The facility will replace a site in Squires Gate. Credit: Blackpool FC

Seasiders tie up training ground deal

Blackpool Football Club has exchanged contracts in a transaction securing close to 100 acres for a new facility.

The site is on Garstang Road, bordered by the Grange Park Estate and Baines School between Blackpool and Poulton-le-Fylde.

BFC’s facility will house a bespoke building with changing, medical, coaching, fitness and education areas.

Initially with six grass pitches, one full size artificial pitch and a covered artificial area, the site will be designed for one of the pitches to be deemed a show pitch for development and Under-18 games.

The project will allow the club to progress from a category 3 to category 2 academy when appropriate, under the academy grading system introduced under the Elite Player Performance Plan in 2012.

Blackpool have been on the hunt for a suitable site for its first team and academy since being taken over in 2019, working with AFL Architects and being supported by Blackpool Council. More than 30 sites were considered.

Pre-application planning meetings with Blackpool and Wyre Councils have been held, with a planning application expected soon.

Simon Sadler, owner of the club, said: “Since the very first day that I became the custodian of this Football Club, my priority has been to deliver a training facility that integrates the Academy right through to the First-Team.

“I have always maintained that our future success is being built upon three pillars – coaching, recruitment and the Academy. This new training facility is integral to that, and will reinforce that Blackpool is the pre-eminent club on the Fylde Coast.”

The owner has invested in improving facilities at the club’s existing site at Squires Gate since taking over, improving pitch quality and bringing in portable buildings for on-site changing.

Sadler, whose takeover ended the 30+ year ownership of the Oyston family, added: “The training ground forms part of a holistic approach to developing the club’s infrastructure, with the other key part being a new East Stand and sports village.”

He said that the sports village is intrinsically linked with Blackpool Council’s regeneration of the Revoe area which will provide facilities for community use and allow the club to further engage with supporters – a £6.5m slug of funding as part of Blackpool’s £39.5m Town Deal, signed off in March, has been allocated to Revoe.

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