We won't lose the old school feeling '“ Heaton
Burnley move into their new Â£10.6m state of the art Barnfield Training Centre on Monday.
ut skipper Tom Heaton insists the club won’t lose the heart and soul of the club in their grander surroundings.
The Clarets will move the few yards from their existing base at Gawthorpe, which was given a long-overdue renovation under Eddie Howe, having been one of, if not THE, first purpose-built training grounds in the country.
The new development is a world away from the summer of 1955, when manager Alan Brown and a number of players picked up their shovels and went about turning an expanse of farmland into three full-sized pitches, dressing rooms and a gym.
Times change, and although the move is a necessity, especially given Burnley’s standing as they look to secure their Premier League status, one only has to look at clubs moving home, in the case of West Ham moving from Upton Park to the London Stadium, requiring time to adjust.
Heaton will return from England duty to a new base, and he said: “It looks fantastic.
“I went in about six weeks ago and it looked top drawer.
“I’ve left it again since then because I want to open the door and be wowed by it.
“I’m really looking forward to moving into it.
“I think it’s a great marker to see how far the club has come and the ambition it shows.
“It looks the part and we’ll make the most of it when we’re in there.”
He wasn’t at the club to remember Gawthorpe before Howe’s upgrade, but appreciates there will be a different feel again in the new centre: “I was moved into this building here.
“It’s very functional, it’s got everything you need.
“I also think that’s important, you don’t want to go too far where it’s all luxurious and glamorous and you lose that feel.
“It’s not what we’re about and the manager makes that message a lot.
“You want the best facilities to give you the best platform, but you don’t want to lose that old school feeling.
“You’re there to get the best out of yourself, you’re there to work and do a job to the best of your ability, and I think they’ve found that balance really well over there.”
To that end, Heaton, as skipper, has had his say about the players’ requirements: “There was a bit of input from the players for the dressing room, and then a bit of a discussion, we’ll call it, for where people sit and the best seats, which was an interesting afternoon!
“But we’ve managed to sort all that out and we’re looking forward to moving in there.”
Asked how the seating arrangements panned out, he joked: “I had the sheet to go round, so I went to my favourites first then to the others!
“There was a little debate but we got it sorted, there’s a few spare spaces in there.
“It’s massive in the changing room.
“It doesn’t really matter where you sit. We’re all looking forward to moving in.”