Liverpool Football Club has today (17 Nov) officially celebrated the opening of the new AXA Training Centre in Kirkby.
The landmark occasion was commemorated by the installation of a steel time capsule at the new facility, containing artefacts related to 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 LFC 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 present day.
The capsule was placed outside of the visitors’ entrance to the facility and is marked by a special plaque set in granite paving.
The new 9,200sqm AXA Training Centre creates a combined first team and U23 Academy facility, each of which has their 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.
Commenting on the opening of the AXA Training Centre, Andy Hughes, Managing Director, Liverpool Football Club 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 be 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 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.”
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool FC First Team manager commented: “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!”
In addition to the main Academy development the project has also seen a major investment from LFC and Knowsley Council into community sporting facilities on the adjacent Eddie McArdle playing fields. This has resulted in 5 full size grass pitches, a new Pavilion Building with changing facilities and social space, enhanced lighting and security, improved landscaping, new cycle ways and pedestrian footpaths and the provision of additional car parking.
Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration & 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 been 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.”
What is in the time capsule?
- A letter to future Liverpool FC fans, colleagues and the Kirkby community from the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group.
- A pair of Jürgen Klopp’s iconic glasses.
- ‘Our story so far’ – 125th year commemorative book.
- A special edition 125th Anniversary coin.
- ‘Melwood Through Time’ – a specially commissioned book to celebrate the First Team’s previous historic home of Melwood, including a collection of photographs from the late 1950s to present day.
- 2019 Champions League final home shirt signed by the playing squad.
- 2019 Champions League final programme signed by the playing squad.
- A 2020/21 season Nike Home Shirt featuring the Reds’ Principle Partner, Expedia on the sleeve.
- A 2020/21 season AXA training shirt with a special message on behalf of the club’s Official Training Partner printed on to the shirt. It also includes a second message on the reverse of the shirt from one lucky fan about their love for Liverpool FC.
- A matchday programme from the Liverpool FC vs Chelsea game on Wednesday 22 July 2020, when the club was crowned 2019/20 Premier League Champions.
- A signed pair of boots donated by Virgil Van Dijk.
- A signed pair of goal keeping gloves donated by Alisson Becker.
- A letter from Vicky Jepson, Liverpool FC Women’s manager to future Liverpool FC Women’s fans.
- A copy of the matchday programme and team sheet from Liverpool FC Women’s first WSL game held at Anfield – Liverpool FC Women vs. Everton, Sunday 17 November 2019.
- A combined squad photo featuring Liverpool FC Men and Women’s teams.
- A collection of squad photos of every playing squad at the club’s Academy.
- A signed picture of Sir Kenny Dalglish with a special tribute to Melwood Training Ground.
- A special tribute to those who tragically lost their lives during the Hillsborough Disaster on the 15th April 1989 – a reprint of 30th Anniversary matchday programme front cover.
- An original 1969 12” vinyl record – THE KOP CHOIR.
- An LFC Foundation pennant.
- A small boxed limited-edition pin badge from Mighty Red, the club’s official Mascot.
- 2 x LFC branded USB sticks containing video content including:
- Messages from First Team Manager – Jurgen Klopp, Club Captain – Jordan Henderson, Liverpool FC Women’s Manager – Vicky Jepson, Academy Director – Alex Inglethorpe, LFC Sporting Director – Michael Edwards, Non-Executive Director – Sir Kenny Dalglish, LFC Ambassador – Ian Rush, Chair of Forever Reds – John Aldridge to future Reds fans.
- The club’s 125th anniversary commemorative video.
- LFC’s ‘This Means More’ campaign video.
- Footage of Liverpool FC being crowned 2019/20 Premier League Champions.
- ‘This Was Melwood’ mini feature film on Melwood’s history.
- A special community thumb print tree created with local schools in the Kirkby Area as part of our Community programme Red Neighbours.
- A special print of the ‘We are Liverpool. You Are Our Champions’ community murals located in Anfield and Kirkby. The murals were specially designed by local schoolchildren and care home residents following the club’s Premier League title success.
- A pair of pin badges from Spirit of Shankly, Liverpool FC Supporters Union, and a set of stickers, and silk scarf from Spion Kop 1906 which represent our fans.
- A staff roll of honour including the name and department of all LFC employees as of 1st Jan 2020.
- A colleague gift to celebrate our 2019/20 Premier League win featuring 967 staff.
- A copy of the plans of the new training ground signed by KSS Architect, David Kierle.