Cardiff City open new £8m Academy

Aaron Ramsey is a poster boy for the Academy, having come through the ranks before returning this summer

Aaron Ramsey is a poster boy for the Academy, having come through the ranks before returning this summer

CARDIFF CITY have officially opened their new £8m Academy, returning their youth set-up to within the city limits in Llanrumney.

The opening sees the Category Two Academy move from its previous home at the University of South Wales Sports Park in the south-east of Pontypridd back into Cardiff.

The 16-acre site, which is within Cardiff University’s playing fields in the east of the city, features a tier-two 3G football facility, a floodlit 3G IRB-standard rugby pitch and a floodlit IRB/ FIFA-standard 3G pitch that is dual marked for football and rugby.

In addition, there is a two-storey block with offices, classrooms, lecture theatres, canteen, changing facilities, analysis suites, player care rooms and a 3G indoor pitch. This is a redevelopment of the structure that used to house the BBC’s 'Doctor Who Experience'.

The Academy project is a collaboration between Cardiff Council, Cardiff University and Cardiff City House of Sport. The Llanrumney-based sports clubs will have priority community access to the 3G facilities on preferential terms and rates.

Cardiff City CEO Ken Choo said: "We have been planning this with (owner) Vincent (Tan) and the club for quite a while and it’s good that’s materialised. It’s a brilliant week for us.

"It’s not just investment today, but investment over 10 years. Vincent has always been supportive of project, he’s been here during the development and is very excited. It’s a big step for the future of the football club."

Cardiff City Board member Steve Borley has been the one overseeing the project. He said he hoped it could help to inspire the next Aaron Ramsey. The midfielder came through the ranks at the club before returning this summer.

"It’s been a long journey for me," Borley said. "I got involved in the youth development and creation of centre of excellence 25 years ago, so to get to this stage, I wouldn’t have dreamt of it.

"It’s always great to see youngster coming through, every City fan likes to say, ‘He's one of our own.’ Ramsey coming back has been fantastic, equally seeing youngsters like the Colwill brothers (Rubin and Joel) come through is exciting, Isaak Davies, Joel Bagan, too.

"He (Ramsey) came here the other day and joined in with the foundation group and the kids were just amazed they were playing alongside him. He has an affinity to this club, he's demonstrated that, and although a lot of people doubted his reasons for wanting to come, he's been absolutely genuine."

Manager Erol Bulut added: "It’s a great facility. When I was playing, we had nothing like this. It’s great for the young players, everything comes from hard work so they still have to do that, but we will have an eye on the academy to get some more players into the first team.

"I’m not sure he had something like this, to work hard, to get more Ramseys on the pitch, or the Colwill brothers, everything goes through hard working. I heard that they already have a place in mind, but when they will start it I don't know, perhaps we could have some sessions here! If I was a young players coming in to see this very day I would give at least 50% more."

Cardiff also plan to open a fully operational new training ground for the first team. It is currently in the preliminary stages of development and is due to be held under a 150-year lease.

The initial hope was that the training ground could be completed in time for the start of the 2025/26 season, although this is under review.

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