Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has suggested a change to the club’s infrastructure, which would be one of the best changes he’s implemented since he took control of the club.
In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Cellino has suggested that the Leeds training ground needs to be moved from its current base at Thorp Arch, to a location which is more accessible for the younger players trying to develop at the club.
“One thing that is wrong at this club is having the academy at Thorp Arch,” said Cellino.
“The academy is 30 miles away and that doesn’t help Leeds kids to go and train there. It doesn’t help Leeds to grow homegrown players. It doesn’t allow less wealthy families to take their boys to training.”
“We need the training ground in the middle of Leeds. At Thorp Arch you feel like you’re in a different place. Leeds used to be at Elland Road with the training pitch was just by the ground (on Fullerton Park). That’s a beautiful thing.”
His first point makes perfect sense and will please players trying to get a break at the Leeds academy, if the change can come about quickly.
A more accessible facility will not only widen the pool of players Leeds can take into their youth system, it strengthens the identity that local kids and families have with the club, which can only breed positive things.
Having a facility near to the ground would also help the youngsters training at the academy to have a physical reminder of what they are working towards and what they are trying to achieve.
The report from the YEP also points out that Leeds spend £600,000 per year to use their current training facilities, which is money they could save if they developed another complex which they owned outright.
The YEP points out that Leeds don’t have the option of buying Thorp Arch which means they will always be spending money on renting the training facilities for as long as they are located there.
Cellino often gets criticised for the way he thinks and talks about Leeds, but in this case he makes perfect sense.