The Club and its Craven Cottage home are indelibly linked but in recent years a second base in Surrey has taken on an increasing prominence.
Motspur Park was established as the Club's permanent Training Ground in 1999 and in the period since it has grown into a state-of-the-art sporting facility and the central location for over 150 members of staff.
Much like Craven Cottage, it has developed while retaining the charm and character of its 1920s origins as a sports ground for the University of London.
The University spent £18,000 to acquire what was then unspoilt countryside and almost as much again on levelling and drainage works that helped to establish Motspur Park as a top class facility.
Its athletics track quickly gained a reputation as one of the fastest in the country and it was here that Sydney Wooderson set a world mile record of 4:06.4 in a handicap race.
Although the cinder track is long gone, its curved sweep remains a feature of the present Arena Pitch, as indeed does a home straight that accounts for the large divide between the near touchline and the stand.
The Arena Pitch is commonly used for First Team training sessions and Under 21 Squad fixtures and the stand has been extended to provide a restaurant, players lounge and medical facilities.
Five other playing surfaces are numbered (anti clockwise) around the site, with an Astroturf area providing the final piece in the Motspur Park pitch puzzle.
The First Team training pitches are fibre-sand based and major works are carried out each summer to maintain a high calibre playing surface. The Club Academy is based and play fixtures at Motspur Park. In partnership with the Fulham FC Foundation, the Fulham Deaf Team and local groups also make regular use of the facilities.
It is not only Fulham's own stars who have graced the pitches at Motspur Park. As the range and quality of facilities has increased, so too has the number of external visitors to the Training Ground. A number of international teams have held training sessions at Motspur Park, including Brazil, Colombia, England, South Korea and Sweden, often ahead of international fixtures at the Cottage.
In recent years training camps for the Soccer Aid charity matches have also heralded the arrival of an array of famous players, musicians, politicians and celebrities. Film crews have also set the cameras rolling, capturing scenes for motion pictures including The Games (1970). The arena stand was used in the film Chariots of Fire (1981) which was produced by Dodi Fayed.
In November 2016, Fulham Football Club welcomed visitors to its Motspur Park Training Ground, to showcase its new and much enhanced elite training centre, funded entirely by Chairman Shahid Khan. The improvements, in line with the Club’s commitment to maintaining its crucial EPPP Category One status, are the result of an extensive build period and the collaboration of national and local governing bodies to achieve a state of the art complex, with amenities not only utilised by the First Team footballers and Academy, but also by the wider local community.
The Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) is the result of consultation between the Premier League and its clubs, representatives of the Football League, the Football Association and other key football stakeholders and is a long-term strategy with the aim of developing more and improved home-grown players.
An official plaque commemorating the occasion was revealed in the all-weather dome – a protected range of training pitches optimising year round use – by Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman of the Premier League and Ged Roddy, its Director of Football Development.
Fulham Football Club Foundation is a leading community charity building better lives through sport by providing meaningful education, employability, health, inclusion, environmental and sport programmes; with a commitment to empowering the most vulnerable members of the communities in which it works, including: Lambeth, Merton, Kingston, Hammersmith & Fulham and Surrey.
Utilising the training ground facilities, the Foundation will deliver the practical element of its Football and Education programme, including, but not limited to:
Alistair Mackintosh, Chief Executive at Fulham Football Club, said: “It has taken a lot of hard work from many people to deliver on the master plan for the Motspur Park facility and they all deserve our thanks. However, the principal driver behind all of these improvements is our Chairman, Shahid Khan, whose commitment to the Football Club reaches far beyond First Team football, but into the very heart of what makes Fulham so special; its commitment to the past, the present and the future. By generously funding the extensive project of works, the Fulham team has a first class facility to train, our envied Academy can prosper, and the community will benefit from the excellent programmes our Foundation delivers. It is an accomplishment everyone involved with the Club should be proud of.”
Huw Jennings, Academy Director, said: “Maintaining our Category One status has an immeasurable impact on the Fulham Academy and one that is vital to our future success. We boast many impressive accomplishments with player development at the Club over the seasons which would not have been possible without both financial support, but also the belief in our methods and values as an Academy, and these facilities and our Cat 1 status are integral to ensuring we continue to progress.”