22 October 2018
One Scotsman designed it, another made it legendary. Old Trafford, or rather, "The Theatre of Dreams", as the great Sir Bobby Charlton had renamed it (to which, among other things, the South Stand also bears the former England international's name), is one of the most iconic stadiums in football.
Designed by the Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, and inaugurated in 1910, with its nearly 75,000 seats, it is the largest club stadium in the United Kingdom (the second largest of all after Wembley), and the only one to have received a 5-star UEFA award.
In reality, very little of the original structure has remained, as several bombings during the Second World War almost completely destroyed it. The only part left intact is the "Centre Tunnel", which is where the players once used to enter the pitch, between the iconic benches of red bricks.
It is on one of those benches that another Scottish "architect", Sir Alex Ferguson, wrote a glorious chapter in the history of the stadium and the club: 38 trophies, including two Champions Leagues, in 26 years as a manager of the Red Devils. It is no coincidence that the largest stand of the stadium, the North Stand, was renamed in 2011 as the "Sir Alex Ferguson Stand", with a statue outside the entrance.
There are many physical symbols present at Old Trafford that tell the rich history of the most successful club in England. The most iconic is the "Trinity Statue", formed by Dennis Law, George Best and Bobby Charlton, located in front of the East Stand, the famous entrance window of the stadium. A pilgrimage destination every 6 February is the "Munich Memorial", a section outside the stadium dedicated to the Munich air disaster, that occurred on 6 February 1958, in which 23 players and members of Matt Busby's staff lost their lives, they were known as the "Busby Babes". Accompanying the memorial is "The Munich Tunnel" which connects the East to the West side of the stadium (the Stretford End), and also clock stopped at 3:04 am on 6 February 1958.
Curiously, on the roof of the stadium there is actually an Italian flag present. As part of the tradition that sees each nationality of the squad represented with a corresponding flag. The Tricolour holds its place there thanks to Matteo Darmian, who has been at Old Trafford since the summer of 2015.