Manchester United are one of the world’s most famous football teams and have a prestigious training ground complex in Carrington. The Red Devils owe their legendary former manager, ‘Fergie’, for the complex he sought to build to bring the club up to date for the 21st century.
The club’s board backed Sir Alex Ferguson and built a new base 10 miles from their stadium, Old Trafford. It marked their move from The Cliff, which had served as Manchester United’s training ground ever since 1938. It is also home to the Red Devils’ revered academy setup.
Manchester United training ground name
Manchester United’s training ground is officially called the Trafford Training Centre. But the complex is commonly referred to only as Carrington. It has also previously been known as the Aon Training Complex due to sponsorship between 2013 and 2021.
The Red Devils’ deal with the American insurance giant was worth £15m a season, per BBC Sport. But fans refer to the site as Carrington as a nickname from its location in Carrington. It is in the village and civil parish in the metropolitan borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester.
Manchester United began construction of the Trafford Training Centre in 1999 and moved the first-team in during 2000. Construction work of the area designated for the Red Devils’ academy finished in 2002.
Old Trafford chiefs have funded a number of expansions and improvements to their training ground since its grand opening. Further changes are also expected later this year to keep Carrington up to standard in comparison to their rival clubs.
How many pitches are there at the Trafford Training Centre?
The Trafford Training Centre uses 85 acres of a 108-acre plot of land that includes 14 football pitches. It features 12 grass and two synthetic turf pitches of varying sizes.
Carrington also has a state-of-the-art indoor training centre. While players have access to a gym, a swimming pool and a medical centre, as well.
Manchester United trained at ‘The Cliff’ prior to Carrington
The Trafford Training Centre became Manchester United’s permanent base after a lengthy period using The Cliff. Ferguson sought to move away from the sports facility in Broughton, Salford to bring the club up to speed for the times and to improve privacy from rival scouts.
Manchester United also used North Road in Clayton as the club’s first training ground in their early years. They later agreed to move to The Cliff in the 1930s but continued to train at Old Trafford until 1970.
Yet The Cliff became Manchester United’s full-time training base to protect the pitch at Old Trafford. But ahead of the 21st century, Ferguson felt it was no longer up to the standards the club required to stay competitive.
Manchester United’s Trafford Training Centre was among the best in the world for much of its existence. Its blend of floodlit training fields, heated AstroTurf pitches and also a separated goalkeeper area cemented its place. While the academy have their own designated building.
Ferguson’s brainchild is also equipped with an array of state-of-the-art equipment and resources these days. These all allow the club’s army of coaches to closely track their players’ progress and performance.
Manchester United also take into account the local wildlife at their training ground. The Sun reported back in 2022 that the Red Devils had installed special hoods over the floodlights to protect endangered bats that live there following a specialised report.
Plans to develop Manchester United training ground
Manchester United are also set to continue redeveloping their Trafford Training Centre over the summer of 2023. Head coach Erik ten Hag has made an array of improvements since the Dutchman took over in 2022 following the club opting against moving to the Tatton Estate.
Reports by The Sun in March 2022 noted that Manchester United had chosen against a move to the Cheshire site owing to the £200m price tag required to build their brand new, state-of-the-art training ground.
Red Devils chiefs felt that the cost of purchasing the land alone outweighed the gains from changing sites. Manchester United had explored leaving the Trafford Training Centre as it has fallen behind the facilities that Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur now enjoy.
But Ten Hag is now planning further redevelopment works at Carrington in the near future, also per The Sun. Manchester United plan to revamp their training ground with the addition of a new wellness suite as part of a multi-million-pound investment project.
This year’s works follow Manchester United’s £5m investment after hiring Ten Hag in 2022. The Telegraph reported the Red Devils splashed out on new pitches along with modifications to their pool and gym after work on a new restaurant and dining area.