Major Newcastle United infrastructure project in pipeline

There’s a big build going on at Newcastle United over the past year – and foundations are being laid on and off the pitch.

On the field, Eddie Howe’s building a competitive team capable of challenging for European football and trophies. Newcastle are fourth in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s home game against Aston Villa.

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Off the pitch, there’s also construction, and work started at the end of last season on an extension to the club’s training ground, which was given a makeover last season to make it “lighter and brighter”.

The facility inherited by the club’s new owners late last year was outdated after years of under-investment during Mike Ashley’s time as owner, and Newcastle quickly submitted plans to “bring it in line with other Premier League clubs and standards”.

United’s planning application, damningly, stated: "The current training facilities fall significantly below the Premier League, and perhaps even Championship, standards.”

Work is progressing on the expanded facility, which will have a hydro pool and new rehabilitation suites as well as a bigger canteen and players’ lounge.

However, when finished, the building still won’t be comparable to some of the all-new facilities built by other Premier League clubs, and the owners have a long-term plan to move to a new training ground.

Newcastle United's chief executive officer Darren Eales, right, with co-owners Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Amanda Staveley.

Land next to Newcastle Racecourse, owned by the Reuben Brothers, has been earmarked as a potential site for a new facility.

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Chief executive officer Darren Eales – who joined the club in August after building Major League Soccer club Atlanta United from scratch – believes the decision to upgrade the training ground in the short-term was the right one.

“The first thing I’d say, and a huge shout out to the owners coming in the way they did,” said Eales, who spoke about the club’s long-term ambitions for an expanded stadium earlier this month.

“There’s been so many building blocks they’ve already put in place, which is just incredible. There’s been so many great things that have happened.

What Newcastle United's expanded training ground will look like.
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"One of the things that has been impressive in all of our chaos, and stuff going on, is looking and saying ‘OK, we’ve got the training ground that’s there – how can we incrementally improve it?’.

"Yes, at some stage, with a long-term vision, clearly that’s an area we’re going to look at in terms of a new facility. But I think they did a great job very quickly in saying ‘OK, how can we do some little things like putting a hydro pool in?’.

"To be able to create a little bit more space for our medical and sports science. All of those factors, it’s a way to provide incremental benefit to the team, not thinking ‘is that sunk cost if we go somewhere else?’. But actually saying ‘no, we need to deliver to the first team’.

"It’s not easy. We’ve got to get stuff done. I do think that is an area where we’ve found some incremental improvements.

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"But clearly, on a long-term vision, training ground is an area where if we’re going to get to where we want to get to, we’re going to need to have those facilities.

"It’s one of those factors you’re going to need to have in place.”