Andrew McKinlay clears up Oriam comments as Hearts chief states preference for club training ground

Chief executive Andrew McKinlay insists Hearts’ preference is for the Oriam to remain the club’s training base for the long-term future.
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The current lease with the performance centre runs until 2029 but McKinlay stated earlier this year that the club were already exploring alternative options as they’ve outgrowing the current set-up, which is where Hearts have trained since 2004. One such possibility was a purpose-built £20 million training ground they could call their own.

McKinlay reckon it makes more sense financially for the Tynecastle side to work something out with their current landlords as the vast outlay on their own training centre still might not give them everything they wish.

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“A lot of the headlines at the time was that we wanted our own training ground. What I said was we need training facilities that give us what we want and what we need,” he said.

The Hearts squad pictured in training at the Oriam. Picture: SNSThe Hearts squad pictured in training at the Oriam. Picture: SNS
The Hearts squad pictured in training at the Oriam. Picture: SNS

“It's not until 2029 our lease is up at Oriam, ideally we would be best if we can stay there. There are certain things there that are very, very difficult for us financially to replicate elsewhere. Like the indoor pitch there. Cormack Park is a good example. I know they want an indoor facility but they don't have an indoor facility because of the cost. They are things like that you couldn't replicate.

“What I've said to Oriam, and we've had discussions with them, if you can give us what we want then that would be my first choice, to stay there. And we're in those discussions to probably work out over the next year or two, can they give us what they want? If they can't then yes, we will have to look at alternatives.

“We need a bit more exclusivity, a few more pitches than we've maybe currently got. Partly that is not Oriam's fault but our fault. When Hearts originally went to Riccarton, I know there wasn't a women's team and a girl's academy. I'm assuming that the boy's academy was probably smaller, no sports science, half the number of everything that goes with that.

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“We've almost outgrown what they are able to give us at the moment. But there are other parts of Oriam that could be developed in such a way that it gives us what we would need. A bit more space, a bit more exclusivity.”

There are options as well in terms of funding and how any improvements to the current site would be paid, with Hearts potentially fitting the bill to remain on site.

“It is probably too early on that one. We would look at all options,” McKinlay said. “It's unfair of me because it is so early but it might be something that could be done with the university or they might do on a lease basis or we might build it. There are loads of ways we can skin that.

“If we had to go off and build our own, the costs would be huge. The increasing costs for Aberdeen's stadium because of construction inflation and the other issues that go with that as well.”

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