The Club

The Training Centre

The Training Centre

Training Centre

Arsenal's state-of-the-art Training Centre can be found in leafy Hertfordshire, just 45 minutes drive from Emirates Stadium

The first team squad along with the young professionals and Academy scholars all train on what many consider to be the best playing surfaces in the country. In excess of 60 footballers use the facility on a typical day while at the weekend the Centre stages youth team matches as well as reserve team friendlies.

In all, there are ten full-size pitches at the site, all of which have undersoil drainage and an automated sprinkler system. In addition, two have undersoil heating. Each pitch is built to the exact specifications of the playing surface at Emirates Stadium (having originally been the same size as the Highbury pitch). Three of the pitches are reserved for the Arsenal youth team, three for the reserves and three for the first team. The tenth pitch is the ‘match pitch’ where first team friendlies and Under-18 league fixtures are played.

The match pitch is named after former Arsenal player and reserve team coach George Armstrong, who passed away in October 2000 after collapsing while coaching. A commemorative memorial stone and plaque is placed at the side of the pitch.

All the pitches are maintained by award-winning groundsman Steve Braddock and his team.

The existing Centre replaced the former University College of London’s Student Union site, which had hosted the Club’s training facilities since 1961. Prior to this, the Arsenal players used to train at the stadium in Highbury, running around the cinders track which used to circle the pitch and train with weights in the old stadium gym which was converted, in the stadium’s final years, into a Press Office. On occasions, the team even used to train by running through the streets near to Highbury.

Manager Arsène Wenger was a key figure in the development of the present Training Centre. In fact, the contents and layout of the building were almost entirely decided by Arsène and his backroom staff. The physiotherapy team, led by Gary Lewin, had complete control over what the site would require for their crucial work, and fitness coach Tony Colbert, working in conjunction with Life Fitness (UK), equipped the gymnasium with everything necessary to keep the players in perfect condition.

As well as the excellent pitches, indoors the facility boasts six changing rooms, a steamroom, a swimming pool with adjustable floor, gymnasium, treatment rooms, massage baths, and restaurant. In addition to the playing and coaching staff, also based at the Centre are two full-time gardeners, 10 groundstaff, four catering staff, three building supervisors, and the manager’s secretary and youthteam secretary.

The Training Centre covers an area of 143 acres, including 45 acres of forestry and 27,000 trees. At the start of the 2004/05 season, a dedicated press briefing building was opened at the site. This building, where the players and staff fulfil their media requirements, consists of 10 interview rooms and a press conference room, seating up to 100 people. Work is currently underway on an indoor pitch facility at the Training Centre, and it is hoped work will be completed by early 2007.

[ Wednesday, March 21, 2007]


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