BRIGHTON & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber believes the club’s training ground facility in Lancing is the final piece in the jigsaw of the club’s infrastructure.
The state-of-the-art facility over 40 acres of land will include five pitches for the first and development sides, seven pitches for academy teams (aged from under-nine to under-18) and a community pitch for local clubs and schools.
Brighton officials looked around the training grounds of Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and England’s headquarters at St George’s Park to enable them to get the best facilities possible on the site off Mashbarn Lane.
The completion date is June 27 and the players will return to pre-season training on June 30.
The training ground is in easy access of the club’s Amex Stadium in Falmer and Barber said: “These facilities are massively important, this is the last piece of the infrastructure – the last piece of the jigsaw for us.
“It’s critical for the future of the young players that we are trying to attract and develop, it’s also critical for the first team players because, as Martin Perry has said, this is their place of work.
“People think footballers are always swayed by the stadium but, actually, when you sign a player, this is the first question they ask –what’s the training facility like, where is it, how far away from the stadium is it, where am I going to live in relation to it.
“This is what you and I would see as our office, so it’s very important for the club.”
Barber also believes the training ground will be a facility Lancing and Adur can be proud of. He said: “This is going to be a facility to be proud of, not just for the Albion but also, I think, for the local area, for Adur and for Lancing.
“It’s an important project for this area as a whole. It creates jobs obviously but, most importantly, it does put us all on the map and that’s not a bad thing.”
Read more from Barber and Albion head coach Oscar Garcia’s thoughts in this week’s paper.