St Kilda’s men’s team returned to it’s spiritual home in Moorabbin today to begin a new era in the club’s rich history.
Under the new name of RSEA Park, St Kilda’s new training and administration headquarters in Linton Street, Moorabbin, is unrecognizable to the facilities the club endured before moving to Seaford in 2010.
The moment has arrived! ✂— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) March 19, 2018
Curator and 35-year staff member Brett Sullivan officially opens RSEA Park alongside our President, Peter Summers. pic.twitter.com/04cjSmPyEK
While work will continue throughout 2018 on the second component of the new $30 million facility, which will become the headquarters for local community football leagues and the Sandringham Dragons, the Saints’ elite men’s program and supporting administration team officially relocated to their new facility today.
The Saints continue to operate their women’s football program, Next Generation Academy, community football engagement and supporting business operations from the Linen House Centre in Seaford - a region in which the club is committed to maintaining a strong community presence.
St Kilda President Peter Summers said the return to RSEA Park was a profound moment’s in the club’s history.
“I had shivers watching the players arrive for their first day,” Summers said.
“We were blessed with a first-class facility and community support in our time at Seaford, but this venue in Moorabbin holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of the St Kilda faithful.
“While work on Stage 1 won’t fully be completed until the end of 2018, and the club is committed to retaining a strong presence in the Frankston region, we believe today marks the beginning of a new era at the football club.
“Not only is RSEA Park a world-class venue, and the equal of any facility in professional sport in Australia, it’s a shining example of the spirit of the Saints.
"The club, through generous donors and our own means, has contributed more than $6 million to the redevelopment at RSEA Park and we plan to contribute a further $2 million before the completion of Stage 1 later this year.
“The Kingston City Council, the State Government, the AFL, and our community partners have of course played an enormous role in making this facility possible, but we wouldn’t be here without the generosity of St Kilda supporters.”
Summers said the doors of RSEA Park had opened at an exciting time for the club.
“As you may have read in the media over the past week, the club has entered into a game-changing new agreement with the AFL regarding our home ground Etihad Stadium,” he said.
“The club’s board, executive team and staff have worked tirelessly and effectively to improve our financial results despite the crippling impact of the previous stadium deal.
“We recorded an operating cash profit in 2018, and a fairer deal governing the financial returns at Etihad Stadium will now allow us to create a platform for long term success.
“It won’t happen overnight, but with a new stadia deal in place, a young and exciting playing list and the chance to reconnect with fans in bayside Melbourne at a new world-class facility, the future of the club is incredibly bright.
"“The final piece of the puzzle is uncovering the full potential of support that exists for the club.”
While the Saints achieved record membership in 2017, Summers has urged all fans to throw their support behind the club.
“Last year, we surpassed 42,000 members, breaking all records in the process," Summers said.
“But we need more. We need every supporter to come board and I encourage fans to join us in this new era and pledge their support.”