Opened in October 2007, Finch Farm, located in Halewood, south Liverpool, represented a great leap into the future by Everton. It marked the end of a 60-year association with the Bellefield training facility, which by the end of its existence was showing its age. It also incorporated the vastly expanded academy, which had previously occupied a shabby, temporary facility in Netherton.

THE £14 MILLION 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 floodlit, along with an additional floodlit synthetic pitch and specialist training areas for fitness work and goalkeepers. There is also an exact replica of the Goodison pitch.

David Moyes heralded its opening, saying the new facility ‘shows the signs Everton are making progress’. He added, ‘We are determined to bring ourselves up to date with all the things the players require, and it is certainly good. Most clubs have got the facilities so we had to get it.’

Development of the site took 150 weeks including pitch construction and landscaping. It was according to Everton ‘a massive undertaking’ with ‘69,000 ceramic tiles, 68,000 concrete blocks, 4376 carpet tiles, 550 tins of paint, 265 tonnes of steel and 1400 cubic metres of concrete used on a building that boasts 6410 square metres of space for the academy and first team to utilise’. The complex was funded through a leaseback scheme, with Everton effectively paying annual rent until the middle of the century.

EVERTON’S chief executive Keith Wyness said at the opening: ‘We’re proud of the facility we now have at Finch Farm. Bellefield was ground-breaking when it was developed in the 1960s but times have changed and, in this modern era, it was vitally important to ensure we had the very finest training complex for the first team.

‘Everton has always been a club intent on innovation and moving forward. Being able to now boast one of the most advanced training facilities in world football maintains that tradition and further underlines our determination to continue the great progress made on and off the field in recent seasons.’

In 2012, the Everton supporter’s trust, Trust Everton, announced long-term plans to try to buy back the lease on the complex.