Manchester United Women ‘in discussions’ about playing a game at Old Trafford next season

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Manchester United Women ‘in discussions’ about playing a game at Old Trafford next season
A crowd of 1,401 at Leigh Sports Village saw Manchester United clinch promotion on Wednesday

Manchester United Women could play a game at Old Trafford in the Women’s Super League next season after winning promotion from the second tier.

United’s 5-0 win over Aston Villa secured a top-two Championship spot in their first year since reforming.

Casey Stoney’s side have played at Leigh Sports Village this season.

But, speaking before Wednesday’s win, Stoney told BBC Sport: “We’ve had discussions with the club [about playing at Old Trafford].”

The head coach added: “It logistically wasn’t possible this year with the short turnaround and the schedules. But I know it is something the club are looking into next year.

“If the schedules fit and it’s the right time, then I’m sure it’s something that could happen.”

Despite playing in the predominantly part-time second tier, United have attracted many of the largest club-level women’s crowds in Britain this season, including a turnout of 4,835 in August.

New record modern-era crowds for domestic games in Spain and Italy have been set recently, with attendances of 60,739 at Atletico Madrid and 39,000 at Juventus.

That prompted England head coach Phil Neville to urge England’s biggest men’s clubs to “throw open” their stadiums for women’s football matches.

Stoney added: “Those just show you, if you put it in the right stadium at the right time, you market it for the right price and you give yourself enough build-up time to it, you can get crowds.

“And if any club is capable of that, I do believe that it is us.”

I’m not trying to emulate anybody – Man Utd Women head coach Stoney

‘We can build a team to compete in Europe’

United’s promotion is subject to meeting the Football Association’s criteria for a place in the top tier, but it is understood no problems are expected regarding their WSL licence application.

Confirmation of their 2019-20 top-tier spot is therefore expected to be confirmed in the middle of May, a year after the club ended their 13-year absence from the senior women’s game.

“The mantra is, we crawl, we walk, we jog and then we run,” added Stoney. “It’s a long-term project. But that long-term project hopefully leaves a legacy for this club forever.

“We can build a team that can compete in Europe and promotes youth, so that the under-10 who walks into the RTC [regional talent centre] has a pathway right to the first team.”

Stoney’s side are seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, who have three games to play, and United clinch the title if they beat 10th-placed Crystal Palace at home on Saturday.

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