Former Liverpool players Robbie Fowler and Jamie Carragher have teamed up to ensure football continues at the club’s old Melwood training ground by announcing a new joint academy for the site.
The Reds first team vacated their long-standing home in the West Derby area of the city in August. They moved into a £50m purpose-built facility on the site of their own academy in nearby Kirkby. Regeneration group Torus took ownership of Melwood and developed ambitious plans for a mixed-use affordable and sustainable housing scheme with community connections.
As part of that the Fowler-Carragher Academy will take on operational responsibility for the existing building, which will host a college offering new training and educational opportunities for youngsters across the city and wider region.
Swim! and Beth Tweddle Gymnastics, led by Olympians Steve Parry and Beth Tweddle respectively, will also launch a sporting hub from the facility.
“Partnering with Torus to kick off the new chapter in Melwood’s history was a natural fit for the Fowler-Carragher Academy and our mission to give local kids and young people opportunities to aspire and succeed,” said Carragher and Fowler, whose professional careers were nurtured and shaped at Melwood.
“We are extremely excited to provide the unique offer of a fantastic education alongside a professional football programme backed by sport science experts.
“Melwood will provide the opportunity of extending our offer and creating a beacon of national excellence, which we set out to create in 2015.”
Tweddle added: “I know Melwood’s sporting heritage occupies a strong place in Liverpool’s heart. That is why we jumped at the chance to be involved in this project, providing gymnastics and swimming for the local community in a world-class facility.”
Torus is also working with the Professional Footballers’ Association to explore further options, including supported housing at Melwood for ex-footballers with dementia and other care needs.
“We are pleased to support this project in principle, with particular regard to looking after those of our former members in need,” said PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.
“We hope Melwood could become a national blueprint for such supported housing projects.”
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp was happy with his Liverpool side after they managed to wrestle control of the game from Manchester United on Thursday.
Klopp says Liverpool got to grips with Fernandes
The Reds won 4-2 at Old Trafford to keep their top-four hopes alive. But they had to recover from an opening goal from Bruno Fernandes.
Klopp said: “Great fight, good game, intense – all derbies should be – and my first win at Old Trafford. Good timing I would say. We needed it. We deserved it. All good.
“Top goals. We reacted really well to their goal. We were unlucky in that moment. Bruno Fernandes, we let him go inside. It was unlucky in the centre but the defending in that moment was not good.
“We didn’t do that well in the first 15 minutes. But then we got control and we could play the way we wanted to play.
“It was good. All good performances. Our two centre-halves were a little shaky at the beginning of the game with passes. But then did a really good game. Trent was in proper shape tonight and played pretty much everything.
“They couldn’t chip the ball through to Bruno Fernandes any more. Step by step we got control of the game.”