Exeter City buy freehold to the Cliff Hill training ground

EXETER City’s investment in the football club’s infrastructure has continued with the purchase of the freehold to their Cliff Hill training ground.

The purchase of the freehold, thanks to a £100,000 loan from the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust, secures the club’s Clyst St Mary-based training complex for the long-term. The loan from the Trust is on the basis that it will be repaid by the transfer of the Cliff Hill Training Ground to the Trust once arrangements have been finalised and approved, including its lease back to the club.

Prior to the purchase, the club held a 25-year lease on the site, on which the club built a 4G playing surface and a £3.5 million training facility, which has been in use since March 2023, and was officially opened last August.

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Nick Hawker, chair of Exeter City Supporters’ Trust, said: “This is a significant and important step for Exeter City Football Club, securing the training ground for the long term. This season has seen the club make huge strides in relation to its structure and staffing and to end the season with the news that the Supporters’ Trust is making this purchase possible is something to celebrate.

“We have known for a short while the potential of the land becoming available but, on advice, have maintained confidentiality around it due to the potential for other interested parties becoming involved. We believe this is a major step forward for the Club and Trust.”

The Grecians have leased the training ground – which has been in use since the 1970s – for just over 20 years thanks to the generosity of former club chairman, Clifford Hill, who bought it in 2003 and leased it at a peppercorn rent to the club. That commitment to the club was continued by Clifford’s wife, Jean, following his death in 2012. Jean sadly died in March last year, which led to the land becoming available to purchase by the club.

Hawker added: “We are extremely grateful to both Cliff, and later, Jean Hill, for their generosity when we were a club in desperate need 20 years ago and for their continued support over the last two decades.”

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