Plymouth secure permanent home for Academy as they prepare for Cat 2
Written by Training Ground Guru — March 2, 2023
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE have secured £21m of investment to provide a permanent home for their Academy as they lay the foundations to go Category Two.
Currently, Academy staff operate out of club offices in Home Park and lease pitches owned by Plymouth City Council.
Now the club have struck a deal with the Argyle Community Trust, City Council, Plymouth Albion RFC and Devonport Community Leisure Ltd which will see £21m invested in rejuvenating the Brickfields site in Devonport in the heart of the city.
There will be a focus on “community health, wellbeing and raising aspirations,” the Devon club said.
There is an initial agreement that the Academy site will include:
- An improved suite of playing pitches including three grass football pitches. Also replacement of an existing grass rugby training pitch with a new 3G pitch.
- A new purpose-built Academy building, including classrooms for scholars, office space for Academy staff, changing rooms, a gym and parents’ lounge.
- A new floodlit 3G football pitch to replace a poor condition (currently closed) hockey pitch.
- A new, covered 3G football pitch.
- Conversion of the existing 60m x 40m rubber crumb pitch to two PlayZones exclusively for public use.
- Better site access and parking. Opening up of the site for community paths.
A new community hub, operated by the Argyle Community Trust, will also be developed. The site will also become the permanent home of the Argyle Women’s first-team.
The offering will “significantly exceed” what is presently available for the community at Brickfields, including education and employment programmes, adult education, wellbeing support, a dedicated space for youth services, a soft play centre, affordable gym and community café.
The club have also committed to offering a “generous programme of community usage” on specific pitches.
An £11m investment will be provided by existing Argyle shareholders, with a further £7.3m coming via the Argyle Community Trust through sport and community development grant funding.
The remaining investment will be provided by Plymouth City Council, funded by savings made on the site by handing over management responsibility to the club. The Council will retain ownership of the site, leasing it to the entities involved on a “very long, nominal rent.”
Work is due to begin at Brickfields early in 2024, subject to necessary approval.
Director of Football Neil Dewsnip said: “This is another very encouraging development for the future of Argyle. In parallel with work to develop the first team site at Harpers, the foundations for a sustainable conveyor belt of local talented footballers – developed the Argyle way – are being laid, right in the heart of the city.
“Combining these aspirational facilities with a brand-new community facility will be an outstanding accomplishment, and one everyone in the city can be proud of.”
Plymouth placed 31st in TGG's Academy Productivity Rankings for 2021/22, making them the third highest Category Three club, behind only Bolton and Exeter.