Council support making Old Trafford an Asset of Community Value - making it impossible for the Manchester United stadium to be used for any other purpose

The move is seen as a victory for the Manchester United Supporters' Trust

Manchester United have asked Trafford Council to follow the statutory review process after it approved a request to support a nomination of Old Trafford as an Asset of Community Value.

The decision effectively means United's home since 1910 cannot be used for any other purpose than its present one and has been seen as a victory for the Manchester United Supporters' Trust.

The trust's move to request the nomination was to block any desire the Glazer family might have of leaving Old Trafford at some point in the future, even though it has been stressed many times by the club such a move is not on the agenda.

And having already invested £90million on the ground since the Glazer takeover and knowing, outside of Wembley, Old Trafford is regarded as the most prestigious stadium in England, it is highly unlikely ever to be so.

Yet the club did oppose the nomination and there is a counter argument that it would not prevent United moving out of Old Trafford, merely prevent the landbeing used for anything else.

United last night released a statement which read: "The club has received the decision by Trafford Council. Old Trafford is, of course, a special place; it is the heart and soul of the club.

"The club obviously sees it the same way, which is why over the last eight years it has demonstrated its commitment to Old Trafford by spending around £90million upgrading its facilities and it will continue that investment in the future.

"We do have concerns that the legislation is not being applied correctly which could set a precedent throughout the country.

"Therefore, we have asked the council to follow the statutory review process to ensure the legislation is being applied as intended and we shall continue to keep open communication with the council."

MUST later issued their own statement on Trafford Council's decision, in which the trust's chief executive Duncan Drasdo said: "We welcome this news - and believe both Manchester United and other football fans should too.

"While we appreciate the owners have no current plans to move or sell Old Trafford, this is a decision that helps to protect fans' interests in the long term, as no one knows what the future holds.

"We are extremely grateful to our legal and other advisors, supportive councillors and MPs, Supporters Direct and our hard-working representatives and members who have backed this bid from the start.

"We hope this gives confidence to supporters of other clubs that they can pursue this route and we are grateful to Oxford United's Supporters Trust (OxVox), who set a precedent with the approval of their own stadium.

"We still aim to build a more positive relationship with Manchester United and do not envisage a difference of opinion on this issue will hamper that.

"We are looking forward to a successful season both on and off the pitch."

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said in a statement: "I am delighted by the decision of Trafford Borough Council to list the home of Manchester United Football Club as an Asset of Community Value.

"The Community Right to Bid brought in by this Government gives communities the opportunity to retain land and buildings for use and ownership by local people who value them most.

"Many of our great cities - including Manchester - are recognised around the world because of the sporting institutions which represent them.

"The new community rights we have introduced have ensured that even a global iconic institution like Manchester United will remain rooted in the community in which it was founded thanks to the actions of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.

"I look forward to other communities following this wonderful example."

PA

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