Supporters and local businesses have given their reaction to the news that Manchester United plan to follow arch rivals Manchester City’s and create a fan zone.
The proposed complex would provide a space for fans to congregate before and after games next to their Old Trafford home.
Some fans believe the plans are a way for the indebted club to cash in, while many feel that United are the latest to jump on a growing sporting bandwagon.
It is thought that bosses at Old Trafford have been impressed by the City Square complex at the Etihad Stadium, which opened in 2010.
The complex features a family space with food, a bar, live entertainment and serves as a way to build up the atmosphere before games.
But Brian Houten, chairman of a Manchester United Supporters Club, is a fan of the idea of having the opportunity to meet away fans before games.
“Any sort of facility that brings supporters together on a match day is fantastic as far as I am concerned,” he said.
But the proposal by Manchester United has had some suggesting that the club is merely copying their arch rivals.
Fan Zones first came into use during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where fans without tickets could watch the games on huge screens in a fun, family orientated atmosphere.
That template has now been implemented by Man City, and so the addition of a fan zone at Old Trafford may well be part of a growing trend here in the UK.
Steven Brown, Chairman of North Bury Manchester City Supporters Club, said that Man City have merely taken the idea from other football leagues around the world, where fans can enjoy entertainment before games.
“The city owners actually went around Europe and other parts of the world before they came to City to look at what other clubs were doing,” he said
“The headlines are that United are copying City and things like that but actually, all we [City] have done is implemented other ideas from around the world into English Football.
“At the moment the Glazers are in a load of debt and they will be looking to increase their revenue streams and a fan zone outside their stadium will do that.”
Tommy Muir, Chairman of Cheadle Manchester City Supporters Club believes United are right to introduce a fan zone.
“It has created a family atmosphere at City so I can’t see it failing anywhere else – it has done it in Germany, it’s done it at City so it will work at Old Trafford too,” he said.
“It brings money to the club rather than having people spend it in pubs and bars.”
However, if fans zones start springing up at grounds up and down the country, there is potential for pubs around the ground, which survive on matchday trade, to suffer.
But Pat Egloff, Shift Manager at The Bishops Blaize, a pub close to Old Trafford, disagrees.
He said: “I don’t think it will matter – there are a lot of fans around anyway, everyone comes in on match day for the atmosphere rather than the pub itself.
“What they may be trying to attract is the kind of supporter who perhaps wouldn’t go into a pub – to avoid the rowdy people.”
Mr Brown agreed: “Will it close pubs? Not necessarily.
“It’s all about competition. It costs about £4 for a pint in City Square, the local pubs are always a bit cheaper for the fans – it’s what you prefer though at the end of the day.
“City Square is a bit more sanitized, more security around. You can’t do certain things that you could probably do in a pub.
“It’s good for the family – it’s great. You know you are safer at City Square.”
It is not yet known if United’s fan zone will be ready to go before the start of the new season.