Back to the future for Newcastle United

By Lee Ryder on May 12, 11 10:45 AM

Paul Brayson this week branded Kevin Keegan's treatment of the Newcastle United youth team as "shocking" when reflecting on the removal of second string football back in 1995.

It's rare to hear a bad word said about KK but Brayson certainly had a point.

Don't get me wrong, Keegan illuminated St James' Park during his stint as United manager and the best years of my life came from watching the Entertainers sweep teams aside without a care in the world.

But it was a dark day when KK scrapped the reserve team and left many of the club's youngsters with little hope of getting anywhere near the first team picture - and jeopardised the club's future until Kenny Dalglish restored the reserves years later.

Football has moved on since those days with emphasis on Academy football now as important as ever.

Whether we like it or not, Newcastle United's current stance is to focus heavily on bringing their own players through the system and into the first team picture.

The worry of course is whether United can get the balance right of promoting young players through the system and strengthen the first team squad with the right blend of senior players this summer.

Relying only on promoting from within is dangerous - not every player will be an Andy Carroll.

The sale of Carroll also shows that United are prepared to sell those assets on if the right price comes along pretty much in the same way Ajax have operated down the years just over the North Sea.

However, it didn't stop over 2,000 Toon fans coming to see what lies beneath the first team scene last night.

Last night they witnessed the reserves demolish Blyth Spartans in resounding manner.

But although, Newcastle United reserves should be a class above a non-league team there was still something appealing about the way they went about their task.

They done it with a display of attacking football that I'm sure Keegan's Entertainers would have been proud of.

Sure, they couldn't keep up their rate of conviction in front of goal after building up a 3-0 lead in the first 35 minutes but there were still plenty of performances that caught the eye.

Last year the FA Youth Cup team that reached the semi-finals contained Phil Airey, Jeff Henderson, Sam Ameobi, Brad Inman, Greg McDermott and James Tavernier and all of them have made progress this season with steady seasons in the reserves and a sniff of the first team.

With Michael Richardson - signed from non-league Walker Central - now also joining the party.

The aim of Peter Beardsley, Willie Donachie and Joe Joyce is clearly to get as many of them as possible into first team contention.

And if the words of Beardo and the United coaching staff are to be believed, there could be more than just hope for some of the current crop.


Iain Russell said:

I thought Brad Inman and Paddy McLaughlin were outstanding last night! Very calm on the ball and distributed it brilliantly. Saw them as 'Xavi and Iniesta' types, always knew where each other were and after a series of nice little passing football they found a ball out to Donaldson, Sammi Ameobi or through to Phil Airey.

Very assured and definitely ones for the future!

Little Davey said:

Well done to the younguns and PB, but where was Pardwho?

Sulphuric909 said:

in france scouting davey

toonagain said:

we'll need he kids as these scounting trips are just another smoke screen. if we were serious about brining anyone in it would have caught the eye of the national press by now. come on lads the door is open for you skys the limit...

ps. i wouldn't mind if pardwho and beardsly swaped jobs, it has to be on the cards..!?

john best said:

There is a comment going about, who will be our number 1 goalkeeper next season !!!We need a top class keeper, Krul, is no where near the finished article and Harper is 36.Is the Lad from Celtic any good ???probably worth a try, as Krul is taking too long to come on streem.

alex said:

You cant have it both ways... To watch the class players and brillint football keegan got us playing the youth team had to be scrapped to afford it... The decision was justified becuase you dont hear of any players who would of been in youth team back then, ever made it in big time(with the excpetion of carrick).


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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