Liverpool plan £50m training-ground move

Image copyright Liverpool FC Image caption The plans are going out to consultation

Liverpool Football Club is planning to move its training ground as part of a £50m project to redevelop its academy site.

The Premier League club is proposing to sell the Melwood facility in West Derby, where the first team has trained since the 1950s.

The project - a joint enterprise between the club and Knowsley Council - will move training to the Kirkby site.

If the redevelopment is approved, it could be completed by 2019.

Andy Hughes, the club's chief operating officer, said bringing the first team and young players together in one location was a "really exciting proposition".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Fans have always used ladders, bins, or whatever they can get their hands on to peer over the walls at Melwood to watch training

He said new "state-of-the-art facilities" would help the development of players, and designs to convert the main pitch into an indoor site would provide all-weather training.

Plans to create new pitches would also bring "substantial improvements" for the local community and support amateur football teams, such as Kirkby AFC.

"We recognise that Melwood has played a significant role in the club's success and forms an important part of our history," he said.

"However, [it is] limited in space and is unable to accommodate our longer term ambitions, which is why we are exploring options on the academy site."

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Privacy has been an issue at Melwood

Liverpool FC will need to purchase additional land at Kirkby in order for the proposals to go ahead.

As part of the plans, the club would sell Melwood, which it suggested could potentially be redeveloped into 160 family homes.

The plans will be subject to a public consultation on 8 March at Northwood Community Centre.

Former Reds boss Gerard Houllier oversaw a major redevelopment in 2001 at Melwood, which he jokingly called "the bunker", and turned it into one of the most sophisticated training grounds in the world.

However, privacy has long been an issue at Melwood, with people using ladders, chairs, bins and other objects to peer over the walls to watch training.


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