Leeds United on the move? Council open talks to build city centre training ground

Leeds City Council is to discuss the possible construction of a new city-centre training ground for Leeds United.

An aerial view of Leeds United's training ground at Thorp Arch

The council’s board will meet next Wednesday, October 18, to review a recommendation that it opens talks with United about building a training complex and community sports village on two sites close to Elland Road.

An executive report submitted has urged the council to engage United and the club’s owner, Andrea Radrizzani, over the relocation of the club from its current home at Thorp Arch near Wetherby.

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Council officials have identified the former site of Matthew Murray High School, which closed in 2006, on Brown Lane in Holbeck as a potential hub for United’s first team and academy players.

Fullerton Park car-park has been earmarked as a potential destination for a training ground

Officials also want to use the Fullerton Park land adjacent to Elland Road to create a Community Sports Village and a base for the Leeds United Foundation. Both pieces of land are council owned.

A statement read: “If approved by members of the council’s executive board, the council and club will open talks regarding the former home of Matthew Murray High School in south Leeds potentially becoming the club’s official training facilities for senior and academy players.

“A separate site at Elland Road’s Fullerton Park, which is also owned by the council, has been identified by the club as a potential base for a ‘Community Sports Village’. Used also by the academy for week-night training, this site would become primarily the hub of Leeds United Foundation’s wide ranging sporting and educational programmes and would support the club’s aim to be at the heart of the local community.”

Leeds’ complex at Thorp Arch was first opened in 1994, however, Leeds sold the facility on a sale and leaseback agreement in 2004, raising just over £4m at a time when the club were facing mounting debts.

The site of the former Matthew Murray High School in Holbeck

United pay an annual six-figure rent in excess of £600,000, a sum which increases by three per cent annually. A buy-back clause on the property expired in 2009

Thorp Arch is in the hands of Jacob Adler, the Manchester businessman who owned Elland Road until Radrizzani bought the stadium back for around £20m in June.

In response to the council’s announcement, Leeds’ managing director Angus Kinnear said: “We thank Leeds City Council for their consideration.

“We have an ambitious vision for Elland Road and the surrounding area as a centre for elite development and a thriving community sports hub.

Fullerton Park car-park has been earmarked as a potential destination for a training ground

"Our partners at the local council fully understand the extent of the impact a successful Leeds United can have on our city and that any progress we make will be done so in consultation with the local community.”

The site of the former Matthew Murray High School in Holbeck