School of Science
Everton FC's state of the art training complex
Halewood, Merseyside, L26 3UE
|Owner||Liverpool City Council|
|Type||Football Training Complex|
Everton Men’s Pan-Disability Team
Everton Men’s Deaf Team
|Opened||9 October 2007 (open 12 years)|
The School of Science is the nickname given to the complex by some supporters, referring to a long-standing nickname for the club. The training ground houses both the Everton first team and the youth academy. The first team squad officially moved to the complex on 9 October 2007, some time behind the target date of pre-season. Plans were drawn up for the Cheshire County Council owned site in 2002.
Everton originally tried to find land in Liverpool but eventually settled on the 55-acre (220,000 m2) site, off Higher Road and Finch Lane in Halewood. Some Halewood residents fought the plans as the training complex and academy was built on greenbelt land.
USM Finch Farm was acquired in 2006 by Everton who later sold the land on for £2.1 million and then had it developed to the club’s specification by developers ROM Capital (an arm of the aAim Group) who as of March 2010 are known as Hudson Capital Properties.
On completion, USM Finch Farm was valued by ROM Capital at £17 M. Everton signed a 50-year tenancy agreement with ROM Capital for USM Finch Farm. Everton have an option to purchase the site every 5 years.
Between the 2006/07 and 2007/08 financial accounts' "Other Operating Costs" increased significantly from £11.7m to £21.1m. The club largely attributed this rise to USM Finch Farm in the club's Financial Review in the annual report:
"Further significant increases in operating costs were also incurred in the year following the opening of the new USM Finch Farm training facility. The additional operating costs compared with those incurred at Bellefield are seen as a necessary investment to provide the appropriate training facilities required by both first team players and academy players at a Premier League club of Everton’s standing."
On 8 July 2016, Liverpool City Council announced that £4m will be spent on improvements on the training grounds. Although the council sees this investment to be a good move; the move is facing many criticism because there is a lack of information about the investment and also many have questioned the use of tax-payer's money.
Structure and facilities
The facility boasts some of the finest training facilities in the world, and features 10 full-size grass pitches on three plateaus, one of which is a floodlit along with an additional floodlit synthetic pitch and specialist training areas for fitness work and goalkeepers, as well as an exact recreation of the pitch at Goodison Park. Inside the training complex there are extensive changing facilities for both the senior squad and the Academy players. The state-of-the-art facilities on offer will arguably make Everton a big draw for future signings and should also provide a boost in the development of the club's Academy players, with the facilities including the following:
- Synthetic indoor training pitch
- Hydrotherapy pools
- Physiotherapy rooms
- Media centre
- Video lounges including a video editing suite
- "Plans for new football academy". Liverpool Echo. 26 September 2002. Retrieved 26 September 2002.
- "AFL Architects". AFL Architects.
- "Finch Farm" (PDF). AFL Architects.
- Weston, Alan (16 October 2009). "Inquest hears how labourer preparing Finch Farm site for visit by Everton FC died after guard rail gave way". Wirral News. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- "Everton takes 50 year lease at training ground". propertyweek.com. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
- "Annual Report and Accounts 2008" (PDF). evertonfc.com. 2008. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Everton Training Complex". DTZ. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Finch Farm under new ownership". ToffeeWeb.com. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Liverpool council to spend £4m on Everton training complex". BBC. 8 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.