Joe Lewis believes Aberdeen’s new multi-million-pounds complex at Kingsford will have a massive impact on the club and its ability to attract new players to the Granite City.
The goalkeeper admits current arrangements are not ideal but, as far as he is concerned, that’s nothing more than a small grumble given his move to Pittodrie has, he insisted, revitalised his career.
The shot-stopper has now clocked up 115 games for manager Derek McInnes, below right, in stark contrast to having spent two years on the bench at Cardiff City before a loan spell at troubled Blackpool was followed by only 19 games for Fulham.
Lewis, pictured below, said: “I was really struggling to find a way of getting my career going before I was given the opportunity by the gaffer here. I feel I have taken that opportunity and enjoy my work here. I am very appreciative of what the club and management and supporters have done for me.
“They took to me very early and hopefully I can continue to repay that with performances and winning things for the club.”
It’s an entirely different scenario to the one he found at Blackpool. He said: “It wasn’t a good time to be at the club really. It was spiralling downward. It was a strange experience. There was no real investment in facilities. The stadium was good but the pitch was like playing on a beach. The training facilities were horrendous, as bad as I have come across. The changing rooms and the pitches were really poor.
“You were going into completely dilapidated buildings. We would get changed and head back to the stadium for lunch but all you had were a couple of Portacabins the staff used. The building itself looked as if it had sat there for 40 years completely untouched. There were temporary showers but there was no investment whatsoever in that side of things. I don’t know what it’s like now.”
Having endured those spartan surroundings, 31-year-old Lewis will perhaps be even more appreciative of the shiny new facilities he and his team-mates will be enjoying shortly.
He said: “The training facilities are not fantastic at the moment but, for next season, we will have a new building and new facilities to work with and hopefully a new stadium if that gets the full approval.
“It is more enjoyable to have a nice training pitch and good facilities. To be fair, the pitches we train on are not too bad at all. But jumping on a minibus to and from training every day is not ideal.
. “It will have a massive positive effect on the football club. It’s something we have got to look forward to and it will have an effect on signing players.
“Finances come into it when you sign players. But if you are a player with a choice between two clubs and one has its own brand new training facility and the other has you washing your own training kit and working on terrible pitches you’ll obviously be inclined to go to the better football club.
“It will have a big effect on the first-team players and the young players coming through as well. Sometimes our young lads train in a different place to the first team. If you are all in the same building it’s good to have all the players together and shout one of the young lads over from their training if need be. There are so many positives we will get from that facility and it will help make players want to come here and stay.”
Aberdeen have been in Dubai for some warm-weather training and yesterday beat second-tier side FC Dibba Al Hisn 2-0 in a friendly. Sam Cosgrove, who was last week named Premiership Player of the Month for December, scored a goal in each half.