The village home of the European finalists

Gooners: Arsenal stars Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Cesc Fabregas train ahead of the Champion's League Final

Gooners: Arsenal stars Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Cesc Fabregas train ahead of the Champion's League Final

First published in News by

The village of Shenley was in the eye of a media storm last week as Arsenal Football Club opened the doors of their training ground headquarters to the world's media ahead of their Champions League final against Barcelona.

Interest was further intensified by the announcement earlier in the week that Arsenal's 17-year-old prodigy Theo Walcott would be included in the England squad for the World Cup in Germany.

Journalists, photographers and TV camera crews from across Europe and beyond descended on the north London club's impressive training facility off Bell Lane, Shenley, for a last glimpse of players and staff before their heartbreaking Champions League defeat on Wednesday night.

In 1999 Arsenal were given permission by Hertsmere Borough Council to expand their training facilities, which lie on Green Belt land backing on to Clore Shalom school in Shenley.

The Arsenal Men's Training Centre', to give it its official title, is a swanky, modern facility set in 143 acres of land.

It boasts ten full-size training pitches with some of the best playing surfaces in the country, six changing rooms, a steam room, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, treatment rooms, massage baths and a restaurant.

A purpose-built press briefing centre was opened at the start of the 2004/5 season, with ten interview rooms and space for up to 100 journalists.

Since moving to the facility from their former training site next door at University College London's sports ground, their home since 1961, they have enjoyed one of the most successful periods in the club's history.

They have landed two Premiership titles, and three FA Cups, and were this week just 14 minutes away from winning the European Cup in their first ever appearance in the Champions League final.

This has been an historic year for the club in more ways than one, it was their last played at Highbury stadium, their home since 1913.

Next year they will move to the 60,000 all-seater Emirates Stadium in Ashburton Grove.

Arsenal's Ladies team, who were crowned Women's FA league and cup champions earlier this month, play their homes games at Boreham Wood FC's Meadow Park ground in Broughinge Road, Borehamwood, and run the Arsenal Ladies Academy for promising youngsters at Oaklands College, near St Albans.

The men's side are expected to take on Boreham Wood FC in a pre-season friendly match this summer, continuing the tradition of recent years.

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