Thorp Arch (training ground)

Last updated
Thorp Arch
Location Thorp Arch
Coordinates 53°55′05″N1°20′15″W / 53.917995°N 1.337521°W / 53.917995; -1.337521 Coordinates: 53°55′05″N1°20′15″W / 53.917995°N 1.337521°W / 53.917995; -1.337521
OwnerAnthony Calvert Ltd
TypeSports facility
Built c.1994 (The Grange and training pitches)
2000 (The Barn)
Opened c. 1994 (The Grange and training pitches)
2002 (The Barn)
Construction cost£5 million (The Barn)

Thorp Arch is the training ground of Leeds United. Located in the village of Thorp Arch, near the town of Wetherby, the site covers 12.1 hectares. The facility consists of three sections: The Barn, The Grange and the training pitches. Presently, none of the sections are owned by Leeds United, but the Barn and the training pitches are leased to the club. Leeds' under 18s and under 16s sides currently play their home games on the pitches at Thorp Arch.

Leeds United F.C. English association football club

Leeds United Football Club is a professional football club in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City F.C. by the Football League and took over their Elland Road stadium. They play in the Championship, the second tier of English football.

Wetherby town in West Yorkshire

Wetherby is a market town and civil parish within the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, in West Yorkshire, England, close to the county’s border with North Yorkshire. The town stands on the River Wharfe, and for centuries has been a crossing place and staging post on the Great North Road midway between London and Edinburgh.

Hectare Metric unit of area

The hectare is an SI accepted metric system unit of area equal to a square with 100-metre sides, or 10,000 m2, and is primarily used in the measurement of land. There are 100 hectares in one square kilometre. An acre is about 0.405 hectare and one hectare contains about 2.47 acres.



Thorp Arch was the brainchild of Howard Wilkinson, who became manager of Leeds United in 1988 and realised that the club needed a modern, purpose-built training facility. [1] At the time, the club trained on Fullerton Park, the area behind the West Stand at the club's stadium, Elland Road. [2] In the early nineties, the club started searching nearby land where the new training ground could be built. The club settled on Thorp Arch and quickly built several pitches. A section called The Grange was also built, providing changing rooms, offices and accommodation for the academy players.

Howard Wilkinson is an English former footballer and manager, and has recently stepped down as a non-executive Director at Sheffield Wednesday after previously relinquishing the chairman role to Milan Mandaric.

Elland Road stadium

Elland Road is a football stadium in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, which has been the home of Leeds United FC since the club's formation in 1919. The stadium is the 14th largest football stadium in England, and the fourth largest outside the Premier League.

In 2000, the club vacated The Grange in order to start work on a new £5 million state-of-the-art youth academy and training facility. The move saw the academy players move in with local families. The new academy was opened in 2002 and was named The Barn. It featured a number of new facilities including an indoor pitch, a swimming pool, a gym and new changing rooms. [2]

However, the club soon encountered financial difficulties. In July 2004, The Grange was sold to Sterling Investment Properties Limited, a company owned by David Newett, a businessman from Wetherby. [3] [4] As part of the deal, the club were obliged to support any planning application made by Sterling for The Grange over a period of fifty years. Six months later, The Barn and the training pitches were sold to Barnaway Limited, a company owned by Manchester-based businessman, Jacob Adler for £4.2 million, with the option of a re-purchase before 10 October 2009 for £5,828,131. [5] Barnaway leased the facility back to the club for twenty-five years, with the club due to pay annual rent of approximately £430,000, rising 3% each year. [5]

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, also referred to as Capital of the North West with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.7 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.

In September 2009, club chairman Ken Bates announced that the club were in talks with Leeds City Council regarding the council re-purchasing the facility from Adler for and leasing it back to the club. [6] The following month, it was announced that the club and the council had agreed terms regarding the lease with the option for the club to obtain the freehold of the facility after fourteen years when all council debt has been repaid or earlier by negotiation. [7] The deal would also see the club make Thorp Arch available for training during the 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Kenneth William "Ken" Bates is a British businessman, football executive and hotelier. He was involved in forming the Premier League, the development of Wembley Stadium and is the former owner and chairman of football clubs Chelsea and Leeds United.

Leeds City Council Local government body in England

Leeds City Council is the local authority of the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It is a metropolitan district council, one of five in West Yorkshire and one of 36 in the metropolitan counties of England, and provides the majority of local government services in Leeds. Since 1 April 2014 it has been a constituent council of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

2012 Summer Olympics Games of the XXX Olympiad, held in London in 2012

The 2012 Summer Olympics, formally the Games of the XXX Olympiad and commonly known as London 2012, was an international multi-sport event that was held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, United Kingdom. The first event, the group stage in women's football, began on 25 July at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, followed by the opening ceremonies on 27 July. 10,768 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated.

In the summer of 2013 new Leeds United manager Brian McDermott made a series of changes [8] to Thorp Arch including the main training field measured to the exact length and width of the pitch at Elland Road, an extension of the sprinkler system used at Thorp Arch and a “better flow” to the grounds including mixing the first team and development squads. The physio room was also moved downstairs.


The Grange, which was only operational by the club from its opening in the early nineties until the turn of the Millennium, accommodated the academy players, offices and changing rooms.

The site has eight full-size grass pitches and two all-weather pitches. Several of the pitches are floodlit.

The Barn, which replaced The Grange in 2002, contains a reception, a café, offices and changing rooms. It also houses the following top-class facilities:

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  1. Hayes, Alex (8 Sep 2002). "Howard's way works well in the Leeds generation game". The Independent. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
  2. 1 2 Sutcliffe, Richard (18 Sep 2009). "Council gives Leeds United its best result for some time". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.[ dead link ]
  3. Scott, Matt (14 Dec 2004). "Fears of Leeds training ground house sell-off". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
  4. Hay, Phil (12 Sep 2008). "Why Thorp Arch is a pressing concern". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
  5. 1 2 Hay, Phil (10 Oct 2008). "Council gives Leeds United its best result for some time". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
  6. "Thorp Arch Statement". Leeds United. 19 Sep 2009. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
  7. "Thorp Arch Agreement Edges Closer". Leeds United. 2 Sep 2009. Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
  8. "Leeds United: Mac has own grounds for concern over Thorp Arch". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 10 June 2013.