A Spectacular End of Year Visit to St George’s Park
To mark the end of the semester, we embarked on a trip to one of the UK’s top footballing destinations – St Georges Park, the FA’s brand new footballing headquarters, and home to all things England. After previous trips to Hampden Park, Wembley and the National Football Museum, SGP had a lot to live up to.
We arrived at about 9.30, and I have to admit, the scenery definitely didn’t disappoint. SGP is set on a 330 acre plot of land, surrounded by farms and fields. The main complex itself is something every football fan dreams of – pure quality football pitches spread around the area, just enticing you to have a kick around. We drove past the hotel, which looked more James Bond than James Milner, and straight up to the main building.
Everyone was itching to get their boots on and have a match, but there were more pressing matters at hand. We were welcomed by the Managing Director into an incredibly impressive sports hall, with a huge England badge on the floor, and once again the urge to have a kick-about was back.
Julie Harrington, the Managing Director, had took 3 of her staff from different parts of the company, Holly Glover (commercial), Nick Baker (learning) and Pete Maxwell (PR & Comms), out of their busy schedule to give us a detailed explanation of their role within SGP. They gave us a taste of how the place runs on a day to day basis, and answered any questions we had. The talks lasted over an hour and were incredibly informative, giving us all an insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
After the talks it was time for a tour of the complex. We were taken first to the home changing room, just as impressive as Wembley, and then on to the reception area. The walls here were covered in a spectacular Umbro design of over 100 football shirts, designed to commemorate The FA’s 150 years. Next up was the state of the art gym, then the final stop on the tour was the impressive Wembley standard 3G pitches, where the England team themselves train. The pitches were like carpet, and it was evident that each pitch was looked after to the highest standard.
The final part of the day was what everyone had been looking forward to the most – the chance to play football on the same pitches that some of the best players in the world train on. Everybody who played had a brilliant time, and there was plenty of the grounds to explore for everyone who didn’t play.
All in all, a fantastic day was had by everyone who attended. The place itself is on a different level to any other training facility in the country, and it was obvious that a lot of hard work had gone into setting a place like St Georges Park. Most of the students who went would do anything to get the chance to go back, and with the news of a potential internship there in the future, some of us may even be lucky enough to call SGP work one day!