Work begins at Kangaroos home, Arden St - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Work begins at Kangaroos home, Arden St

By John Salvado 24/02/2009 02:09:34 PM Comments (0)

It had been happening at North Melbourne for as long as anyone could remember.

Every time a new player arrived at the cash-strapped AFL club they were shown the plans for the redevelopment of the rundown facilities at the inner-city Arden St ground.

Current skipper Brent Harvey saw the plans in 1995.

Shinboner of the Century Glenn Archer got a look at them in 1991.

And former player and two-time premiership coach Denis Pagan reckons they were shown to him way back in 1966.

But time and again nothing happened.

Fourteen months ago the club seemed on the verge of relocating to the Gold Coast, only for the move to be stymied by a grassroots campaign led by new chairman James Brayshaw.

Staying put was one thing.

Ensuring the club's long-term future in the crowded Melbourne sporting landscape was another.

And the Kangaroos' decision to stay in their traditional heartland was vindicated on Tuesday when construction work began on the $15.1 million redevelopment of Arden St.

Funding came from the federal and state governments, the Melbourne City Council, the AFL and the Scanlon Foundation, with work due to be completed by the end of the year.

The redevelopment will include new training and administration facilities for the football club, along with a community gymnasium and a life and learning centre.

"It's long overdue," said Brayshaw.

"Our footy club hasn't had the right amount of facilities and professionalism to be able to compete at the top level.

"In fact it's a credit to (coach Dean Laidley) and his players that they've been able to do it for so long and Denis (Pagan) prior to them."

Although the Kangaroos have often played the underdog card to great effect, winning premierships in 1975, 1977, 1996 and 1999, Brayshaw said the new facilities would help them attract players in future years.

"We've always said that we've looked after the players properly and I think we have, but going forward it was really important to give our players every opportunity to be as good, if not better, than everyone else," he said.

"It makes a statement that we're here, we're not going anywhere, we're a Melbourne-based club."

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