West Ham make early move to Rush Green training ground
08:00 11 December 2015
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Hammers boss blames Chadwell Heath pitch for Reid injury
It wasn’t supposed to happen until next summer, but West Ham will move their training operation from Chadwell Heath to Rush Green beginning on Monday.
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic made the decision after star defender Winston Reid was injured at the training ground on Wednesday to add to the squad’s injury woes.
The club have always planned to have everything in place to move the 2.4 miles to Rush Green, but although the former Ford Sports land has not yet been fully converted, Bilic has had enough.
“There has been a lot of talk since I have been here about the pitches at Chadwell Heath and they are not good,” said Bilic.
“The injury to Reid was because he slipped. The pitch is soft on the surface, but underneath it’s very hard – the worst combination.
“It is not only this year, but in other years we have a history of players moaning they are not happy about the pitches here.”
Bilic was quick to point out that it is nothing to do with the groundsman at Chadwell Heath, but the move just made sense.
“We were planning to move next season to Rush Green, but because of the quality of the pitches I have decided that we are going to move there earlier,” he said.
“We can’t continue to risk things, it is only a couple of miles down the road so it would be stupid not to move now because the pitches are better there. We can live without such a great kitchen or dressing room.”
The plan is for West Ham to train at least a couple of days a week at the Rush Green Road facility, while also doing some sessions at Chadwell Heath, which has been the first-team training ground for over 50 years.
“Rush Green is not ready and it was not supposed to be ready,” admitted Bilic. “When you move house, you want it to be completely done. There are still lots of things missing.
“It is me who really wanted to do it. It was an easy conversation to have with the chairman. I told him what I would like to do and he agreed with me.”
If the move does result in less injuries then it will certainly be the right call and the Croatian even suggested that the injury to Diafra Sakho may have emanated from Chadwell Heath.
“I am not trying to play CSI, but I have played football and I know that if Sakho strains his thigh at Upton Park, it may have started two days earler on the slippery training ground.”