How new Leeds United training ground location could help the city's poorest youngsters become future stars
A site map has been released for the potential site of a new Leeds United training ground and academy - which Leeds Council say will benefit the city's most disadvantaged young talent break through at the club.
The former home of Matthew Murray High School in south Leeds is set to be formally made available to the club as a location for the club’s official training facilities for senior and academy players in addition to a community sports hub at the Elland Road site.
As part of a council report recommending the plans to the Executive Board, the reasons for the development were outlined.
The potential location at the new site would "help create a world-renowned" academy at the "heart of the city", the report said.
This will "create a talent development pathway which is more accessible for inner city youth" according to the report.
The report said: "This position poses a number of challenges, including the inability for all young players to access the facility and the Club’s ability to invest in the existing facility, as they do not own it.
"LUFC therefore has to be mindful of the merits of investing long-term in a facility that only has a number of years left on its lease. "
"Despite LUFC currently being the most productive football academy in the UK, it is critical that the club can achieve Category 1 status to ensure appropriate development facilities for it to continue its youth talent development.
"The present location is currently a barrier for potential young talent from the poorest wards of Leeds who may not have the finances or support to travel on a daily basis to receive training and education at Thorp Arch."
The report outlined the vision of the club is their Centenary celebrations.
The report included: "As part of that vision and the Centenary celebrations, LUFC included an ambition for the partial redevelopment of the Elland Road environment to provide new, high quality training and development facilities and a base for the LUF within the City to support its community development programmes.
"The Club feel that the current state of the ground is not fitting of a Premier League stadium and the surrounding area is under developed, with areas not landscaped and has little active use or sense of place on non-matchdays.
"This in turn means the site is currently not best servicing its local community."
Leeds United's current training facilities are at Thorp Arch - a site they do not own and is 20 miles away from Elland Road.
The report, commissioned by Leeds Council, said "Leeds United play an important role in the City in terms of sporting development and also in terms of the city’s profile".
The 'Report of the Director of City Development' have asked the executive board to approve the proposals at the meeting next Wednesday (Sep 18).