QPR confirm deal to acquire training ground

QPR: Loftus Road

QPR are planning a phased move to their new training ground after confirming the club are acquiring a site in Heston.

West London Sport revealed in May that Rangers were abandoning their proposed building of a training ground at Warren Farm, then revealed the Heston site had been identified as an alternative, and later revealed a deal  was close.

And Rangers announced on Monday that contracts have been exchanged with Imperial College, which currently owns the site on Crane Lodge Road.

It was previously owned by British Airways and is commonly still known as the Concorde Club despite being renamed Heston Venue.

QPR already have a presence at the site – the club’s academy teams are based there.

Imperial also own Rangers’ current training ground, at Harlington. Both facilities are close to Heathrow Airport.

‘Significant step forward’ for QPR

The current plan is for the first-team squad to begin using the new training ground once new pitches have been laid there.

Portakabins are then likely to be used at Heston as QPR begin using it as a base while upgrading the facility, which is 27 acres – more than double the size of the training ground at Harlington.

The lease at Harlington expires this summer and will be renewed, giving Rangers time to arrange a gradual transition to the Heston site, which will also house the club’s academy.

“This is a significant step forward for the football club,” chairman Amit Bhatia told QPR’s website.

“If you are looking to move a club forward in the long term then investment in its infrastructure is absolutely fundamental.

“I appreciate our fans are sick and tired of hearing about proposed new training grounds, and training-ground updates – but this is the most significant update we have ever been in a position to provide.”

‘Ongoing commitment’

The club’s majority shareholder Ruben Gnanalingam and fellow vice-chairman Tony Fernandes said the news underlined the owners’ commitment to the club.

It comes after eight-and-a-half years of legal wrangling led to the Warren Farm project being ditched following a series of objections from local residents.

“This is fantastic news,” Gnanalingam said.

“The next step for us now is to engage further with the London Borough of Hounslow and discuss our aspirations to upgrade the quality of the pitches and redevelop the existing buildings.

QPR vice-chairmen Ruben Gnanalingam and Tony Fernandes
Gnanalingam and Fernandes took over QPR in 2011

“We also remain committed to working closely with Ealing Council to assist them in providing community projects at Warren Farm.

“During these very challenging times we hope this move demonstrates the ongoing commitment we as a board have towards QPR, a football club we care very passionately about.”

Fernandes said: “When the opportunity presented itself to acquire the freehold of Heston Sports Ground earlier this year, we had to give it serious consideration, and ultimately this is the correct path for us to take.

“The current condition of the pitches means we will be able to house the first team there far sooner than if we had taken a different route.”