NEW Brighton & Hove Albion boss Sami Hyypia was given the ideal welcome to the club – a new training ground.
The American Express Elite Football Performance Centre opened at Lancing’s Mash Barn Lane last week.
It will offer 14 pitches in total – five for the first team and development side, seven for the academy sides and a community pitch.
Hyypia’s side reported back for fitness testing on Thursday and Friday last week, before they began pre-season training on Monday.
Albion’s boss said: “It’s a great facility and it will be great to get to work here.
“But this facility alone will not bring us the success we need.
“The side still needs to put the right amount of work in.”
The new base is reported to have cost £30 million and will see the first team, development side and academy all train in the 40-acre state-of-the-art complex.
The former Liverpool man is looking forward to getting into his new role. Speaking on Monday, he said: “It’s the first day out on the training pitch and I’ve been really looking forward to this moment.
“Now it’s happening, I’m very happy.
“It now gives me a chance to look at the players’ strengths and weaknesses and how the squad is.”
The former Finland international is firmly focused on the upcoming season and is hopeful his side will have a successful year.
He said: “I think everybody here at the club knows where we are aiming.
“The ambition is there and we are working very hard to make sure that we can fulfill these aims.
“But I know that in football it is not always easy.
“You make a plan, you have targets and dreams but they do not always come true.
“But I’m sure everyone will give 100 per cent. Hopefully, one day, we will be happy and achieve these aims.”
Albion executive director Martin Perry added that the training facility had received a positive response from Albion’s players.
Speaking on the club’s website, he said: “The feedback has been absolutely tremendous.
“I genuinely believe it’s far better than the players ever expected and we’ve had comments like ‘Premier League’, ‘superb facility’, ‘unreal’ and ‘unbelievable’.
“They’re absolutely delighted and they now have a base to push on to the Premier League.”
A community pitch, which is nearing completion, will also be available for the local community. The club have applied to install floodlights and, once its completed, the pitch will be used by local clubs and groups.