Newcastle Youth Not Good Enough – British Players Too Expensive

Sam talked to the Sunday Times last weekend on a number of things to do with football.

Two of these items were Newcastle’s Youth players, who he said were not good enough and British footballers, who were way too expensive.

We agree with the latter statements but not with the statements on our youth players at Newcastle. Let’s take a look at what Sam said.


Newcastle Manager Sam Allardyce – his standards are sky high

Sam told the Sunday Times:

“Our academy here just let the whole of their final year go without signing even one of them as a professional,”

“It means the young boys we’ve been getting aren’t good enough, and obviously that’s a concern.”

“We have to do better in terms of development.”

“I’m concentrating on the first team at the moment, because that has to be my priority, but in the near future we’ll have to look at the kids’ set-up.”

We’ve noticed that too, that when our young players get to 21 years-old most are let go. But there’s still good stuff going on with our youngsters since they have made the semi-finals of the Youth Cup these last two years. We do agree that if we can do better then great – so be it – and we’re pleased to see Sam so interested in the youth policy at Newcastle. But players like Edgar, Huntington, Ramage, Carroll and Taylor have come through the youth ranks of late, so it’s not that bad.

And last January they all performed valiantly for the first team and remember it wasn’t until the first-teamers came back that the slide really started.  Sam then went on to talk about the cost of British players and we’re right with him on this one.

“There’s such a shortage of experienced Premier League players available that we are getting Darren Bent, with just over two years at top level behind him, going for £16m.”

“I wouldn’t say Bent is the proven article yet, but he cost Tottenham £16.5M.”

“Compare that with Arsène Wenger getting [Eduardo] Da Silva, a proven international striker, for £8m and probably half Bent’s wages, and you’ll see why good judges buy abroad.”

“It has become a worldwide search. In my playing days, clubs could look around at home and come up with a top centre-forward, like [Paul] Mariner, [Joe] Royle or [Malcolm] Macdonald.”

“What have we got on offer in Britain now? [Peter] Crouch, [Kevin] Davies and [Shola] Ameobi. Enough said.”

Did he just criticize Shola Ameobi and Kevin Davies, two of his players? Anyway, we agree completely – why pay ridiculous prices and wages for British players when Sam knows of these players just as good if not better – he can get for much smaller fees and less wages. That’s one thing we love about Sam – he’s already picked up 7 bargains for the club and that’s just a start. We really hope he can get at least 3 more in (more if we let players go) before the end of August, to ensure our squad is big enough. We look forward to him continuing to spend Ashley’s money wisely and bringing in great players for the club. Long may it continue.

Comments on Sam’s views are very welcome.

23 comments so far

  • Josh

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #1

    Poor Ameobi, maybe he doesn’t like him

  • Luke

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #2

    That’s a serious slip of the tounge if the quote is accurate. Criticising sho like that does nobody any favors.

  • Tom

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #3

    I think Sam is just saying the truth there. That Shola just not good enough?? :S

  • PM

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #4

    i think ameobi is a pretty good player when he can be bothered to run!!!

  • michael

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #5

    Not sure Smith, Barton and Enrique are bargains! All were in and around 6 million quid. Hardly pennies.
    Also the academy finishes at 18, so were are the guys to push for the 1st XI? No Wayne Rooney or David Beckham from Newcastle. Only Steven Taylor could actually claim to have broken through in the last 10 years! Hardly a return for the (alledged) millions spent. Sam’s right for better or worse.

  • shaun D

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #6

    Michael – Agree with you on the youth side. Think Barton and Enrique will both prove to be bargains, as could smith

  • Tom

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #7

    I dont think Shola is bad either, and he can score goals.

    And your forgetting Edgar and Huntington who are beginning to break into the 1st team, feed them in slowly and they could be very good players.

  • gordon

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #8

    Compared to the 70s strikers current english players are useless in comparison.

  • Pete

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #9

    With a bit of luck, Edgar and Huntington might be good enough for a lower championship team….

  • Kash

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #10

    Huntington in a few years will push for a 1st team place. I think Edgar is more suited to playing DM so he could also push for a place at some stage. We all hope Carrol will go onto be ing a star, while Taylor is going to captain the club. Then we have some really good prospects in the form of Lua-Lua, Troisi, Danquah and Donaldson. So all is not lost really, especially since the last 3 all represent(ed) there countries at youth level.

