Arsenal Training Ground

Arsenal Training Complex On Monday 11 October, Sports Minister Kate Hoey MP officially opened Arsenal Football Club's new training ground and facilities at Shenley, Hertfordshire.

It is two-and-a-half years since the University College London complex, which the club had used since 1961, burned down. Since then, Arsenal have been using the famous Sopwell House Hotel at St. Albans, traditional home to visiting FA Cup Finalists, after training.

Now the club have their own home, where all Arsenal players, from the senior professionals through to the youth squad players, can train, eat and receive injury and rehabilitation treatment on the same site.

The decision to move to new premises was taken by the Board in 1997. In September 1998, Hertsmere Council granted planning permission to convert a site adjacent to the UCL pitches. The architects and designers began their work on the development two months later.

However, the project really got underway 18 months ago. That was when Arsene Wenger and Peter Hill-Wood embarked on a fact-finding mission accompanied by architect Richard Marshall and project manager Peter Kelsall.

They toured some of the finest training centres available to top professional clubs in Europe, namely Nantes, Auxerre and Bayern Munich, and devised their own blueprint for success. The manager was also able to draw on valuable experience from his time in Japan with Nagoya Grampus Eight.

Other members of the Arsenal staff were also involved in the process. Physio Gary Lewin and fitness coach Tony Colbert took charge of their respective areas and the result is a team effort which will propel all the club's sides into the next millennium.

The complex comprises 10 indoor and outdoor pitches, hydro-therapy pool, steam room and massage baths, gym facilities, canteen, media areas, treatment rooms and administration rooms.



Tony Adams
First Team Captain

"Since joining the Club as a schoolboy in 1979 I have trained at UCL's facilities. Like a number of players here, and indeed coaching staff at the Club, a significant part of my adult life has been spent developing my football at the UCL complex and I hold a great deal of affection for the place.

In football there's little room for sentiment however, and for this Club to continue progressing, in both domestic and European football, we needed the perfect environment to prepare for games and recuperate after them. We now have exactly that - the perfect environment.

Magnificent facilities will benefit the day-to-day running of the Club, but just as importantly, the whole ethos of the 'Arsenal family' also returns with the new training ground.

The fire at the UCL Clubhouse had forced the first team squad to change for training at Sopwell House, out of contact with the youth teams - not an ideal situation for a Club in my opinion. Certainly in my formative years at Arsenal, I gained great inspiration from experienced internationals like David O'Leary and Kenny Sansom who I watched play, and spoke to, at the training ground.

The current youth team have not had the same opportunity to see the first team in action and seek their advice. That will all change now and I'm personally looking forward to being re-united and hopefully, as Club Captain, I can give some of our young stars of the future good advice for their forthcoming careers."

Gary Lewin

"In the last 18 months we have been working out of a bedroom at Sopwell House - now we are moving to the new training ground at Shenley, where the facilities are some of the best available in Europe.

We have two medical departments, which are separated - yet connected. They are divided by a central screen, which can be removed to draw the whole unit together. This is the ideal situation as the first team or youth team physio can conduct one-on-one work with a player, yet at the same time the whole physiotherapy unit is together and can work as one in an overall capacity.

There are so many advantages for us at the new complex, some of which may not be the most obvious but will save us time and make certain situations with players far more satisfactory.

An example of this is the medical unit, which now allows the F.A. to conduct their random drugs tests at our specially constructed room on site. Previously the F.A. would bring their own unit for the testing.

We also have a fully equipped doctor's room. If a player requires specific medical attention, the doctor can now come to our training ground and have at hand all he/she needs to work with. Prior to the move, we had to either send players out for treatment or have doctors travel to Sopwell or Highbury with their equipment.

With the self-contained gym at Shenley, we now also have the ability to work on players' problems more intensively in their rehabilitation regime. We can also look after long term injuries in a more satisfactory manner and I can't stress strongly enough how important it is that, no matter where the Club's various sides are playing across the country, there will always be a permanent medical base available to treat players at Shenley."

Audio Interviews from Training Ground Launch

  • Bob Wilson - Goalkeeping Coach
  • Arsène Wenger - Manager
  • Lee Dixon - Arsenal and England Defender
  • Kate Hoey MP - Minister of Sport
  • Fredrik Ljungberg - Arsenal and Sweden Midfielder

  • Arsenal Football Club Plc, 1999