Etihad Stadium to get new practice pitches.
Manchester City have revealed plans for a giant new training complex that they claim will be the best in the world.
The 80-acre site, situated next to the Etihad Stadium, is still awaiting planning permission – due to be given in December – and will take years to complete.
It will contain a 7,000-seat mini-stadium, 15 full-size pitches, and sleeping accommodation for 72 senior and youth players.
Brian Marwood, the club’s chief football operations officer, said: “This could be the most important investment the club has ever made under its new ownership.
“This is part of a 10-year strategy for long-term sustainable success.
“Phase one culminated in the club winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Champions League last season. This signals the beginning of the next phase.
“We know that youth development has to be at the heart of this club. Investment in the transfer market has helped us reach a certain level, to stay there will take investment in player development, welfare and top-class facilities.
“While new signings were making the headlines there were changes behind the scenes even in the early days.”
The development has taken three years to plan, with City sending officials to Arsenal, Barcelona and Ajax, as well as bodies from outside of football including the New York Giants and LA Lakers to look at their operations.
Nick Smith, the project consultant who made most of the visits to other facilities, said: “We believe ours will become the world’s best training facility.”
The overall cost of the development had yet to be clarified but City have already bought most of the land, much of which is polluted by past industries, and are in the process of cleaning it.
The club have also promised to provide 5.5 acres for community use, including a sixth form college, and contribute towards a new public swimming pool.
Patrick Vieira, the French former Arsenal, AC Milan and Inter Milan midfielder who is now City’s football development executive, described the plans as “unbelievable”.
He said: “For any player to have this facility would be really, really exciting.”
Other aspects of the new training ground include:
- 15 full-size pitches, two half-size pitches, all with undersoil heating and floodlights.
- Capable of training 400 young players, with an education centre for 200.
- Staff offices and a media centre.
- A first-team building with changing rooms, state of the art gym, refectory and injury and rehabilitation centre.
- A 5.5-acre area reserved for community use including a sixth-form college and public swimming pool.
- A pedestrian bridge linking the campus to the Etihad stadium.