For me personally and for From the Finney, Monday was an unbelievable day.
First things first, I’d just like to put on record my thanks to Hannah for the invite to the new training ground and sorting everything out, Ben for the guided tour and to Peter Ridsdale for his time in between recording with local press and Sky Sports.
I was fortunate enough to be among the first to be shown around the incredible new training ground that North End can now call home after moving in yesterday and waving goodbye to Springfields.
A new website on Sunday followed by a visit to the new Preston North End Euxton training ground on Monday, what a week. The feedback to the new website has been brilliant and the new training ground is quite the facility, which I’ll come on to soon so yeah, I couldn’t really have asked for much more from the week. Well, maybe a new contract announcement or two but hey ho.
Let me tell you all a little bit about Monday and what was a brilliant day at our incredible new facility.
Goodbye Springies, Hello Euxton!
To say that the new facility in Euxton is an upgrade on Springfields would be an understatement. Now, I have never been to Springies before but from what I’ve heard and seen of the training ground we’ve been in since the mid-90s, it wasn’t particularly modern and could have done with a bit of a refresh.
The Euxton Training Ground is a more than a refresh to say the least.
The spacious, oval dressing room is quite impressive when you walk into it and there’s no forgetting who the club play for either. “WE ARE PRESTON NORTH END” is emblazoned above the top of the lockers.
Following on from the dressing room, you’re into a fancy looking physio area, presumably where Matt Jackson and his team will be spending time with the injured players, or those going through rehab following an injury.
There are two plunge pools, one hot and one cold, to help with any post-game recovery and then there’s the gym. When I say no stone has been left unturned in this place, I mean, literally no stone.
It might have been the cheap, easy option for the club to keep the old gym equipment in there but, along with other things, a significant amount of money has been spent by Trevor Hemmings ensuring that this place is the dog’s danglies and in the best possible shape for the players.
Not only has the gym equipment been upgraded but there is also a spin room full of brand new bikes for the lads. Some of the staff might be getting put through their paces early morning, too.
Something I have to note was that there are two bedrooms at the training ground, too. They each have two beds in and come complete with ‘mood lighting’ (there was a lot of this in the reception area, too. It’s a nice touch).
Apparently these will be kept aside for players who might need to be in early in the morning for a specific recovery plan after arriving back late from a game so it gives them the opportunity to get straight to sleep and not have to worry about getting back home and then up early again to get to the training ground. I wouldn’t be surprised if the gaffer and his staff use them from time to time, as well.
The corridors around the place are donned with images of players from training and during games embracing, having a laugh with each other, scoring goals, whatever it might be but it adds a sense of, unity perhaps.
It certainly makes you realise just how close a group of players we have at our club at the moment, let’s just hope it’s for longer than this Friday and perhaps even past January or the end of the season but that’s a discussion for the podcast.
The constant reminder of the club you’re at around the training ground, from the words in the changing room to the little, subtle touches where the club crest has been put on the office windows but it’s not in your face or covering the entire window, it’s just a nice, subtle reminder that yes, this is Preston North End and this where we are now.
Then there’s the staff changing rooms (yes, they have their own space and access to the pitches, away from the squad). A nice, cosy feeling space compared to the vastness of the players changing rooms. Alex Neil also has himself two lockers, I wonder why he might need the extra one?
Then you’ve got the pitches themselves. Like a freshly laid carpet and there’s enough of them, too! The main pitch, as has already been reported comes with undersoil heating but I hear Declan Rudd, Mike Pollitt and co. are looking forward to starting training in their new, designated goalkeeper training area.
It’s an area by the big row of fir trees and this is the key bit as the trees provide cover. Mainly from the wind but I was told Dec in particular was looking forward to not having to battle with the wind like he had to at Springfields at times.
Then at the end of the large canteen, there are the full size pool and snooker tables in the players’ games room. There’s also the dart board in there, too. Basically, this is a room that Graham Westley would have hated. He’d have probably turned it into a second room for the physios or something ridiculous.
All the staff have their own offices, Ben, Peter, Hannah, the analyst team, Alex Neil has his office looking out onto the training pitch and his staff all have their own desk space, too.
This place, from top to bottom, is simply incredible. I can’t big it up enough. We’re quick to criticise the club as a fan base, and on the podcast and rightly so. They’re there to be held to account when the time is right but also, when there’s a time to praise them, we should also do that.
Mr. Hemmings, Peter Ridsdale and everyone else involved in getting the new training ground looking a million dollars (over £2m, actually), my hat is well and truly tipped.
Finally, I was able to sit down with advisor to the owner, Peter Ridsdale for a quick 15 minute chat. The podcast is now live wherever you stream your podcasts and also here on the From the Finney website.
I managed to ask Peter for his thoughts on the leaked documents surrounding the controversial “Project Big Picture”, about his thoughts on the Government’s absurd ruling about fans returning to stadiums but only in hospitality, contracts, the remaining days of the transfer window and couple of other bits and bobs so I hope you enjoy that.
Here at From the Finney, we’re proud to bring you an unbiased, analytical, free, weekly podcast (in the case of this week, two), an ad-free website that doesn’t require you to sign in to read its quality, analytical content and has some of the best Preston North End writers, analysts, fans and special guests from the club’s past and wider football circle and Monday was a huge (for us, anyway) step forward in our journey that is still in its infancy, really.
Once again, I would just like to place on record my thanks to Hannah, Ben and Peter for the opportunity on Monday, it really was a brilliant day and moment for From the Finney that I hope, leads to more in the near future.
Thank you for reading, and listening to the podcast if you have finished it already, or are about to head over there.
If you aren’t already, you can follow From the Finney on Twitter (the best place to keep up with us), Facebook and Instagram. I will be posting more of the images I got from the day across our platforms so keep an eye out for that.
I’m going to finish this on a cliché now which is bad, I know. But, From the Finney is run by the fans and it’s for the fans.
That won’t change.