OFFICIALS at Cheshire FA have said they couldn’t find space in Northwich to fit in a proposed new football facility.

Stuart Manifould, the project’s director, told the Guardian they had wanted to build the multi-million pound performance centre in town from the moment the idea was born 18 months ago.

“That was always our aim,” he said.

“Cheshire FA itself has been based in Northwich since the late 1800s and we did our absolute best to try and secure a site there.

“But it just wasn’t possible in the end.”

Steve Stewart, Cheshire FA’s general manager, said that a conversation while waiting in the car at traffic lights on the A556 had been a catalyst for the Vision 20/20, as the scheme has been branded by the county governing body.

Initially, agricultural land off the dual carriageway – and a mile from their headquarters at Moss Farm – was a preferred location.

Manifould added: “Studies at our chosen site brought to light issues that made it unviable.

“I can assure you we looked at it in great detail.”

Once that was ruled out, he said Cheshire FA had quickly exhausted other options in, or nearby, the town.

They wanted, if possible, to avoid having to spend money allocated to the scheme on buying land on the commercial market to accommodate everything they wanted the project to deliver.

Moving to Winsford instead makes that more likely.

Stewart added: “You may not believe in it, but it did feel as if fate had intervened when Knights Grange was then suggested as an alternative.

“The stars aligned, if you like.”