Finch Farm Day Trip, 7 April 2009
I was fortunate to be invited to tour Finch Farm and Goodison courtesy of Barclays. The day started at 11am at Everton’s Finch Farm Complex. First impressions were that the complex is impressive and the surroundings impressively managed. Sat in the reception was Yakubu who I believe was waiting to see Mick Rathbone and David Moyes.
We were then given the opportunity to watch members of the first team training on one of the first-team pitches. Most players had gone into the gym as we were informed that a few had bumps that needed looking after. James Vaughan and Castillo were practicing shooting at Carlo Nash. After watching first hand the power of JV’s shooting, I would say his surgeon has done a fantastic job. When JV left the pitch he was given the ball to practice some “big kicks”.
On the opposite side of the pitch, Alan Stubbs was training reserve/youth team defenders. It was like watching Jags/Yob/Lescott et al, the drill was just like watching the first team defend from free-kicks/crosses. I was informed that all players are drilled in the Everton way of playing in case they are required. As I glanced behind me, I noticed Andy van der Meyde leaving training to go home, first out of training. All other players were in the gym.
The tour was very impressive but I thought I would highlight a few features of Finch Farm
- 3 mile running track surrounding the complex for – includes hills purpose built for running over
- First team pitch used the day before matches that is an exact replica of Goodison
- Astroturf pitch which is the same as the pitch Russia used. We walked on it and it felt like turf
- Goakeeper training area
- World Class Gym
- Indoor Pitch
- Multiple Academy pitches
- Various Pro–Zone rooms / physio etc
At a question-and-answer session with David Moyes and Phil Neville, DM mentioned he was shown Finch Farm within one week of joining EFC and at the time is was a vast space. Walter Smith had wanted to redevelop Bellfield because LFC had done a good redevelopment job of their training ground. This was insufficient for DM.
Moyes has a big hand in designing Finch Farm. It is fair to say it his baby. It has his hallmark all over. The way the staff act and dress is professional, DM has an office overlooking the first team pitch and has access to watching all activities taking place at Finch Farm. DM sets the professionalism of the place and all staff work to this level.
A few questions were asked:
[Andrew's account of the Q&A with David Moyes has been removed at the request of the Club — Editorial Team]
Questions to Phil NevilleQ: Have you had a friendly debate with your friends in Manchester following the tackle on Ronaldo?
A: Yes, I won the ball and it was a fair tackle. The Man Utd lads are ashamed of how they reacted, they also realise it cost them the points, Rio’s head went and it affected his game.
Both then stayed for pics and autographs. We then left for Goodison (around 1pm), most players were leaving. Osman was doing radio interviews, Yakubu was still sat in reception waiting watching Sky Sports News.
Then we left for Goodison, dinner in the Dixie Dean suite — very nice; Tour of Goodison — and we were told no pictures.
Overall it was a fantastic day and I cannot stress how good Finch Farm is. One down side is that it is very windy and does affect the ability of the players to play the ball in the air. This may explain why we are now able to pass the ball! David Moyes wants 300 Conifers to stop the wind. This has been declined by the council who wants the club to apply for planning permission.
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