London: Manchester City are planning to transform the Etihad stadium into a venue to rival Old Trafford as they look at the next phase of planning for their Eastlands site.
The club has conducted feasibility studies on various ways of expanding the ground, with the most ambitious plan to lift off the roof and add a whole new tier. That would give the Etihad stadium a capacity in excess of 70,000 and hugely increase the potential match-day income.
The club is trying to compete with their neighbours on every level. The first priority has been to build a team capable of matching them on the pitch, but the club are also trying to drive their commercial and match-day revenues, a leading daily reports.
The Etihad Stadium’s capacity is currently 47,805 and with Old Trafford holding 76,000, the Emirates 60,000 and Liverpool and Tottenham looking for new stadiums, City do not want to be left behind. United themselves have discussed an expansion which could take them to 95,000 seats.
The first priority for City is the completion of the academy project next to the stadium.
They have a planning permission hearing at the end of December and, subject to that being granted, they will begin work on the wide-ranging campus, which is expected to take three years to build.
In the meantime City will be looking at how they can develop the stadium. The club hierarchy wants to ensure that any expansion fits with demands for seats.