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Leading facility to expand further

Callum Twomey afl.com.au  October 7, 2017 11:45 AM

BTV: The Crichton Panel | Xavier Campbell Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell dropped by The Crichton Panel to chat with Julian de Stoop & Scott Lucas.

Essendon is edging closer to expanding its already state-of-the-art Tullamarine headquarters as the club builds on its status as having the leading facilities in the competition.

The Bombers have significant empty space at their base near Melbourne Airport to develop additional facilities as the club looks to increase its investment into its multicultural and Indigenous Next Generation Academy set-up, and its push towards having a women's team.

Chief Executive Xavier Campbell said at the club's best and fairest night this week that the Bombers will soon reveal details of the development, which is expected to be centred in the available space around the current 'hangar' housing the club's administration and football department.

"Soon we will formally announce exciting new plans to expand our training base at Melbourne Airport to ensure we continue to have state-of-the-art facilities for our men’s teams, whilst also ensuring that can have an equally strong women's football, learning, leadership and Next Generation Academy programs and facilities," Campbell said.

"The new investment will also feature a revamped Essendon hall of fame, and various other key aspects that will ensure Essendon remain at the forefront of facility development for many years to come."

Campbell said the club had already raised "significant funds" from a core group of Essendon supporters "to help turn this facility and program into a reality", with the Bombers already boasting some of the best facilities in the competition, including an indoor training centre and two fields – one the size of the MCG, the other of Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, Campbell said the Bombers could learn from premiers Richmond, who took all before them to storm to a drought-breaking flag with a win over Adelaide last week.

The Bombers returned to the finals for the first time since 2014 but were beaten by Sydney in the elimination final, meaning the club now has the longest stretch of any club without a finals win (13 years).

Campbell said the Bombers needed to bridge the gap between themselves and the most consistent sides.

"We finished the home and away season three wins adrift from minor premier, the Adelaide Crows, and eventual premier, Richmond. Put simply, these two teams were 20 per cent better than us with respect to wins throughout the regular season," Campbell said.

"And, although each year does not present an exact science when it comes to wins and losses, there is no doubt that we need to challenge ourselves to find this equivalent level of improvement to match it with the best of the best on a consistent basis. And, most importantly, in finals football.

"Richmond has proven there are opportunities if you are prepared to do the work, to lift the standard, to forge strong alignment and to drive an even greater accountability with ourselves and each other."