One of the aspects of the game that Newcastle have never been good at is giving priority to the youngsters who have come through the Academy. We saw during last season that these lads play with heart and courage for the first team – but yet again we are losing a promising player in Alan O’Brien â€“ because he will not be given enough games at the club.
Only last year the same thing happened to Michael Chopra who went on to score 22 goals for Cardiff in the Championship league last season and we sold him for a paltry Â£500K.
Alan O’Brien reached a difficult decision to leave Newcastle for Hibernian – even after Sam Allardcye had offered the player improved terms to stay at the club. This is what Alan had to say yesterday.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Newcastle United immensely, but I believe that with Hibernian I can progress at club and international level,” “Everyone in the game is aware of what has been happening at Hibernian over the last few years – the quality of young players coming through the ranks into first-team football is exceptional.”
Alan O’Brien joined Newcastle six years ago as a 16-year-old and started just two Premiership games for the club â€“ despite his skill and lightning speed. Roeder even refused to let O’Brien leave for Wolves on a season long loan last year because he thought so much of him â€“ and then never played O’Brien even when both Duff and N’Zogbia were out injured.
The writing was on the wall for Alan when we bought Damien Duff from Chelsea a year ago. It looked an odd deal at the time and it certainly upset the apple cart for both N’Zogbia and O’Brien – who had both performed well the previous season. In retrospect the Duff signing has not been good for Newcastle â€“ we think it would have been far better to have given N’Zogbia and O’Brien a run of games on the left wing last season.
Look what happened when we did that to James Milner on the right wing â€“ he was arguably Newcastle’s best player last year and played 60 games for us. Yet before the season started he was not held in high esteem at the club – almost being sold to Aston Villa on the last day of the transfer window.
Alan went on:
“Any player who has worked under Tommy will tell you their football education has benefited greatly from his influence and guidance,”
“I’m looking forward to working with him again. There’s also the opportunity to work with John Collins.
As a player, he has pretty much seen and done it all. As a manager he has already made a great impact.”
The Tommy he is referring to is Tommy Craig who was the Newcastle reserve team coach for quite a while. It is now being revealed that Roeder sacked Craig when he mysteriously left the club last season.
John Collins, the Hibs manager has promised O’Brien regular action at Easter Road. He said:
“Alan has chosen Hibernian to progress his career, knowing that this club continues to provide the best possible platform for a young player to learn and enjoy the game. Other clubs were drawn to him as his contract at Newcastle was coming to an end and we’re delighted to have signed him. Alan’s a young player who has had the best possible grounding at Newcastle and, while his first-team experience has been limited, his quality is without question.”
Giving our youngsters a decent chance is something we must try to correct as the boys start to come through the ranks. It certainly doesn’t send a good message to the likes of Paul Huntington, David Edgar and Matty Pattison – who are probably the next batch from the Academy to battle for first team positions.
Conments always welcome.