Blackpool FC set for long-overdue return to Squires Gate training ground

Squires Gate training ground pictured this afternoon
Squires Gate training ground pictured this afternoon

Blackpool are to finally return to their Squires Gate training ground next week, manager Terry McPhillips has revealed.

READ MORE: Squires Gate pitch battle for boss Terry McPhillips as Blackpool look to leave Preston training base

The Seasiders have been using Fulwood Amateurs’ Lightfoot Lane base since pre-season due to the playing surface at Squires Gate being considered unfit.

It was former boss Gary Bowyer who took Pool to the other end of the M55 to train only to resign days into the season.

But the pitches at Fulwood, used by a number of teams, have also started to cut up, leading McPhillips to search for alternative options.

But the pitches at Squires Gate have now been cut, holes have been filled in and the players are set to return next week. The plan is then to train there in the short term and see how the pitches hold up.

“It’s a bit better, it’s better news than last week,” McPhillips told The Gazette.

“I’ve been there this afternoon and extensive work has been done. I think we’ll be going back there on Monday.”

The club’s Squires Gate training ground has long been the talk of players and managers alike at Bloomfield Road, with Ian Holloway once describing the facility as a ‘hellhole’.

Former Blackpool and England international Trevor Sinclair also 
described it as a ‘disgrace’ with the facilities long being a point of ridicule for the club.

In 2016, former Pool boss Neil McDonald claimed one of the pitches at Squires Gate had been underwater for a "couple of months".

In July last year, bulldozers were brought in to demolish the dilapidated buildings at Squires Gate.

In August, in an interview with BBC Radio Lancashire, club chairwoman Natalie Christopher said: “We’re going to do the best we can at the moment to get it back up and running again and as soon as we are financially settled, this will be the first thing to invest in.

“I think we can get some showers and a few basic things in there in the short term.

“When, as I say, we’re financially in a position to do so we will put it first on the list because it’s overdue, isn’t it?

“I think we will be there (Fulwood) for another month or so and then we’ll hope to bring the lads back here. Then we can look to do something about the problem longer term, as it needs quite a bit of investment.”