Rotherham United: Everton effect on Millers' new training ground
A 55-acre site, 10 full-size grass pitches, gymnasiums, swimming pools, physiotherapy rooms, a spa and a sauna.
They were new Rotherham United boss Alan Stubbs’ daily surroundings before he moved into management, so he knows better than most what a quality training ground should be like.
The Liverpudlian was a coach with Everton whose Finch Farm operation in Knowsley, Merseyside, is held up as a shining example of a top-class purpose-built facility.
Now, he is relishing the prospect of using what he learned with the Premier League side to help the Millers as they look to build a new training complex of their own.
Chairman Tony Stewart is planning to develop 14 acres of land he owns on Bawtry Road, Brinsworth, to give Rotherham an HQ that befits their Championship status.
Stubbs said: “That’s exciting for me as a manager and a coach. The club has the chance to design it and plan it from scratch.”
The centre will match the £15 million Everton HQ which opened in 2007 in everything but size and will be a far cry from the Millers’ current base at Roundwood where they have two pitches and some of their activities take place in portable buildings.
The Millers’ entire playing operation, from youth to first team, will be housed at the new complex which will undoubtedly help in attracting higher-calibre players to the club.
Stubbs’ knowledge will be an asset to his new employers as they embark on a project expected to take up to three years.
“I worked at Everton as a coach and they have a fantastic training facility, so I have some ideas already,” said the man who joined Rotherham earlier this month after two years managing Scottish FA Cup holders Hibernian.
“But we will be asking a lot of people’s opinions. We will be travelling to all the new training complexes to see what they offer and we’ll pick out the best bits and what’s most suitable for us.
“It’s a great position to be in. This is an the opportunity to build a bespoke facility that best fits the needs of the club.”
Among Finch Farm’s 10 pitches is one with floodlights while another is built to exactly the same dimensions as the one at Goodison Park where the Merseysiders play their home games There is also a floodlit synthetic surface
There is also a media centre and video lounges which house a video-editing suite.
Stewart built the Millers’ AESSEAL New York Stadium, which has won nothing but plaudits since it opened four seasons ago, and is aiming for similar standards with his latest venture.
“I like to think we got it right with New York,” he said. “And I’d like to think we’ll get it just as right with the new training ground as well.”
Rotherham rent Roundwood from Tata Steel, enjoy a close relationship with their landlord and are content to remain there while their new home is under development.
“The most important thing about Roundwood is that the pitches are very good,” Stubbs said. “We have other options for gyms and pools.”