The new home of Aberdeen FC is taking shape – and the Evening Express has been given a sneak peek one year after work began.
It was 12 months ago that Dons boss Derek McInnes and chairman Stewart Milne broke the ground at the Kingsford site – and much has happened since.
When the £50 million project is complete on the land alongside the A944 there will be a 20,000-seater stadium and training ground complex with community facilities.
Phase one of the project includes the construction of a training pavilion, groundsman’s accommodation and three professional training pitches – one grass and one hybrid – all which will be used by the team.
It also includes two 3G pitches and two grass pitches – the latter mainly used by Aberdeen Football Club’s Community Trust.
Phase two includes the stadium and its infrastructure. That work cannot begin until planning obstacles, such as building a footbridge over the A944, have been overcome.
One of the newest features of the site is the hybrid pitch, which combines the best features of a grass surface with the durability of a 3G pitch.
The pitch has now been drawn out and floodlights installed.
Project manager Raymond Edgar said he was pleased with how things are progressing
He added: “The grass seed has germinated and will be regularly treated with liquid fertilizer over the next three to four weeks.
“The pitch will then be ‘stitched’ in mid-August with artificial nylon grass fibres. It should be ready by the end of September.”
Work is also ongoing to lay two 3G pitches.
Mr Edgar said: “The ground is being levelled and prepared for the carpets being laid in September. Perimeter fencing will be erected before then.
“Fibre sand is being used as a base for sowing grass seed in the hybrid pitch and two grass pitches – all three of these pitches will be used by the professional team.”
Mr Edgar said the club is going the extra mile to ensure players are fuelled for success – and the Dons have appointed a catering firm that has worked with the likes of English Premier League champions Manchester City and Champions League finalists Tottenham.
BaxterStorey UK will work from the training pavilion when it opens in the autumn.
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Headed by the catering firm’s registered associate nutritionist, Rosie Cadogan, the company will work with the club’s catering team and use the latest in sports nutrition and scientific knowledge to help the chefs curate well-balanced, nutritious menus.
Miss Cadogan said: “It’s no secret we are what we eat and football players as athletes need to have a good diet to maintain peak physical and mental health as well as helping to ensure top performance on the pitch.
“We’ll be using fresh and local produce to provide each member of the team with a healthy and balanced diet.
“It will include five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as well as a selection of plant- based produce, dairy and meat protein sources, wholegrain carbohydrates and healthy fats.”
She added: “The meals will mostly be the same for each player but the composition on each plate might be different. One player may have more or less carbohydrate, protein or fat, depending on their nutritional needs compared to a team-mate.
“We’re not just focused on the training campus, we’ll also be advising the team on healthy choices at home.
“Nutrition has a huge impact on performance and endurance.
“We’re hoping to not only have a positive impact on the team’s health and wellbeing but also on match performance too.”
The state-of-the-art kitchen facilities at Kingsford are approximately double the size of those currently available at Pittodrie.
The club’s head of sports science and fitness Graham Kirk said: “Nutrition is now an important part of modern-day football.
“It can help optimise performance by providing fuel, helping muscles recover and grow and bolster immune system against illness and infections.
“The demands of training and matches requires the players to replace their energy expenditure with good nutritious food.”