The spiritual home of Welsh football now has a training and development centre to befit the name, after a new state-of-the-art facility was opened in Wrexham on Sunday.

Colliers Park, in Gresford, which has two top quality grass pitches, a 3D pitch, as well medical analytical, educational and changing facilities, saw a host of dignitaries, including both the Chief Executive and President of Football Association of Wales (FAW) welcoming the boost to football in Wales.

Colliers Park was opened in June 1997 at a cost of £750,000, but was sold by then cash-strapped Wrexham AFC, along with the Racecourse, to Glyndwr University in 2011, with the new facility developed by them in collaboration with FAW.

Speaking at the official opening, Jonathan Ford, CEO of FAW said it was good to be back in the home and birthplace of Welsh football and that the legacy of Colliers Park had been reborn.

He said: “We certainly hope with the re-development of Colliers Park that we can play a major part in international football, both for the community and across club and national team level. The reason we are here and need to invest in facilities like this is because football is a simple sport and like most things, we often complicate them, but in its simplest form, we serve to promote, to develop and protect football. We want people to be motivated and inspired to participate in football.

“Football in Wales will thrive when our teams, including those at national level are successful, including qualifying and participating in the Euro’s and at World Cups. We need the very best, world class coaches and training facilities, such as these in Wrexham, with the great infrastructure, including by road, rail and air.”

Mr Ford went on to thank several partner organisations, without which the development would not have been possible, including: Uefa, and its very successful assistance programme called HatTrick, World football’s governing body FIFA, the Welsh Government and Sport Wales as well as Wrexham Glyndwr University, whom he said FAW would continue to work closely with to ensure the new centre is a success for players, students and academics.

He added: “We all hope Colliers Park can become the centre of excellence for both of our organisations.”

Dr Maria Hinfelaar, Vice Chancellor and Wrexham Glyndwr University said that Wrexham was at the heart of Welsh football and that it was a very proud day for the town and the university.

She said: “So many colleagues from the university have worked very closely with FAW and the local authority to make this happen.

“It really has gone at a break-neck speed, because it was just 12 months ago that we were outside, with a JCB making the first dig in the ground. To have come this far in such a short space of time is actually quite incredible.

“From our perspective as a university, it is a fantastic facility for us to use and the agreement with the FAW is that we will use it during the week, during term time, which is roughly between 30 and 40 weeks of the year.

“We actually have new students who start their courses with us on Monday and they will be coming here first and I’m sure they will be blown by what they see.”

Ian Bancroft, Chief Executive of Wrexham Borough Council was quick to praise the contribution of FAW, Glyndwr University, Welsh Government and Sport Wales in the commitment they have made to Wrexham in making Colliers Park a reality.

He said: “This is a site with a lot of history and my understanding, having done my own research was that Barcelona have played here, so I am sure we will continue to see that type of quality of football.

“It’s also a significant part of Wrexham council to develop football and that is why Colliers Park is so important. This isn’t just a one-off, it’s part of a much bigger picture.

“Football is at the heart of Wrexham because of its history here. Now in 2019, it’s really important that we use projects like this to build on that legacy.

“We have twice as many people participating in football in this local authority area than any other in the country, that’s 3,500 adults and 4,500 young people, in 53 senior and junior football teams.”

Mr Bancroft went on to say that plans to provide a professional training centre at land on the site of the former Groves School, which would be leased to Wrexham AFC were “well developed” while work with FAW Trust around improving community clubs would really help bring football back to its spiritual home.