Aberdeen Football Club has opened its new community sports hub, training facilities and football academy – Cormack Park.
Sir Alex Ferguson was the guest of honour at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the £12 million campus.
The facilities represent the first phase of AFC’s ambitious vision for a dynamic and inclusive football and community facility and stadium, which will positively inspire and touch the lives of everyone in the region and help the Club achieve long-term success both on and off the pitch.
Named after the Vice Chairman to mark his significant contribution to the project, Cormack Park is home to the Bobby Clark Football Academy and the AFC Community Trust.
It features a state-of-the art training pavilion, groundsman’s accommodation, three professional training pitches, two floodlit 3G pitches and two grass pitches.
• The ground remediation work and construction were completed in 13 months and involved 65,000 man hours.
• More than 4km of drainage pipework has been installed under the three professional pitches.
• 4,500 tonnes of gravel, 9,000 tonnes of sand and 4,000 tonnes of rootzone (special sand/soil mix for the grass) was used in preparation of the pitches.
• 25km of heating pipe was used for the undersoil heating on the hybrid pitch.
• 45,500km of polyethylene yarn was sown into the hybrid pitch by one of only six machines in Europe. The length of yarn is greater than the earth’s circumference. The giant sowing machine worked non-stop, 24 hours a day for a week to create the hybrid surface of real grass and artificial fibres.
There is also outdoor and indoor space for a variety of community-based sporting and recreational activities. Sir Alex said:
I am greatly honoured to officially open these magnificent facilities which are part of AFC’s broader ambition for the future of the Club, its players and its fans.
The positive impact on performance and morale of best-in-class training facilities cannot be underestimated – and these facilities are up there with some of the best I’ve seen. There is no doubt that Cormack Park will help the Club to attract, retain and develop the players and coaches it needs to compete at the highest level.
The Club has to be congratulated for pursuing the vision to develop these training facilities and taking on the significant challenge of building its new stadium on the adjacent land in order to derive greater benefits for the Club, its players – particularly the future generation – and the wider community. This will be the envy of many other Clubs, not just in Scotland.
AFC manager, Derek McInnes, welcomed the opening, saying:
Having been the manager of this great Club for over six years, it is truly an exciting day to finally see our vision for the training facilities come to fruition.
Not only will these fantastic new facilities assist us in attracting the best talent to the club, it will enable us to intensify our coaching hours and increase on-pitch time, which is crucial in the development of our players.
They will now enjoy a professional training base, offering them the opportunity to train in a high-performance environment with best-in-class football medicine, sports science and performance analysis directly on hand.
Cormack Park will allow AFC to become a beacon for footballing excellence in the North of Scotland and hopefully inspire future generations of Dons’ players and fans.
AFC chairman, Stewart Milne, expressed his delight at finally having completed phase one of the two-phase £55 million development at Kingsford. He said:
Cormack Park will provide the best environment to inspire, motivate, attract and retain today’s and tomorrow’s players, coaches and management. Our community facilities will be the cornerstone on which the Trust will be able to deliver even more for local communities in Aberdeen and across the Shire.
On completion of phase two, we will have a complex that will act as a catalyst for greater sporting achievements and events in the region and will aid our quest to be a UEFA Top 100 Club. As a focal point for our footballers and their coaches to train and interact with the community, as well as off the pitch operations, it will achieve our ambition of driving maximum socio-economic benefits into our communities through the power of and passion for football.
This progressive, modernisation strategy will lead the way in Scottish football with an integrated facility that acts as a destination and visitor attraction, forming a key part of the regeneration we are seeing across the city and wider region.