Old Trafford to get 20-million-pound facelift

Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:After being ignored for the Ashes, Andrew Flintoff's home ground Old Trafford is all set to get a 20-million pound facelift as Lancashire have decided to stay put at the more then 100-year-old cricket facility.

Lancashire have shelved their plans of a possible move to east Manchester or Wigan and are now busy in their preparations to renovate the historic ground.

''There is the opportunity for a venture here, in partnership with Trafford, which is much better than anything earlier envisaged,'' Lancashire's Business Committee Chairman Michael Cairns was quoted by the English cricket board website as saying.

The facelift, if approved by Lancashire's council, is likely to be complete by the Ashes in 2009.

''It would be nice to finish it around then,'' Mr Cairns said adding,''We want to be the headquarters of cricket outside Lord's.'' Club Chairman Jack Simmons said he was relieved that Lancashire would not be moving out of their traditional home.

''I played here in 1954 with Lancashire schoolboys, so to think of leaving wasn't good,'' he said.

''No one is more pleased to be staying here than me. Today's news is fabulous,'' the elated club chaiman added.

Mr Simmons said local star Flintoff, who was ''gutted'' after the ground was not given any of the 2009 Ashes matches to host, was happy with the turn of events.

''I know someone else who is delighted - and that is Freddie Flintoff. He really wanted to stay here,'' he said.

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