In his conversation with the country’s press, having confirmed a 27.7% stake in Manchester United, Sir Jim Ratcliffe discussed the need for a new stadium for the club. Reports today have suggested that Gary Neville has been invited on a panel of experts to discuss how to redevelop Old Trafford.

Pointing out that West Ham and Manchester City play in state funded stadiums, Ratcliffe wants taxpayers’ money to go to building a world class stadium in the north.

You have to think about how you can optimise the football club in FFP terms and a stadium is one of those. You can increase your revenues by building a new stadium, rebuilding a stadium or putting all the facilities in. You have to think practically because money doesn’t grow on trees. The two most talked-about issues at Manchester United are number one, the football, the performance on the pitch and the second one is the stadium.

What we can see so far is a really good case to refurbish Old Trafford, probably about £1billion in cost. You finish up with a great stadium, it’s probably an 80-90,000-seater. But it’s not perfect because you’re modifying a stadium that is slap bang up against a railway line and all that type of stuff, so it’s not an ideal world. But you finish up with a very good answer.

Manchester United needs a stadium befitting one of the biggest clubs in the world and at the moment, it’s not there. Old Trafford maybe was 20 years ago but it’s certainly not today. There’s this wider conversation with the community as to whether you could use a more ambitious project on site as a catalyst to regenerate that Old Trafford area, which is quite an interesting area in a way because it was the heart of the Industrial Revolution, it is the oldest industrial park in Europe, it was the first industrial park in Europe. And it’s still one of the biggest ones. And they obviously built the Manchester Ship Canal to service it. That’s where all the coal came in, the cotton. And that’s why they built Old Trafford there. People would finish their shift and then walk to the ground, there was no transport in those days. That’s the history of why the club is there. But today it’s a bit run down and neglected in places, there’s a strong case for using a stadium to regenerate that area, like with the Olympics, like Sebastian Coe did with that part of East London quite successfully. City have done it and they’ve done quite a good job.

The people in the north pay their taxes like the people in the south pay their taxes. But where’s the national stadium for football? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for rugby? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for tennis? It’s in the south. Where’s the national concert stadium? It’s the O2, it’s in the south. Where’s the Olympic Village? It’s in the south. All of this talk about levelling up and the Northern Powerhouse. Where is the stadium in the north? How many Champions Leagues has the north-west won and how many Champions Leagues has London won?

“The answer to that is the north-west has won 10 – Liverpool have won more than us – and London has won two. Where do you have to go if you get to the semi-final of the FA Cup and you’re a northern club? You have to schlepp down to London, don’t you? So what happened to HS2, which was going to be a substantial amount of investment in the north, what happened to that? They cancelled that. And where are they going to spend that? They’re going to spend it on the rail network in London. People in the north pay their taxes and there is an argument you could think about a more ambitious project in the north which would be fitting for England, for the Champions League final or the FA Cup final and acted as a catalyst to regenerate southern Manchester, which has got quite significant history in the UK.

Ratcliffe suggests he would rather build a brand new stadium next to Old Trafford, allowing games to continue in our current stadium for now before moving over, and claims that would be quicker and easier to do, although would cost twice the price.

In an ideal world I think it’s a no brainer, a stadium of the north, which would be a world class stadium where England could play and you could have the FA Cup Final and it’s not all centred around the south of England. So in an ideal world, absolutely, that’s where I would be but you’ve got to be practical about life.

In broad terms, a refurb is one [billion] and a new stadium – both of these would include the campus so, you know, the museum’s crap and and the shop is too small and you’d have the Xbox thing for entertaining the fans. So in other words, the fans could come there and do some stuff. So include the campus in both cases, in very simple terms you are talking about one versus two [billion].

I think the refurb would take longer than the new one because it’s more complicated, because obviously you’re building and you have to build over a main railway line which is quite complicated and expensive.