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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00

  • 865

Bailey: A Unique Atmosphere

Bailey: A Unique Atmosphere

John Bailey is one of the most colourful characters from Everton's recent history.

A key figure in the great sides of the 80s - as much for his input as a squad member off the field as his versatility on it - Bailey was involved in many of the memorable anecdotes that have made Bellefield so special for so many people.

And so to see the doors shut at the famous old training ground for a final time left the former full-back emotional.

He told evertonTV: "It is a sad day. You walk through them gates as we did this morning and you think about the players that have come through those gates.

"When you think of the World Cup this was Brazil’s camp."

Indeed, whilst Bellefield may now be behind the times in terms of the facilities, it was once regarded as one of the finest training facilities in English football.

It is something Bailey can recall - having made the move to Goodison in 1979.

He added: "I will never forget my early days when I was at Blackburn Rovers as a young apprentice and coming to this place was like coming to a palace.

"In them days at Blackburn we trained in a public park and when you come to places like this it is fantastic – it still is.

"There are plenty of stories but I can’t really tell them! The dressing room was full of fun and banter - a great group of lads just like the lads from the 70s. Sometimes your clothes would be ripped up and end up in the toilet.

"Monday morning and every morning you could not wait to get into training and have the crack with the lads.

"It is unique and you will never get a training facility like it. It is like coming into a little cul-de-sac and everything is very homely.

"I don’t know what the new training facility is going to be like but from all accounts it is going to be massive but here is compact and you know where everything is. It is a nice tight family atmosphere.

"I will miss the old place. Some of the Premiership clubs now would be proud because that is how good it is. You have got to go with the future now."

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