Manchester City’s new youth development and first team training centre – the City Football Academy (CFA) – was recently opened by former manager and captain, Tony Book.
The unveiling of the 80–acre regenerated brownfield site, adjacent to the Etihad Stadium and part of the wider 200 acres known as the Etihad Campus, was overseen by Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and the Right Honourable George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer during his visit to the city.
Also present were the leaders of three local businesses that provided services and products under the heading of major contracts during the construction of the site. One of these was our own Managing Director, Neil Cousins.
Proceedings also included the unveiling of Etihad Avenue, the central street of the CFA and named after the primary partner of the Etihad Campus, Etihad Airways. The sign that was unveiled to mark this historic moment was just one of an overall package of CFA signage and branding supplied and installed for the football club by The Image Group.
The final part of the tour saw the Chancellor visit the First Team building where he viewed the magnificent new facilities on show.
Speaking of his visit, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
“I am a strong believer in improving sporting facilities for young people, which is why I am delighted to oversee the opening of the City Football Academy today. The partnership between Abu Dhabi United Group and Manchester City Council is a benchmark for public private partnership, driving investment into the North of England and developing projects where business and the community benefit.”
City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak added:
The cornerstone of the future, was a vision for youth development and sustainability. The vision was underpinned by an unwavering commitment to the regeneration of the local area in both economic and environmental terms.
The project, which has the overwhelming support of the local community, was underpinned by ambitious local recruitment and supply chain targets both of which were achieved, significantly up-skilling the local community and making a positive economic impact on the surrounding area. 80% of the project budget was spent in the North West with 883 contracts awarded to local companies.
Speaking after the event, Managing Director Neil Cousins said:
It’s a huge privilege to be working for such an ambitious organisation as MCFC. The owners of Manchester City Football Club have shown their unrelenting commitment to the City of Manchester both on and off the field for the last five years. Happily, we share their strong values of consistent excellence and a drive to be the best we can be. Providing the complete package of signage and interior branding to this incredible facility has been a milestone in my own career. We are so grateful to the club for their continuing loyalty to our team at Image Group and look forward to many years of future success with the club”.