Affordable housing provider Torus takes ownership of the historic Melwood, training ground for a host of Liverpool FC legends over the past 60 years. Tony McDonough reports
Affordable homes provider Torus has taken ownership of Liverpool FC’s historic Melwood training ground.
Located in the middle of West Derby, Melwood has been the club’s training ground since before Bill Shankly become manager more than 60 years ago. Liverpool legends such as Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes and Steven Gerrard all trained at the facility which helped breed one of the world’s great footballing dynasties.
Curent manager Jurgen Klopp and his team left Melwood for the final time this week and will now take up residence at their new £50m first team training complex at Liverpool FC’s academy in Kirkby.
Now Liverpool-based Torus, which manages 40,000 homes in Merseyside and across the North West, will now build new homes at Melwood. It is still in consultation with local residents so the final plan has not yet been decided.
Chris Bowen, managing director of Torus Developments, said: “Melwood has been at the heart of West Derby for more than 70 years and we want to ensure that it remains there for generations to come.
“But it’s always sat behind closed doors. We want to open those doors and give Melwood a new and exciting future. Local people are strongly connected to the site. We think we can deepen that connection, by really exploring the potential of the site and repurposing the existing building. We will be looking at this in consultation with the local community.
“As a housing group our vision, of course, is centred around homes and our plans will very much be tied to local need. But this is a community-focused development. It isn’t just about building houses.
“This is about ambitious, sustainable design, shared spaces where people can connect, green infrastructure that people can enjoy. This is about creating a vital community resource, a place where people flourish and that’s got to be a fitting legacy for somewhere that helped grass roots football grow.”
On the handover of the facility, Andy Hughes, managing director of Liverpool FC, added: “When the famous sliding gate closes for the last time, it will mark the ending of an era for the club.
“It’s been over two years since we started this journey and we’d like to thank everyone who has been involved, particularly local residents in West Derby for their patience during this process. It is with heavy heart that we bid a fond farewell to Melwood – our training base for the last 70 years. However, it will always be engrained in the rich tapestry of the club.”