THE NEW Bearwood training complex will put Reading FC on a par with the best clubs in the land.

That is the prediction of Academy manager, Ged Roddy, as the Royals prepare to enter a new era in their history.

Reading are set to leave their current Hogwood Park training base and relocate to Bearwood just a short distance away.

But the two facilities are light years apart.

Planning regulations mean Royals are restricted to what they can build at Hogwood, with the canteen, changing rooms, physiotherapy room, gym and classrooms all housed in portacabins.

Meanwhile, Bearwood will be a bespoke, state-of-the-art facility specifically designed for the Royals, boasting 13 pitches of different sizes, a floodlit 3G all-weather pitch and two goalkeeping practice areas.

There will be a multi-purpose building for the first team and another for the Academy on top of medical rooms, accommodation and leisure areas.

More importantly, it means the men’s, women’s and Academy sections of the club will all be based under the same roof for the very first time.

Reading Chronicle:

Reading Academy manager, Ged Roddy.

The transition to Bearwood will take place in stages, with the Academy due to move early next year and the men’s first-team likely to follow a few months later.

Roddy MBE said: “Bearwood will make huge difference. When it’s finished it will create as good an environment as any in the country.

“It will help the manager because first-team players will be wowed by it because it’s so impressive.

“We at the Academy will have to balance that a bit. Hogwood is a very down-to-earth place where it’s easy to keep players grounded. When we go to Bearwood one or two may get ideas, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that.

“It’s a great statement form the owners that they are committed to the long-term development of the club.

“We achieved Category One Academy status and have retained that for eight season. It’s important we retain it going forward.

“We can play against the best teams and it helps us attract the best players as well. Bearwood is a big part of that.”

Reading have been based at Hogwood since 2005 and before that trained at Reading Cricket Club in Sonning Lane and also Bradfield College.

But the move to Bearwood – built on the former Bearwood Golf Club - will provide the kind of facility the club has been longing for.

Roddy, who replaced Arsenal-bound Lee Herron in February, added: “The hope is to move in at the end of this year. The pitches are all in and seeded and we’ve got 3G as well.

“The Academy games programme will move onto those pitches in January. The buildings will be completed several months after that so there will be a bit of a transition period between there and Hogwood.

“The important thing is it will create a step-change for us as I guess it was moving from Reading Cricket Club to Hogwood.”

Reading Chronicle:

A computer-generated image of the Bearwood complex.

Roddy’s words were echoed by Academy coach, Ed Franklin, who has been part of the Royals youth set-up since 2005.

“The Bearwood environment with the tree line and the amount of quality pitches is fantastic,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve been here 13 years with Hogwood and all the portacabins. What is now a cleaning cupboard used to be Jon Fearn’s old physio room.

“So to have this new, purpose-built environment is great.

“As an alternative to a gym recovery session you can take the players around the outskirts of the facility.

“It’s the first time we’ll have everyone on site so it’s a meeting point. It’s going to be life-changing, it’s something special.”