Fleetwood Town are still aiming for a February opening for their Poolfoot Farm training ground – with fans promised a unique experience.
The main pitches at the training centre have been in use by Fleetwood’s first team for several months.
But up to now the players have been forced to change, eat and exercise in converted shipping containers – hardly the Premier League standard set by the remainder of the facilities.
But with the main building now in the final stages of completion, Town chief executive Steve Curwood is hoping to see the Fleetwood players and staff as well as the local community having full use of the £8m site by early in the New Year.
“We’re looking at the end of February,” Curwood told The Gazette. “That’s the date we’ve had in mind for a while now.
“The roof is on and the building is watertight. We should have all thewindows done now too.
“There are showers installed, tiling has been done and things are starting to come along. It’s now just a case of fitting out, getting the final details sorted.”
Fleetwood have made it clear throughout the development of their new Thornton base that the training ground would be an open facility, with pitches for community use as well as the club.
A number of schools, Sunday league teams and community clubs are already using the facilities.
And Curwood is hoping the open door policy will be extended once the facilities in the main building are completed.
“I cannot emphasise enough that it will be a fantastic community facility,” said the chief executive.
“We are going to work in many ways to make sure that happens.
“There are going to be two classrooms on site.
“There’s also going to be a cafe bar, where people can come and have a brew while they are watching the playing squad out training on the pitches.
“I can’t think of any club where that is happening at the moment.”
Indeed, Curwood believes Fleetwood’s philosophy at Poolfoot will be a marked contrast to that of many Football League and Premier League clubs.
“There tends to be an air of secrecy around training grounds in this country,” said Curwood.
“Everything happens behind high walls and closed doors. We didn’t want that to be the case.
“We’ve gone out and looked at what happens elsewhere in Europe.
“There was concern in the community that this was a facility just for Fleetwood Town.
“I hope we’ve proved so far that is not the case, with schoolchildren training alongside professionals and pitches available for the community.
“We’ve taken over a derelict bit of farmland and transformed it into a football facility for everyone.
“The club has done well establishing itself in the community of Fleetwood and we want to do the same here in Thornton.”