Western United will be making a training ground A-League Men's move after having signed an agreement with Essendon Football Club.
Western United's A-League Men's squad will be making a training base move on Monday, October 18, 2021 from their previous training base at George Cross Football Club to the Australia Football League's Essendon Football Club's home base at the NEC Hangar in Tullamarine.
Western United's new training facility
- A-League's Men's first team will move to Essendon's NEC Hangar.
- Academy and future A-League Women's team will remain at George Cross FC.
- Western United is in the process of developing and construction their Wyndham City Elite Training Facility.
The move to the NEC Hangar will include United's administration staff and their men's first team. Western United's academy and future A-League Women's team will continue to train at George Cross FC with the academy also continuing to play their home games there as well.
Western United told FTBL that the move and tenancy partnership with Essendon is part of a two year deal with an option for a third. The club is in the process of building their own grounds with construction on their Wyndham City stadium starting this month.
The ambitious project includes a Wyndham City Elite Training Facility which should host both first teams and the club's academy once completed. The project though has left the club looking for temporary facilities during the development and construction process.
During the announcement of the tenancy partnership, Western United's CEO Chris Pehlivanis said the following of the new training ground partnership with Essendon :
"Our club has grown enormously over a short period of time and as a result, we needed to explore all options to accommodate both our staff and our players and their increasing high-performance needs.
"To be able to utilize the world class facility at The Hangar and bring our team together was a real attractive solution for us while we build our permanent home in Tarneit.
"Importantly we are still very committed to our existing partnership with the George Cross Football Club in Fraser Rise.
"Whilst we've had a need to expand, we have also been able to strengthen our partnership with George Cross.
"We've been with George Cross from the beginning. Many fans will fondly remember being at this venue for our first practice match and we will continue to have a presence there long into the future."
Essendon Chief Executive Xavier Campbell also welcomed Western United to the Bombers training facilities:
"We welcome Western United as partners at the NEC Hangar, and look forward to a strong partnership between the cross-code organizations over the years to come.
"The partnership will see Western United primarily utilize the community oval on our training fields, with their players and staff also accessing some of the new performance and expanded office areas.
"While this partnership will deliver important outcomes for the Essendon Football Club, providing an important step forward in our aspirations for developing a truly world class, multi-faceted sports and community precinct, it’s also important to note that the partnership and particularly the use of training facilities will have no direct impact on the operations of our football programs.
"That said, we expect the partnership over time to provide a range of opportunities for growth as our staff and players develop relationships and identify and leverage opportunities for mutual benefit."
According to Essendon's website, the all-purpose NEC Hangar is also also partnered with Paralympics Australia since 2012. The facilities recently underwent a $21.5m expansion with the club preparing to unveil a new community, education and events centre soon.
Western United open their A-League season against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, November 20, 2021.
Western United's schedule for the first six rounds of the upcoming A-League Men's can be found using this link.