Former Liverpool players Robbie Fowler and Jamie Carragher have teamed up to ensure football continues at the club’s old Melwood training ground by announcing a new joint academy for the site.
The Reds first team vacated their long-standing home in the West Derby area of the city in August as they moved into a £50million purpose-built facility on the site of their own academy in nearby Kirkby.
Regeneration group Torus took ownership of Melwood and developed ambitious plans for a mixed-use affordable and sustainable housing scheme with community connections.
As part of that the Fowler-Carragher Academy will take on operational responsibility for the existing building, which will host a college offering new training and educational opportunities for youngsters across the city and wider region.
Swim! and Beth Tweddle Gymnastics, led by Olympians Steve Parry and Beth Tweddle respectively, will also launch a sporting hub from the facility.
“Partnering with Torus to kick off the new chapter in Melwood’s history was a natural fit for the Fowler-Carragher Academy and our mission to give local kids and young people opportunities to aspire and succeed,” said Carragher and Fowler, whose professional careers were nurtured and shaped at Melwood.
“We are extremely excited to provide the unique offer of a fantastic education alongside a professional football programme backed by sport science experts.
“Melwood will provide the opportunity of extending our offer and creating a beacon of national excellence, which we set out to create in 2015.”
Tweddle added: “I know Melwood’s sporting heritage occupies a strong place in Liverpool’s heart, which is why we jumped at the chance to be involved in this project, providing gymnastics and swimming for the local community in a world-class facility.”
Torus is also working with the Professional Footballers’ Association to explore further options, including supported housing at Melwood for ex-footballers with dementia and other care needs.
“We are pleased to support this project in principle, with particular regard to looking after those of our former members in need,” said PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.
“We hope Melwood could become a national blueprint for such supported housing projects.”