THE spearhead of the National Football Centre said the opening of the £120 million showpiece was the first step in reshaping English football.
St George’s Park chairman David Sheepshanks delivered an emotionally charged speech to a packed room of the great and the good of the game as he drew to an end the opening ceremony at the new home of English football.
He described the facility as ‘world class’, but warned that the benefits would not be seen for at least a decade.
He said: “This is a very special red letter day that has been several years in the making.
“It has been a magnificent team effort from everyone at the Football Association and many others externally.
“I would like to thank the football family for all their support and thank Burton, East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire for welcoming us and the warmth of their support throughout the process.
“Extensive planning and consulting saw trips taken to English Premier League academies, foreign academies such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as similar sites for other sports such as tennis and cricket.
“The scale and scope of the project grew bigger and clearer with every single step.
“The project was deemed vital for the success of all England teams.”
The chairman took time to praise the skill of architect Alan Smith for his efforts at the site, saying that all were ‘awestruck by the adventure of his work’ when they visited St George’s Park.
Mr Sheepshanks went on to describe how the facility would be used to help shape the future of English football.
He added: “St George’s Park will be an education and training hub for the entire pyramid of football.
“We are creating a lasting legacy of teaching with the likes of Burton and South Derbyshire College, which will blossom in the long run, as well as designing a top-of-the-range sports medical department
“St George’s Park is a brand new chapter for the Football Association, perhaps even a new book without template.
“But people have to remember that the national football centre is for the long term and we do not expect to see the full benefits for a decade or more.
“We have a world-class stadium in Wembley and a world-class training facility with St George’s Park, and given time it will be a world-class combination for a winning England.”
Read full coverage in an eight-page souvenir pullout in the Mail today.
To view and buy pictures from the day, visit