Noel Whelan has been left buzzing with the news that Leeds United have made a significant step in their plans to build a new training centre and academy complex near Elland Road.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan of the club, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the club’s current facilities at Thorp Arch near Wetherby are too far outside the city centre and that having them in the shadow of the stadium gives players more motivation to succeed.
It was confirmed in an official announcement that the City Council had agreed a deal with the owners of Leeds United to sell a site of land located near to the club’s ground for the multi-million pound development.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 18, 2019
Whelan has heralded the board for committing their money to the development, having seen the club buy back Elland Road as their own, and that the players of both today and future years will benefit as a result.
Whelan told Football Insider: “The board are doing a tremendous job of putting their money out there, bringing it back to Leeds – just like the stadium, buying it back – they’re doing everything right.
“The thing is the training ground, when I was there, was always in the shadow of Elland Road. As a young lad, and the community all around, it was great to see the players on your doorstep, your heroes training there.
“To be able to see Elland Road in the background, a stone’s throw away where you’re aiming to get to, that gives them a real purpose, aim and desire to fulfil their dreams. It’s out of the way in Wetherby, you want it in your home city, you want it near your stadium.”
Leeds’ Thorp Arch complex was opened in 1990, replacing the former training ground mentioned by Whelan, which was based near Elland Road.