  • Kash

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #11

    @Gordon – Its a completely different game to that of even the 90’s. Strikers like Mark Hughes were brilliant back then, but now they’d be championship standard!

  • Phil

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #12

    Was at the reserves last night and hunntigton is obbsessed with pulling his socks up aand tying his laces. Iy was quite comical.

    I think Edgar looks good on the ball and will turn into a Good CB given the right encouragement but I think he still needs a couple of years to bring him on.

  • Bosck

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #13

    Big Andy Carroll has gone out on loan to Preston till January.

    Great move if you ask me, preston are a good side, but they’ve lost nugent so andy should get a good amount of games.

  • michael

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #14

    Kash you hit the nail on the head. English players looked good here in the nineties cos all the talent was in Italy since the Engerlanders were banned from Europe. The make up of the Premiership is now a world league rather than the English league.
    It’s no suprise to me that the “best” English footballers in a generation have come at a time when the majority of the national side play with the worlds finest. People who say we should have more English players in the preiership are so shortsighted. There will always be an influx from the championship, but only the best will make it. Huntington and Edgar are not going to win anybody a premier league title. They just won’t, end of story.

  • Callum

    Aug 14, 2007 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #15

    If you can produce just one star player then that satisfies the millions spent on the youth academy as you then wont have to spend 10x more millons to bring in a star player 🙂

  • rich

    Aug 14, 2007 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #16


    i dont think his comments about our youth player being not good enough was regarding the lies of taylor, ramage edgar etc… cuz they are techically senior players now, i think he was just saying its crazy we train all these players and then dont offer them contracts.

    and the last bit about Shola & Davies was very suprising but i think he was probably reffering to the fact that the only available english strikers are the likes of Shola & Davies and that they are not on par with the likes of Owen & Rooney etc.. i dont think he was saying Shola was crap just that hes not exactly another wayne rooney, if you get me?

  • Graeme

    Aug 14, 2007 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #17

    Ok, so Shola isnt crap, agreed. But lets be honest, he isnt exactly setting the premiership alight is he??? There was talk about him going to Celtic earlier and that would probably fit in with his abilities, IF he wants to progress. I just cant see him making it at this Newcastle, under Sam. Whats more, its only going to get worse for him.

    If BSA starts achieving what he wants – regular European Football, possibly Champions League, he will buy accordingly, which means even less chance of Shola getting a game. He should take a long hard look in the mirror and face the facts. He will be better off moving to a club who matches his abilities to their ambition – thats not going to be at the Toon, unfortunately for him.

  • apan

    Aug 14, 2007 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #18

    agreed with BSA, English players comes with ridiculous tag price and wages, i guess its rare to find a rare good talent down there now, shola is a decent player but just not good enough

  • Bosck

    Aug 14, 2007 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #19

    Allardyce could also be meaning that those are the only 3 english out and out centre forwards available whereas every club used to be able to produce one of their own.

  • Keep Oba

    Aug 14, 2007 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #20

    well shola isnt garbage…but he ain’t someone you look to buy and turn your season around (well maybe Derby County)…there is a whole crop of players outside of England that could be brought in and become stars rather than those three players which you already know what you have…good bench material. And for the 4 or 5 mil you could possibly sell Shola for you could get two Rozenhals or someone who would contribute in the starting11 alot more. Shola is ok and yes..sometimes he does score goals…thats all a strikers job really is…but when all our players are healthy…leaving Smith to the midfield…Shola is our 4th or 5th forward.

  • StevieA

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:38 PM

    Comment #21

    Is he talking in terms of goals or skill?

    You never know with sam but I can see where he is coming from when he compares them to Super Mac.

    I mean where is the next Beardsley? The closest I have seen is probably the lad at Blackburn – Derbyshire but he is a million miles away. Lots of potential though.

    Shola is very capable but he should be much more prolific than he is. Having said that he has been very unlucky with injuries and Shearer being around most of his career. I think we could see a different Ameobi this season but will he get a chance? I would play him ahead of Viduka until he is 100% fit.

  • StevieA

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:38 PM

    Comment #22

    What about Ashton? Is he not an old fashioned english centre forward Sam? 😛

  • StevieA

    Aug 14, 2007 at 11:42 PM

    Comment #23

    Is he talking in terms of numbers? I have re-read that statement and that’s what it sounds like. It’s almost like those 3 are the only ones to fit the profile.

    In that case he is right but I would have mentioned Ashton. I hope we can sign him next year as he has an excellent future. Shearer really rates him too.


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