Newcastle United have submitted plans to upgrade their training ground - and Eddie Howe has explained why it’s such an important step.
During Mike Ashley’s nearly 15-year ownership, the club’s training facilities often epitomised the chronic lack of investment by the Sports Direct tycoon.
Since being opened in 2002 - bar a lick of paint - Benton has remained untouched and as a result, in a lot of areas, become extremely outdated.
However, as of last week, the Magpies finally submitted planning permission to North Tyneside council to extend and upgrade their current facility.
It was a promise kept by the new owners, with the future ambition to build a brand new state-of-the-art training ground. In truth, upgrading the current building is a short-term fix, but it is one that still has cause for excitement.
A purpose-built hydrotherapy pool - inspiration taken from Manchester City and Chelsea - is perhaps the standout facility, while new sports science, player changing, dining and analysts rooms will also be built, along with an extended patio overlooking the training pitches.
“It’s hugely important,” Howe said when asked about the proposed improvements. “Your day-to-day environment is so important.
“We’re trying to attract world-class players to the club and in doing so you need to give them an environment that matches their status.
“I think the grass and the playing facilities are excellent here but the building itself definitely needs updating.
“Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly and we can make those adjustments during the summer with a longer-term plan of moving training ground.
“However long that takes, I don’t know. Certainly, (there’s) ambitious plans, but it’s what the club needs to sustain where the club wants to go in the future.”
Howe was consulted about what upgraded are needed to the current building.
The 45-year-old said: We’ve looked at the plans and made tweaks and changes based on what we see and want always with the players’ benefit in mind.
“You want to create an environment that flows right, that’s conducive to interaction between themselves and staff.
“I’m really excited by what the building will eventually look like. Timespans and how quickly we can get it done – that’s always the challenge.