David points out that the centre will be the finest of its type in the country and is part of the board's vision and committment to grooming our own players in superb surroundings.
WHEN CONTROL OF the club passed over to the new board, one of the first and most important points that they emphasised was their commitment to youth.
In the present climate, with the financial uncertainty regarding future media monies, never has that pledge been appropriate for all clubs.
To have players progress to first team football from the youth system one needs a quality recruitment policy, an excellent and sympathetic coaching staff and a club that doesn't simply pay lip service to promoting youngsters into senior team positions.
It is not easy to be brave in the modern game, where 'winner takes all' and the only thoughts are of winning the major prizes. But in order to maintain a team that has a chance of winning these prizes, and sustaining success, the heart and fabric of a team must come from players who have loyalty and feeling for the club.
It is with these factors in mind that the board progressed the idea of looking to expand the training facilities and areas for our Academy. Chigwell, which has been an excellent centre since 1994, has now under the new FA Academy regulations been unable to sustain the amount of playing areas that we require.
Also, as club Premiership clubs have expanded with more staff and experts in different fields, the floor space in the buildings has proved insufficient.
In seeking land the club looked at many sites. In nearly all cases there was a drawback forcing us to abandon plans. Finally the owners had the initiative to enter into talks with Abridge Golf Club, based in a beautiful area roughly six miles from Spurs Lodge.
On May 9, the Abridge Golf and Country Club committee will sit and hopefully approve the provisional agreement. This will be the first stage of an exciting new era for our club should detailed planning permission be granted.
If the land is agreed and sanctioned and we are able to achieve planning permission, we are looking to be re-housed in a quality site that would set the standards for others to follow. Currently, Blackburn, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Manchester United have Academy sites to be admired.
They contain the amount of pitches required to be able to facilitate the needs of the 9 to 16-year-old age group teams before they join the club and the 16 to 19-year-old boys that have joined the club as Academy graduates. Hopefully, they then go on to become professionals at the age of 18 or 19.
On Sundays alone, this club puts out eight teams at each level from the age of 9 to 16. Four teams are usually at home and four away. In simple terms we need at least four Academy pitches on any one weekend.
Add to that all the work that goes on in aiding the community and looking after our own professional players, who number around 40 to 45 at any one time, and the senior Academy boys who number around 30.
This whole structure requires sound administration and excellent people who can tutor correctly.
It is hoped that our site will be a state-of-the-art training centre that will secure the future of Tottenham Hotspur for generations.
Ever since Tottenham sold Cheshunt for land development, the club has, in my view, not achieved according to its status, tradition and potential. The nineties were a tough period and it was not surprising when we had to, until 1994, hunt around in search of training areas.
In the modern game, with so many millions of pounds at stake, we must put the base of our pyramid on a firm footing.
The club have a commitment that, in order to re-challenge at our rightful place at the pinnacle of the British game, we need to produce even more quality boys to add to the number that have already broken through into our team or been sold profitably to other clubs.
If we achieve our aims it is hoped that our Academy and first team set-up will all be housed on the same site.
While we understand that there may be hurdles to straddle in a project of this magnitude, we will pursue our plans and hopefully the end result will be a model to be strived for by the wider footballing fraternity.
Director of Football David Pleat explains the thinking behind and need for our proposed new training centre that will be housed at Abridge, subject to planning permission being granted.