Liverpool Football Club today celebrates the opening of the new AXA Training Centre, 722 days since construction began.
The landmark occasion was commemorated by the installation of a steel time capsule at the new facility, containing artefacts related to the club’s rich history and some of the experiences and people who have made it what it is today.
It is hoped that the time capsule will be opened in 50 years with the aim of showing future Reds players, colleagues and the local community the breadth and strength of the team who have created the success behind the LFC badge and offer supporters an insight into what the club is like in the present day.
The capsule was placed outside the visitors’ entrance to the facility and is marked by a special plaque set in granite paving.
The opening of the AXA Training Centre marks a new chapter in the club’s illustrious history. Designed by architects KSS, with input from key club personnel, Liverpool’s vision has been brought to fruition by civil engineering contractors McLaughlin & Harvey.
The new 9,200sqm AXA Training Centre creates a combined first team and U23s facility, each of which has its own identity. It boasts three full-size pitches, goalkeeping and warm-up areas, and indoor facilities fit for Premier League champions, including two gyms, a full-size sports hall, pool, hydrotherapy complex and specialist sports rehabilitation suites. It also includes dedicated TV studios, press conference facilities and office accommodation.
Andy Hughes, LFC’s managing director, said: “We started this project over two years ago, marking a significant milestone in the history of this great football club.
“After saying a fond farewell to Melwood last week, we are excited to start a new era at the club, bringing our first team and Academy operations and facilities together on one site for the first time in history.
“There have been so many people involved in making this great project happen – it is impossible to thank them all as individuals. Our first-team manager Jürgen Klopp, sporting director Michael Edwards and Academy director Alex Inglethorpe have been instrumental in turning plans into a reality. We must also thank Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and local residents for their continued support throughout the delivery of this extended project.
“Whilst we would have liked to have celebrated this historic moment together, ensuring public health, safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.”
Klopp said: “Today is a really special day for the team – it has been a long time coming. There has been a lot of steps, meetings with architects, designers, everybody.
“The facility is great and whoever has the chance to visit will be impressed. It is a wonderful building – you have everything you need now and for the future. It’s pretty much perfect.”
Ulrike Decoene, chief communications, brand and corporate responsibility for AXA Group, said: “I am very proud about this new chapter in AXA’s partnership with the legendary Liverpool Football Club, marked by the official opening of the team’s new training ground.
“So far, the results generated by our partnership with LFC are extremely positive, both in terms of brand awareness but also employees’ pride and engagement. The time capsule with the AXA training kit will convey to future generations the common vision and values this partnership was built upon.”
Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “We are delighted that LFC has chosen Kirkby as the location for this wonderful new training facility.
“We are also pleased that in addition to these remarkable new facilities, the club has also invested – with us – to also improve the sporting facilities available to our local community. The upgraded community pitches and new Pavilion are already being extensively used and not just by youth teams but also veterans and ladies too – something we really want to build upon.
“For local people, football is simply part of their DNA. Knowsley is the birthplace of three European Cup-winning captains. So, having Liverpool Football Club training here in Kirkby is a huge thing for local people. We wish the club every success in these fantastic new surroundings.”