The start of the Premier League season last weekend signalled the start in full of the 2021/22 football season – and brought an end to a busy few weeks at St. George’s Park, which saw a number of elite football clubs utilise the venue as a pre-season training base, whilst the home of England's teams also played host to a total of 12 pre-season fixtures.
- Week 1: Crystal Palace and Portsmouth
- Week 2: MK Dons, Wolves U18’ and Wolves U23s
- Week 3: Brentford and Real Betis
- Week 4: Watford, Southampton U23s, Brighton & Hove Albion U16s and U18s' tournament
First to arrive in the close-season were Crystal Palace, who appointed former Arsenal midfield general Patrick Vieira as their new manager just days prior to landing in Staffordshire. The Eagles made use of the site’s magnificent pitches and enjoyed the pool area and inflatables during their down time, which became famous during England’s stay at St. George’s Park during EURO 2020.
Prior to the start of the League One campaign, Danny Cowley’s Portsmouth spent time at the home of England’s teams. Described by the Pompey boss as “the Disneyland of football”, St. George’s Park also hosted a pre-season friendly between the south coast outfit and Burton Albion.
MK Dons also arrived at St. George’s Park ahead of their new campaign in the third tier. Then manager Russell Martin, now in charge of Swansea City, heaped praise on the “elite level” facilities on offer at St. George’s Park and highly recommended the site to any club wishing to host a training camp.
Spanish side Real Betis, under the leadership of former Manchester City and West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini, and the youth teams of Wolverhampton Wanderers also utilised St. George’s Park for pre-season training.
However, arguably the headline of the football world over the opening weekend of the Premier League season was Brentford’s remarkable 2-0 win over giants Arsenal on Friday evening. The Bees used St. George’s Park as their base for a pre-season training camp. Chris Haslem, Head of Athletic Performance for Brentford, commented: “We came here last year and it was fantastic…It’s got everything you need…The recovery suite is first-class.”