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West Brom move into their new £1.3m base

Sandwell | Sport | Published:

West Brom's academy today officially moved to its new £1.3million base directly opposite the Hawthorns.

The Baggies' youth set-up moved into the site in Halfords Lane after more than six months of renovation work.

The club have converted the former Tom Silk Building, which housed the Albion Foundation until last year, into dressing rooms and classrooms.

And an area of car park between the new academy building and the Baggies' indoor pitch has been turned into a state-of-the-art artificial outdoor surface to be used by the club's talented youngsters.

The work in Halfords Lane is part of an overall project worth £2.5million to upgrade academy facilities, with money also being spent on pitches at the Great Barr training ground.

And West Brom have committed £3million a year from now on to fund player development after being awarded category one status – the highest ranking – in the Premier League's new Elite Player Performance Plan.

Sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said: "The new facilities are part of the club's wider investment in the academy.

"We are endeavouring to create the best environment in which to develop and nurture young talent.

"When the Premier League saw our plans for the redevelopment of the Halfords Lane site, they described it as 'the creation of a footballing hub' – and we believe that is exactly what we have achieved."

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The new building will house the Baggies' 20 academy staff and will be used by more than 200 players aged between six and 18, whose academic education takes place at the neighbouring Sandwell Academy School.

Baggies academy Manager Mark Harrison said: "We now have fantastic purpose-built facilities located on one site.

"We also have Sandwell Academy School, where our players enjoy a full-time programme, right on the doorstep.

"The world-renowned football club academies talk about creating a family feel. We have got a really good family culture at the club already.

"Now we have a central hub where we can endorse and develop even further the work we do."

The new building also houses medical rooms, offices and parents' meeting rooms while the Albion Foundation has relocated to a new base close to the Hawthorns.

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