Bosses at Southend United have announced an initial £2million contract has been signed as part of its 'game-changing' stadium plan - with works to start soon.
The new contract has been signed with White Horse Contractors to develop the new training ground pitches and players’ car parking for the club.
Works will commence on the new facilities, north of Fossetts Way, next week.
It will include sand-based pitches with loose fibre reinforcement and soil-based pitches, with drainage and irrigation systems to ensure the training facilities remain in good condition throughout the year.
The training ground works represent the first phase of the Fossetts masterplan.
Once the new training pitches are available for use in about October this year, Blues will move on to the next phases which include the new stadium and a new residential community of 850 homes.
The target is to move into Fossetts Farm no later than the start of the 2024/25 season.
But bosses say the fourth side of the stadium is more complex and will take longer to construct, with an aim for this side to be ready for the 25/26 season.
Further homes will follow and ultimately, across two sites, about 2,000 homes will be delivered.
Bosses promise the development will create many jobs for members of the community along the way.
They also say it will make Fossetts one of the best places to live in Southend, with a range of on-site amenities for residents including a gym, co-working spaces, lounge, games room and concierge.
Tom Lawrence, CEO at Southend United, added: "The new training ground is a truly exciting phase in the club’s development and represents another step forwards towards a great future for the club."
White Horse Contractors is a specialist sports pitch contractor which has delivered football pitches for Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers FC, Luton Town FC, Derby County FC and the FA at St Georges Park National Football Centre.
On signing the contract, Dr James Welsh, Technical Director at White Horse, said:"We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and look forward to delivering a high-quality training facility that will benefit Southend United Football Club and which will kick start the wider regeneration of the Fossetts site."