training ground in Salford, evolving with the times and ensuring the players have state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to work with is essential.
“The Cliff played its part in the beginning – there’s no doubt about that,” Sir Alex adds. “Sir Matt had The Cliff built back in the 1950s, but [by the 1990s] it was too small for the progress that the club had made. Although we did a lot of development of the indoor space in terms of dressing areas for the Reserves, it still wasn’t big enough.
“For quite a while [former secretary] Ken Merrett and I used to hunt around Manchester looking for old bits of ground – we looked at Heaton Park, actually we looked at where City’s ground is now – until we got a wee break and a lad called John Tomlinson, who was in property, worked out a deal with Shell for this place [Carrington], and it’s been fantastic.”