EXCLUSIVE: QPR Chief Executive hints at location for new training ground
Beard says ‘two or three’ sites are being looked at close to the club’s current facility
QPR Chief Executive Philip Beard has revealed the club could move to a new training ground ‘a couple of miles’ from their current facility in time for the start of next season.
Beard and QPR chairman Tony Fernandes are keen to keep any new ground within close proximity to their base in Harlington, and have identified several potential sites in the area.
The Rangers CEO, who was appointed by Fernandes in August, insists upgrading is crucial if QPR are to compete successfully in the Premier League in the coming years, and believes that if the land can be secured, the club could aim to complete a move in time for the 2012-13 campaign.
"At the moment we’re putting together a plan to do two things,” Beard told London24.com.
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"One is to improve the facility we have got in the short term, because you can’t have a training ground overnight.After that, we’re looking at two or three options.
"The main criteria will be which one we can move quickest on, but the most interesting one is within a couple of miles of where we are now. I think if we can secure the land then it might be something we can move very quickly on.
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"Staying within a short distance of where we are now would have its benefits. For one, it would mean the players and coaching staff would already be familiar with the area.
"If it were possible, we’d like to be there by next season. What I don't want to do is rush it, get in somewhere and then discover we haven’t done what we needed to do.
"I've been down there with Tony and Neil [Warnock]. The important thing is to show to the current playing squad that we understand we need to do something."
Rangers have shared Harlington Sports Ground with Imperial College since July 2005, when they took over from neighbours Chelsea who moved to a �20 million complex at Cobham.
Fernandes identified improving the club’s training facilities as a major priority when he replaced Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone as majority shareholder at the start of the season.
Beard maintains that improving off-field infrastructure will be a crucial factor in the club realising their ambition of attracting top-quality players in the coming years.
Plans are also in place to transform QPR’s current Centre of Excellence into a Youth Academy, although Beard conceded that too may be reliant on new and improved training facilities.
"Compared to other Premier League clubs we don’t have anything like the facilities that we should have," Beard added.
"When we’re looking to bring new players at the club they need to know that Harlington is not the long-term facility. When we sign players one of the things they look at is where they are going to be spending 90 per cent of their time.
"The youth academy is a key priority as well, but the reality is that we can do some things at the training ground, but our ability to develop a really first-class academy is limited.
"At a new training ground a significant part of our planning would be to deliver a first-class academy."
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