BRIGHTON & Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet believes the club’s next big star could emerge from Lancing, if the Seagulls get the go ahead for their proposed new training ground at New Monk’s Farm.
On Monday evening, Adur District Council’s planning committee is expected to give Albion the green light for the £29m facility, after council officials recommended that planning permission be granted, and Poyet explains that will mean the club will have the type of top facilities to rival any other club in the UK.
He told the Herald: “It is a significant investment in the club’s long-term future from the chairman Tony Bloom. The new training ground will be of huge benefit to the club and will help us attract top young players.
“For too long young players have been attracted elsewhere by better facilities – but the new training ground and academy will enable us to keep the best talent from Sussex in the county.
“We have a great chance to establish the identity and style of playing that we keep talking about and want to put in place at this football club with the local players.
“It will also help us develop that talent through the academy, through the development squad and eventually into the first team, and who knows, the next England star could even be bred in Lancing!”
Albion’s current Egyptian international Adam El-Abd progressed through the club’s ranks from the age of 10, but England star Gareth Barry famously switched from Brighton to Aston Villa in the late 1990s, when the club was in its last days at the Goldstone.
Barry, now with current champions Manchester City, cited poor facilities and a lack of ambition. Now, 15 years on with the Seagulls top of the Championship the club cannot be accused of lacking ambition – but existing facilities are not up to the standard of other Premier League and Championship clubs.
Poyet said: “It’s no secret that the better the facilities, the better work we can do in the academy, in terms of developing young players.
“Those working at the existing set-up have done a terrific job for the club, but this new facility will help those coming through the system become better players.
“I am sure if Gareth Barry was at the club now, as part of the academy, seeing the plans for the future, he would have no hesitation in wanting to be a part of it and signing for his home club.”
For the full story, see this week’s Worthing Herald, Shoreham Herald or Littlehampton Gazette.