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Newcastle submit plans to significantly upgrade Benton training ground - The Athletic

Newcastle United have submitted ambitious plans to North Tyneside Council to upgrade their Benton training ground after admitting that their current...

  • Posted on 06th May, 2022 13:35 PM
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Newcastle submit plans to significantly upgrade Benton training ground - The Athletic Image

Newcastle United have submitted ambitious plans to North Tyneside Council to upgrade their Benton training ground after admitting that their current facilities “fall significantly below the Premier League and perhaps even Championship standards."

Longer term, Newcastle’s owners are still fully committed to building a state-of-the-art training base, potentially on a fresh site, but they want to ensure the squad have improved facilities in the interim. Eddie Howe, the head coach, has been consulted on, and approved, the proposed changes.

The planning application outlines proposals to introduce hydrotherapy and plunge pools for the first time, as well as extend the dining room, add an outside eating area and create a players’ lounge. The lack of player recreation facilities is seen as a glaring omission from the present site — giving little scope for team-mates to bond and get to know each other — and was one of the key reasons why Howe pushed for a mid-season trip to Saudi Arabia.

There will also be new doctor and physio rooms, an improved presentation room, upgraded player changing rooms, a welcoming reception at the northwest corner of the building, and new offices for support staff.

The single storey extensions are set to add approximately 610 square metres to the footprint of the building, and the club hope they can be completed swiftly, perhaps even during the off-season.

It is anticipated that there will be minimal disruption for the playing squad and staff, though The Athletic understands that the idea of the first-team training at St James’ Park for the final couple of weeks of this season was floated, before being deemed unnecessary.

“As part of the continued efforts of NUFC to improve the facilities and environment for its players, and staff working on site, in the short term the club is looking to invest in redeveloping the current first team training ground by bringing it in line with other Premier League clubs and standards,” the application reads.

“The provision of a high-quality training facility is essential to enable NUFC to keep its status as a Premier League club. Such facilities will enable the professional squads to work in an environment that gives effective preparation, coaching, recovery, and medical treatment. The proposed interventions aim to address the need of the first team and supporting staff which is required by the club to properly run operations on a daily basis.”

Newcastle moved to their training ground in 2002 but it was not purpose-built and it has long been a source of contention amongst players and supporters. While the accusation was always denied by the previous regime, one first-teamer told The Athletic last year, “They hate it when people say this, but it’s not fit for purpose.”

Previous plans to improve facilities did not materialise. “When I came to Newcastle, they gave me the plans for the new training ground, I was talking to the architect about changing a few things. And after three years . . . they painted the walls,” Rafa Benitez said when he left Newcastle in 2019.

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