Academy training facility

Indoor training facility opens

by Stuart Vose

New addition to Academy of Light officially up and running.

Sunderland have unveiled their new indoor training barn at the club’s world-class Academy of Light HQ.

The state-of-the-art facility was officially opened by Sir Trevor Brooking last Friday at a special event attended by dignitaries from around the football world and beyond.

The indoor arena features the latest in synthetic pitch technology and is the final piece of the jigsaw at the Academy of Light, which has long been a leading training facility.

Guests, including Sunderland chairman Ellis Short, were treated to displays from an army of Sunderland youngsters aged from just five all the way up to the senior under-18 players.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne said: “We are so proud and privileged to have this indoor facility, which complements the great Academy we have.

“We needed this facility – we had recognised that for some time – and it will play a fundamental role.

“We’re very proud of the fact that so many dignitaries wanted to come and allow us to show off what we have here.”

Sunderland had already been awarded Category One status – the highest certification possible under the new EPPP regulations.

And the development cements the Academy of Light’s place amongst the very best of its kind in the world.

The facility, which took around nine months to build, is the culmination of years of work in the background – something Academy manager Ged McNamee describes as a “real team effort”.

“We’ve waited a long time for this day,” he added. “There’s lots of hard work gone on behind the scenes across different departments of the club.

“With the weather conditions here it’s essential we offer a facility like this to the Academy players the community.

“We have always had a good facility here – this rounds things off and makes it much more flexible.”