It was in November of 2013 that Newcastle announced the club would invest £25M in the Benton Training ground to convert it into a world-class facility that had things like a swimming pool included.
Nothing has been done on that since that time.
But that’s because Newcastle have floundered near the bottom of the Premier League and the start date was delayed several times.
World-class training facilities – artist impression
Announced November, 2013 – to be completed in early 2016
Nothing has been done
Rafa did request some basic improvements last summer to brighten up the place and we thought the club and Rafa did very well to make them into better facilities for both players and coaches alike.
But most of that was simply cosmetic.
And Rafa’s introduction of 4G artificial pitches seems now like a master stroke that has cut down on the vast number of injuries our players get – especially the hamstring injuries.
This season has been the least number injuries we have had at Newcastle for many many years.
If your let somebody, who is world-class at what he does, go ahead with that we wants to do then great progress can be made.
We don’t really know if Newcastle will now completely scrap those 2013 plans and make incremental improvements to what we have today, but Rafa was clear when he arrived he wasn’t too impressed with the facilities at Benton.
Brighton recently spent £35M on their new world-class training center which opened in December, 2014 and it’s simply a beautiful facility.
Some of the local journalist got a chance to look around the premises when we played at Brighton in late February and they were tremendously impressed.
So if a smaller club like Brighton & Hove Albion can do it (admittedly they are a very well run – no slight intended there = and they happen to have a very good team) then surely Newcastle United should be able to invest some real money on improvements to the facilities at Benton.
If we are to become a big and successful club we must start thinking really big.
These are just some of the things Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley will be working on this summer, in addition to the hefty transfer market activities that need to be completed.
Hopefully Rafa will be able to do a lot of that work from his Wirral home and be with his wife and two teenage daughters – at least until pre-season starts up again in early July.
This is all going to be very exciting.