Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City back in 2008, much has been made about the amount of money spent on players. Mark Hughes was given £200 million during his 18 months in charge, and Roberto Mancini had a further £285 million. City won the FA Cup and the league title, but it came at a price.
Less is made, however, about City’s investment in their new training complex—a £100 million-plus state-of-the-art construction that will house both youth and first team football. The Etihad Campus, which is being built adjacent to the Etihad Stadium, will see every level of the club catered for in one unique 80 acre site.
The academy element of the complex will accommodate 400 young players, with classroom facilities for 200. Twelve of the 16.5 pitches will be designed for players between the ages of 8-21, and there’s even accommodation available to City’s most promising young players. City are desperate to become a financially self-sufficient football club, and producing their own talent is at the top of their list of targets aimed at achieving that goal.
There will be a 7000-seat stadium built on site, meaning the youth teams will have a first-class home ground for years to come. Young players learning their trade at the Etihad will be getting everything they need to develop their skills and carve out a career in the game.
The first team will be leaving their Carrington training base and moving to the Etihad Campus. A brand new gym and rehab centre is apart of the plans and is set to be the envy of clubs across Europe. Not only will this provide City’s players with everything they need to stay fit and healthy, but it will be a huge selling point when negotiating with potential new signings.
Even City’s clerical and media teams will be based on site, with new offices and a dedicated media centre set to be built. The entire club will now have a brand new, top-of-the-range facility to work from.
The new complex will not only revolutionise the club, but it will also bring jobs and prosperity to a struggling area of Manchester. City pledged to ensure that more than 90 percent of the materials used to build the Etihad Campus were sourced locally, with recruitment from the local area also high on City’s agenda.
The impact of the Etihad Campus may not be obvious for many years to come, but what’s clear is that City’s owners are absolutely dedicated to ensuring the club has a successful future ahead of it.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity