Diamonds to go full time and train at Ravenscraig
30th January 2016
Airdrieonians FC have announced that the club will switch to full-time football next season.
The ambitious League One side have clinched a three-year deal with North Lanarkshire Leisure to use the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Centre as their new training base from June 2016.
And the Diamonds, now under the guidance of highly-respected Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black, will have both their first team and the Under-20s prospects working hard throughout the day to improve their skills in state of the art facilities.
Chairman Tom Wotherspoon - who bought a controlling interest in the club last summer - said: "When I became involved in Airdrieonians last year I said it was my intention to invest in areas of the club that were sustainable and brought a long term benefit to the Diamonds.
“The move to full time football allied with us moving into one of the best indoor facilities in the country goes a long way to meeting these objectives.”
Airdrieonians join the Scottish Rugby Union as top sports organisations using Ravenscraig as their full-time base.
North Lanarkshire Leisure Business Development Director Ian Murdoch negotiated the deal with the Diamonds and he stressed: "Tom, Iain and Eddie met with Blane Dodds, our Chief Executive, and myself several months ago, and outlined their ambitious plans for taking the club forward.
“Blane and I were impressed by the Chairman's vision and determination to take many aspects of the club onto a higher level.
“Being a North Lanarkshire based club we were delighted to support that vision, and agreed to accommodate Airdrie FC at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Centre, as one of several organisations now based at that venue.”
Ravenscraig has a full-size indoor pitch with outdoor fields also available and the Airdrieonians players will also have full use of swish gyms and strength and conditioning zones.
The club will also base their match analysis and off-field operations in offices at Ravenscraig.
It’s a dream environment for coach Wolecki Black who said: “When you look to improve your club you look at the best clubs in the country.
“You then try to take the best practices from those clubs and meld them into your own Club.
“Celtic at Lennoxtown, Rangers at Murray Park, Hearts at Riccarton, Hibs at East Mains - all of these clubs train away from their stadiums in superb environments.
“Now thanks to the vision of the chairman and the partnership with North Lanarkshire Leisure we have one of our very own.”
Airdrieonians will continue to play their home matches at the Excelsior Stadium in their hometown.
The move to Ravenscraig, though, means aspiring Diamonds players have the chance to win a full-time contract to improve in magnificent sporting surroundings.
Airdrieonians Chief Executive Iain King said: “We have placed a lot of emphasis on the development of players from the Academy upwards since Tom took over the Club.
“This is the bedrock of that philosophy and it’s a huge opportunity for the players in the first team right now and those who dream of being there.
“From 11.30am to 5pm every day they will live and breathe the game in a place purpose-built to make you better at the sport you love.”