deliver social and economic benefits for the entire region. United said the taskforce would assess the feasibility of a new stadium of “national significance” that is equipped to host international games and finals, as well as providing a modernised home for the club.

Ratcliffe in March set out his vision for a 100,000-capacity stadium for the club that would rival the revamped Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Spotify Camp Nou. Ratcliffe, and the Ineos petrochemicals company he founded and chairs, in February completed their deal for a minority stake in United, with the closure of the agreement allowing stadium plans to advance.

The British billionaire, a boyhood United fan, has since been vocal over his vision for United’s stadium infrastructure, in particular the potential to develop a ‘Wembley of the North’ for the club.

The wider project aims to support revitalisation of the area between Trafford Park and the banks of Salford Quays and will tie in with Trafford Council’s Trafford Wharfside Framework. In February, Trafford Council approved the first stage of ambitious plans to regenerate a huge area encompassing Old Trafford, but said the club would need to bear responsibility for financing its stadium vision.

The announcement came after United had earlier welcomed Trafford Council’s plans to regenerate the area around the stadium. Trafford Council plans on redeveloping the Trafford Wharfside area over the next 15 years.

Ratcliffe reiterated that the option of redeveloping the existing 74,310-seat Old Trafford remains, along with the widely regarded favoured choice of utilising land adjacent to the facility to develop a new home for United.

Speaking today, he said: “We want to create a world class environment for our teams to win. When we conducted a thorough review of the Carrington training facilities and met with our men’s first team players, it was clear the standards had fallen below some of our peers. This project will ensure Manchester United’s training ground is once more renovated to the highest standards.

“Lord Foster, a fellow Mancunian, has brought some great inspiration to the design, in conjunction with the Manchester United team and we look forward to seeing the improvement to the facilities but most importantly on the pitch.”

Lord Foster, founder and executive chairman of Foster + Partners, added: “Our aim is to modernise and revitalise the building as a catalyst for future footballing success, creating spaces that inspire a culture of collaboration, unity and belonging.

“As a proud Mancunian, it is a particular honour for me to see Foster + Partners given this responsibility and we will ensure that our design captures the spirit of industry, grit and ambition that exemplifies both Manchester and Manchester United.”

In April 2022, United appointed Legends International and Populous to lead a team tasked with creating a masterplan for the redevelopment of Old Trafford.