A look at the £200m City Football Academy
The £200m City Football Academy has officially opened its doors and it is immediately apparent that it can be considered the finest training facility in world football. As Pablo Zabaleta, who signed for City the day before the takeover in 2008, said: “I’ve never seen anything like this. We came here with the Argentina national team when we played against Portugal last month and the players were very impressed with it, even Lionel Messi. Top players always want to train at good facilities. If you want to improve our squad, they are probably going to be big players coming from top teams in Europe. They have to see that City is one of the top clubs in the world. Having these facilities just makes it special. The club now had no excuses for failing to deliver, Zabaleta said: ‘Yes, because I think we have everything here to become a better team now. When you have those things you have to show why you’ve got them.
There have been a lot of changes over the last few years but you can see the commitment from the owners who have made a great investment to make Manchester City great.’
The new facility represents the hub of City’s global operation, not just a state-of-the-art training ground for Manuel Pellegrini and his players, the club’s Elite Development Squad and the new women’s team.
Once upon a time United fans used to refer to City’s stadium dismissively as ‘the Council House’ after their rivals moved in after the 2002 Commonwealth Games but many will now be secretly jealous to say the least.
The £200m Etihad Campus is made up of:
1 The 48,000 seater Etihad Stadium with 6 hospitality areas and 3,000 parking spaces
2 City square – a fan zone comprising of 8000 square feet of retail space
3 The Metrolink Tram Stop – trams to and from the city centre every 6/12 minutes moving up to 500 passengers
4 SuisseGas Bridge – a pedestrian bridge for the stadium
5 City Plaza – an area of 44,000 square ft of potential commercial space
6 Academy stadium – a 7000 capacity (5000 seats, 2000 standing) stadium for the Elite Development Squad, youth games and women’s football.
7 Car Parking
8 Senior Youth pitches
9 Junior Academy Pitches – including a half pitch for goalkeeper training
10 The Performance Centre – a private first team training pitch, a full size indoor synthetic pitch (with 200 seats). Home to the academy and 1st team training centre (gym, medical and therapy space and training space), relaxation lounge, teaching rooms, pools and office/administration space. There are also bedrooms for Academy residents and first team players.
11 City HQ – home to the majority of the Club and City Football’s operations, meeting rooms and staff and visitor restaurant.
12 Media Zone – a 120seater conference centre/theatre, including translation booths, green room and media studio space.
13 Facilities Management Building – home to facilities management teams and including workshop, laundry, administration/storage space and garages.
14 First Team Training Pitches
15 Elite Development Pitches – for the use of developing youth players
16 Woodland Fitness Trail and Training Hill