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PB B4 SPORTS AGENDA: Manchester United to install new floodlights at Old Trafford – Man Utd
June 23, 2021

Man Utd


SPORTS AGENDA: Manchester United to install new floodlights at Old Trafford

6 min read

Manchester United are to install new floodlights at both Old Trafford and Carrington as part of an £11million schedule of works this summer.

Club officials will also oversee the arrival of 1,500 barrier seats as United seek to improve the atmosphere with the aid of ‘safe standing’. The home and away dressing-room areas, long since in need of an upgrade, will also be renovated while a new, Covid-secure digital access and ticketing system will be rolled out.

Fresh pitches and facilities for the men and women’s teams at the training ground are also on the list, while new disabled facilities have already been completed.

Manchester United will install new floodlights at Old Trafford and Carrington this summer

The Glazers' previous failure to invest has been the source of discontent among supporters

The Glazers’ previous failure to invest has been the source of discontent among supporters

The moves come at a time when United’s American owners have come under increased fire from fed-up supporters, with lack of investment in the stadium and facilities one of many gripes.

Indeed, a door smashed by protesting supporters, which allowed them to enter Old Trafford and force the postponement of the Liverpool match last month, was left boarded up for weeks. The door has recently been repaired, with United saying it was custom-made and not ‘off-shelf’.

‘We’ve been trying to get the Glazers out for 15 years without success, so it’s no wonder the club have struggled to do the same,’ one fan joked.

BBC mulling over staff ‘moral dilemma’    

Debate over how many staff the BBC will send to the Tokyo Olympics is ongoing, with bosses facing a ‘moral dilemma’ over the situation. 

The BBC say they plan to send a small number of staff to Tokyo and confirmed that the majority will remain at its Salford HQ. The Champions League final in Porto was BBC Sport’s first major overseas deployment since the pandemic, and a number of workers have subsequently had to isolate after coming into contact with the virus.

Bosses are also concerned at sending reporters to Japan, which is currently in the grip of a Covid crisis.

Aggers amuses after county cricket gaffe   

There was a humorous exchange during a day spent filling time on Test Match Special when rain washed out Friday’s play at Lord’s. 

Jonathon Agnew (R) stirred humour among TMS listeners over a country cricket gaffe

Jonathon Agnew (R) stirred humour among TMS listeners over a country cricket gaffe

Jonathan Agnew introduced Simon Mann to take over, asking his colleague what he had in store, with no break in the weather expected. Mann told him the plan was to take in some commentary from the County Championship.

‘Comms teams will be rushing to county grounds across the country,’ Aggers interrupted. ‘They’re already there,’ responded Mann, before pointing out: ‘There’s ball-by-ball commentary on every match via the BBC Sport website.’

Souey neighbours goes in hard   

Graeme Souness has upset his neighbour again.

The former Liverpool and Scotland legend was accused of being a ‘hypocrite’ when he successfully applied to build a new house in his garden close to Sandbanks, Dorset, five years after successfully fighting plans to demolish a house on the same street and replace it with three smaller ones.

Now Souness, who had complained the previous plans were ‘gross over-development’ and would set a ‘harmful precedent’ in an area nicknamed ‘millionaires’ row’ wants to amend the plans and insert more windows in the gym and laundry and an amended roof pitch.

Graeme Souness has angered his neighbour over plans to develop his property in Dorset

That has triggered an angry response from his neighbour, who has again written to the council saying: ‘I strongly object to this new application. The additional windows will affect my privacy. 

‘The overbearing aspect of this property is already unacceptable and ridiculous from original concept. These new proposals will make a bad situation even worse. Please refuse this application.’

Planners will make their call later this month.

Man City media team hit by Covid issue   

Spare a thought for members of Manchester City’s media team who had a shock upon returning from their Champions League final trip to Porto. 

On top of the disappointment at losing, the plane they travelled home on was found to be carrying someone who was suffering from Covid and they had to self-isolate.

FINA elect alleged FIFA bribery co-conspirator   

FINA, the world governing body of all aquatic sports, has just elected a new president — Husain Al-Musallam from Kuwait.

If the name seems familiar, it may be because several years ago he was identified in a USA Department of Justice investigation into a FIFA bribery scandal as an alleged co-conspirator #3.

Husain Al-Musallam, an alleged conspirator to bribery at FIFA, is the new FINA president

Husain Al-Musallam, an alleged conspirator to bribery at FIFA, is the new FINA president

He has, however, never been charged and seems to be well over that now after landing a thumping 95 per cent vote from more than 300 national aquatics federations.

In a rousing acceptance speech, Al-Musallam promised not to take a salary, to cut central costs and channel the extra cash to athletes.

Perhaps FIFA themselves could take a note of this approach?

Paralympics podium raises eyebrows   

An image of the new podium tweeted by the Paralympic Games last week raised eyebrows. 

The platform consists of just one level, instead of three, leading some to wonder if organisers were going down the lame, sports day-style route where everyone is a winner, regardless of finishing place. 

It is very much to be hoped not. Finishing in the top three is an achievement in itself but there is a reason only one person wins gold.

The podium for the Paralympics has caused confusion ahead of the Games this summer

The podium for the Paralympics has caused confusion ahead of the Games this summer

Shrews still unhappy with Liverpool over FA Cup exit   

Remember Roland Wycherley, the Shrewsbury Town chairman whose petulant behaviour at Anfield left many cringeing? 

He kept purposely mistaking Kenny Dalglish for Ian Rush at the first clash and moaned that the hosts’ decision to play their youngsters in the replay had cost him £500,000.

More than a year later, in the club’s accounts, Wycherley was at it again. ‘Not only were we outdone on the pitch by a VAR decision which to this day we still dispute, but off the pitch the treatment of our club was at best disappointing,’ he opined.

Shrewsbury remain unhappy with Liverpool following their exit in the FA Cup last season

Shrewsbury remain unhappy with Liverpool following their exit in the FA Cup last season

‘When we reported Liverpool to the FA for breaching FA Cup rules and “not fielding their strongest team” we were astonished that the Professional Game Board at the FA did not uphold our complaint, much to our solicitors’ shock.’ 

The Shrews’ did post a loss of £700,000 in their accounts ending June 2020 — their first loss in five years.

Beeb do not cover suspension of famed coach  

Interesting to note the BBC did not cover the story last week that Toni Minichiello had been suspended by UK Athletics following a number of complaints. 

The Sheffield-based former coach of Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is the subject of a disciplinary investigation. 

A spokesperson said ‘no parties could confirm if the story was true’, which meant they were unable to report it. There was no comment on whether occasional pundit Minichiello, 55, would be part of their team in Tokyo.

The BBC did not cover the suspension of Jessica Ennis-Hill's former coach Toni Minichiello (L)

The BBC did not cover the suspension of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s former coach Toni Minichiello (L)

BBC dearly missed in coverage of European 10,000m Cup   

Never has the BBC’s failure to agree a deal with UK Athletics been felt more than on Saturday night when Mo Farah’s return to the track after a four-year absence unfolded. 

Farah, 38, fell short of the Olympic qualifying mark in the European 10,000m Cup. To see the action in Birmingham, fans had to access a shoddy live feed via Athletics Weekly, with viewers unable to see what was going on in the home straight, and a commentator often referring to ‘Mohamed Furrah’. 

In response, the Beeb insist they are ‘proud of our very strong athletics portfolio’.       

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