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The best £20 million United will spend this year

by Sam Peoples

Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the improvements to Carrington as potentially Manchester United’s ‘best signing’ this year.

Carrington has had a £20 million makeover this season including the introduction of state-of-the-art medical facilities.

From July 1, Carrington will officially become known as the AON Training Complex after the insurance company agreed a deal for the naming rights.

And speaking to Inside United, Ferguson feels the complex could really be a big attraction for any new players looking at the club. He said:

“As I said last year, it could be our best signing. It’s working out at about £20million that we’ve spent, but it’s given us a training facility where all the players are saying, ‘Wow, this is some training ground now.’

“It’s one of the best. And I think if any player were to come here with any doubts about where they should be, they’ll soon find out that this is a fantastic set-up.”

I agree with him. You only have to look at how Rio Ferdinand has played this season to understand how important medical facilities are to the success of any top level team in the modern game.

Last season, United topped the injury league tables and City had the least amount of injuries. This year, we have controlled our injuries a lot more – key players have spent less time on the injury table and more time on top of the Premier League table.

And the expansion of Carrington, as it will continue to be called by me, is another piece in the jigsaw for United.

Back in the 1950s, The Cliff was where players trained and youth prospects were groomed under the watchful eye of Sir Matt Busby and Ferguson has paid homage to the foundations which Sir Matt left behind.

“The Cliff played its part in the beginning – there’s no doubt about that,” he continued.

“Sir Matt had The Cliff built back in the 1950s, but [by the 1990s] it was too small for the progress that the club had made. Although we did a lot of development of the indoor space in terms of dressing areas for the Reserves, it still wasn’t big enough.

And Ferguson revealed that Manchester City’s home ground might not have been if United had decided to move fast.

“For quite a while [former secretary] Ken Merrett and I used to hunt around Manchester looking for old bits of ground – we looked at Heaton Park, actually we looked at where City’s ground is now – until we got a wee break and a lad called John Tomlinson, who was in property, worked out a deal with Shell for this place [Carrington], and it’s been fantastic.”

Carrington really is fantastic. Now that it has the state-of-the-art medical facilities, it can really call itself one of the best training grounds in the world and United should reap the reward from it in years to come.

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