FOOTBALLERS won’t need a Winsford postcode to benefit from new facilities in the town that officials promise will be world class.

Cheshire FA believes Knights Grange is the best place to build what it is calling an elite performance centre after ruling out more than two dozen alternatives during a search that started last year.

However Stuart Manifould, the project’s director, began a presentation to the press on Tuesday by promising profits generated by the multi-million pound development will be spent supporting football in other parts of the county.

That could be on improving facilities or subsidising equipment or pitch-hire costs.

READ > Cheshire FA unveil location for football hub

“We like the idea of playing Robin Hood,” he added.

“That means taking money from the elite game and giving it to grassroots.”

A luxury hotel and spa, which will include space for conferences and meetings, has been included to persuade professional teams to stop over if they are playing matches nearby.

In the past, Cheshire FA has used the example of European teams scheduled to play against Premier League hosts in Liverpool or Manchester.

Manifould added: “One of the questions we’re asked a lot is, ‘Why do you need a hotel?’.

“Well, that’s the reason one is included.”

The county’s governing body wants the facility, which it hopes will be open in time for the start of the UEFA Women’s European Championship in July 2021, to be a centre of excellence for women's and girls’ football.

With that in mind, officials remain in negotiations with an FA Women’s Super League team with a view to them becoming tenants at the site for both training and fixtures.

A memorandum of understanding with 1874 Northwich, a North West Counties League club that has played home games at Barton Stadium in Winsford since 2012, remains in place for them to be based there too.

READ > What 1874 Northwich said after Cheshire FA's announcement

Meanwhile Cheshire FA is not yet in a position to show how its vision will be laid out at the outdoor sports complex on Grange Lane.

However it has said it will use the former golf course as a starting point.

Manifould added: “That work is in its initial stages.

“The first question we asked when Knights Grange was suggested as a potential location was ‘Can we fit everything we want in?’

“We’re confident about that.”

There will be activity there, including land assessments, before a planning application is submitted for approval.

Residents have been assured that they will be asked for their views too.

Tentatively, Cheshire FA hope to start building work at the beginning of next year.

“The planning stage can take time,” added Manifould.

He was was introduced by Cllr Louise Gittins, Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet member for communities and wellbeing.

The local authority owns the land at Knights Grange, and is a partner in the scheme.

She said: “This has been a long time coming, and we’ve been around the borough a few times to find the right place.

“I think this is the perfect spot for it.”

Cheshire FA introduced Vision 20/20, as it is branded, in May 2018 when it said Northwich was an intended location.

READ > Why Cheshire FA's football hub won't be built in Northwich

Despite that now not being the case, Manifould said that the project’s specification, which also includes plans for three 3G pitches – one of them covered – and a 3,000 capacity stadium along with Premier League-standard grass surfaces, remains unchanged.

“There have been no major changes to the initial brief and nothing has been taken out,” he added.