A dream inspired by their famous Emirates FA Cup heroics will soon come true for Lincoln City FC, as the club offered the first glimpse inside their upcoming state-of-the art new £1.3million Elite Performance Centre.
606 days since The Imps’ 2016-17 giant-killing campaign was finally ended by Arsenal at the Quarter Final stage, the prize-money legacy of that run was revealed yesterday at the site of a new training facility set to offer huge opportunities for current and future generations. The site-tour came after The FA doubled the prize fund for clubs competing in the 2018-19 Emirates FA Cup to £30.2m, providing critical support for clubs throughout the football pyramid.
The brand-new Elite Performance Centre, which will become the training home to Lincoln City’s First Team squad, was directly funded by Emirates FA Cup prize money earned across their historic campaign which captured the attention of the nation two years ago. After reaching the Third Round Proper, the then Vanarama National League side claimed the scalps of Ipswich Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley en-route to the Quarter Final, before a courageous defeat against the eventual winners Arsenal.
The first look inside the facility was provided by First Team managerial duo Danny and Nicky Cowley and Lincoln City CEO Liam Scully, who escorted Andy Ambler, The FA’s Director of Professional Game Relations, on a tour of the new 12.3 acre site. Also present was centre forward Matt Rhead, an instrumental member of the 2016-17 squad, and recent youth team graduate Ellis Chapman.
The development, set to be fully operational before the end of month, includes three elite grass football pitches, a fully equipped gymnasium, changing rooms and new staff offices. As well as the 400m² main building, the training ground features two specialist TV towers that will enable the club’s technical staff to film and analyse training and matches in real-time.
Also included is an innovative sprinkler system, boasting 55 water sprinklers that can be activated remotely from anywhere in the world, and an additional new groundcare building to protect the ground staff’s equipment.
Andy Ambler, The FA’s Director of Professional Game Relations, said: “We are very proud to be here on what is an exciting day for Lincoln City Football Club. It is terrific to see that the £1.3m earned from their Emirates FA Cup run has been used in such a way, creating a true legacy, the benefits of which will be felt for generations to come at this forward-thinking club.”
“This facility is a prime example of just how impactful prize money can be, which is why we were so delighted to double Emirates FA Cup prize fund this season. This will deliver increased support for clubs at all levels of English football, and we wish them the very best of luck for this campaign.”
Danny Cowley, Lincoln City’s First Team Manager, said: “This is a huge moment for Lincoln City Football Club, and I can’t wait to get stuck into training here with the squad. I still reflect on our 2016-17 Emirates FA Cup run with a lot of pride, and this brings back a lot of those feelings. This new facility is going to be a fantastic legacy to that achievement, but most importantly it will play a big role in nurturing the future talent of this club.”
The activity took place ahead of this weekend’s Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper fixture, with Lincoln City hosting fellow Sky Bet League Two outfit Northampton Town at Sincil Bank. As part of the improved prize money available during the 138th edition of the world’s original domestic football competition, winning clubs throughout the First Round Proper stand to receive £36,000.
To find out more about this season’s prize fund, please see here