Bodymoor Heath Training Ground
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The site was purchased from a farmer by the then Aston Villa Chairman Doug Ellis in the early 1970s.
The ground is situated near Fazeley, in the Tame Valley, by the side of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, a short distance from Drayton Manor Theme Park and Middleton Hall. It lies close to The Belfry Golf Club, Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve and Kingsbury Water Park, just a few hundred metres from the M42 link to Tamworth and Birmingham.
Many of the past and present Aston Villa players have taken up residence in the area, one of the more rural parts of the Midlands, enabling them speedy travel to training sessions.
Although Bodymoor Heath was state-of-the-art in the 1970s, well advanced from the previous training facility in Trinity Road, Aston, by the late 1990s the facilities had started to look dated. This prompted then-Villa manager John Gregory to criticise Ellis, stating that he believed he was "stuck in a time warp", citing the Chairman's reluctance to invest.
Planning permission has also been a significant problem in the club's intent to modernise both the training facilities and the ground itself, and it wasn't until November 2005 that Ellis and Aston Villa plc announced an £8 million redevelopment of Bodymoor in two phases which, it was said, would bring the now antiquated facilities up to the standard of the best in the world. Before the team's largely disappointing 2005-06 Premier League performance, Ellis had revealed that the club had budgeted for 10th-12th place. However, they finishing 16th, and as a result the development came to halt, having already been scaled down from its original plans.
Once Randy Lerner purchased the club in September 2006, the club announced that work on the redevelopment of Bodymoor Heath would continue but with revisions and upgrades of the original plans resulting in a doubling of the initial proposed costs . The new training ground, designed by HB Architects, was officially unveiled on 6 May 2007, with the Aston Villa squad moving in for the 2007-08 Season.