Inside Old Trafford’s New Addition: Ten Hag’s Personal Touch
Manchester United’s iconic stadium, Old Trafford, has seen numerous changes over the years. Yet, the latest modification speaks volumes about the influence and vision of their current manager, Erik ten Hag.
A Lounge Transformed
Previously, the hospitality suite within the Sir Bobby Charlton stand was a hub for fans splurging on premium tickets and corporate guests. This space, a significant contributor to the club’s commercial earnings, has now been repurposed to cater to Ten Hag’s specific requirements.
Last season, after Ten Hag expressed his reservations about staying in a Manchester hotel pre-match, the club offered a temporary solution by allocating one of their lounges. The manager’s concerns ranged from unpredictable traffic conditions and security issues to the quality of food available, all of which he believed could potentially affect the team’s performance.
A Year in the Making
The club’s executives spent the subsequent year brainstorming ways to accommodate Ten Hag’s needs while also compensating for the financial void left by the lounge’s transformation. The result? A bespoke area, crafted with significant investment, where Ten Hag can oversee nutrition, players can unwind, and match strategies can be communicated seamlessly.
Ten Hag’s meticulous approach requires his squad to report to Old Trafford a solid three-and-a-half hours before the game. This allows the team to immerse themselves in pre-match rituals, fostering unity. The manager believes that any time spent away from the stadium, like at the Lowry Hotel where the team previously lodged, is counterproductive.
The Athletic highlighted that under Ten Hag’s unique Old Trafford strategy, the club equalled a historic record of 27 home victories in a single season. While predecessors like Mourinho, Van Gaal, and Solskjaer had similar aspirations, it’s Ten Hag who has seen his vision come to fruition.
Ten Hag’s Rising Stature
The Dutch manager’s anticipation for the upcoming Premier League season is palpable, especially with the newly minted space at his disposal. His strategies last term yielded impressive results, with the Red Devils ending with a 29-match unbeaten streak at home.
The trust placed in Ten Hag by the United hierarchy is evident. While other managers expressed desires for a dedicated space at Old Trafford, it’s Ten Hag who has been granted this privilege. Key figures like Football Director John Murtough and Chief Operating Officer Collette Roche, who oversees Old Trafford’s operations, have been instrumental in backing Ten Hag’s vision.
Roche, in particular, has been tasked with the challenge of offsetting the revenue loss from this transformation, with off-site options being explored for the club’s premium fans.