How Newcastle’s Academy Differs From The Good Ones


Newcastle coach Willie Donachie has spoken to the Newcastle Journal today, and waxed lyrical about the Newcastle Youth Academy.

Willie Donachie – one of Newcastle’s top coaches

And there’s no doubt the Newcastle Academy is good, and they are on the right track, and bringing though our own youngsters will save millions and millions in the future for the Tyneside club.

It’s something that should have been started at Newcastle eons ago, and is certainly the best thing Mike Ashley will ever do at Newcastle.

But Arsenal and Manchester United are two examples of Youth Academies who also produce some great youngsters too, but they don’t sell their best players – they keep them – especially when they are local lads.

They sell the ones who are not good enough to play for them – and that’s just exactly what Newcastle should be doing, but as evidenced on Monday, that may not be the case on Tyneside.

That seems to be the one big difference with the top club’s Academies them and the Newcastle Academy – but it’s also a serious one.

If you ignore that, and the terrible turmoil that selling Andy Carroll has caused with Newcastle fans, and seemingly with several Newcastle players too – if we are to believe the Newcastle Journal his morning – then the Newcastle Academy can already show a £35M profit over a very short three years.

And we know there are a number of other lads coming through the mill, who could be just as big (and lucrative?) as Andy – with Nile Ranger and Haris Vuckic being just two of them.

But we should be trying to build a good team again at Newcastle, and not trying to make the club rich.

Newcastle must become a successful club again – not a rich club – and they are not necessarily the exact same thing.   If  Newcastle become successful we will become rich, but the opposite is not always true.

Having made that very important point – here’s what Willie said this morning – and it’s all very true:

“I don’t think this club had done well enough in the past,” “But if the club is willing to take it seriously, which I believe they are, then the potential is huge.”“They do seem to be genuinely committed to youth, but only time will really tell. It’s Joe Joyce, the Academy Manager, who has to do the asking, but they are more and more supportive.”

“Spending a lot of money on under-achieving players has cost this club a lot of money.”  “The owner feels, if we can produce our own, a lot of them from the local area, who genuinely care, it will help improve the club.”

“It’s a financial investment as well, they will save themselves millions and they will earn themselves millions. If you can produce one or two players for the first-team squad every year, it is a fantastic way for the business to be run.”

“There is vast potential and there are good people working here, that is what attracted me. The area, there are so many kids.”“If you compare it to, say, Blackburn in the north west, they are competing with 18 other clubs. There is only ourselves in the whole of Northumberland. There is Sunderland, of course, but they are on the other side of the river so our natural catchment area is huge.”

“As an Academy, how we measure success is quite broad. At domestic level it is about getting them to progress and to develop into successful men.”  “The number one target is to develop them into good footballers, but it is about more than that. It’s about providing them with an education, values and skills that will serve them well in life.”

And with profound apologies to Willie, who is now 59, here’s how he looked in his playing days, when he played for Scotland, courtesy of Getty Images.

Willie Donachie – in his playing days

Willie was a left-back and represented Scotland 35 times, and played over 600 first class games, with 351 of those being at his very first club – Manchester City.

So Willie has earned the right to coach the Newcastle youngsters – that’s for sure.

Comments welcome, but please try to be civil with other readers, when they have opposing viewpoints.



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21 comments so far

  • Toonkistan

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #1

    Where are the youngsters when u need them the most…god knows we could’ve done with Haris Vuckic right now 🙁

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  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #2

    That’s funny I’m sure I can remember wenger selling Annelka for 22M about 10 years ago, after buying him fro 500K !!

    Ed you really need to move on from this. Andy Carroll is no innocent in all this . He’s a big lad now and saw the dollar signs.

    The only bad thing about taking 36M is the timing.

    it’s not about being a rich club either, we were raped by shepherd and had to start from scratch again.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #3

    I think having a good youth academy is great, but it’s only as good as your coaches. It would be great to see some good technical and skill training coaches come in like Simon Clifford or some Dutch / French or Spanish trainers.

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  • IceIceGeordie

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #4

    Lock the kids up,This fella doesnt look right to me 😉

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  • MrMojoRisin76

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #5

    On a lighter note i’ve got a Sun Dream Team and the transfer window shuts at 12 Saturday afternoon might take the Newcastle approach to it,waiting til 11 30,going to sell my 2 best goalscorers and sign a goalkeeper and a new groundsman and maybe put a 9m bid in at about 11.59 for Santiago Nunez,never been the same since he left

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  • GeordieGerman

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #6

    Is the academy also a boarding school as in the case of W. Bremen? If the kids at W. Bremen don’t make it as footballers the leave with a Certificate in sports so they can go on to follow a career in sports. i.e. teach, gym trainer etc.

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  • veto

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #7

    right little cash farm they have growing

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  • supermacnumber9

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #8

    Bolton Wanderers set for battle with Celtic FC and Newcastle United for Utrecht midfielder
    – any sign of a battle for a CF soon? Or don’t I understand how great clubs are run and good teams built?

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  • Toonmania

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #9

    this is all well and good as long as they keep the players that “want to stay” their is no point in developing young players and then selling them all when they get to a certain price, we as a club would never progress

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  • sirtoongospel

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #10

    Simon Clifford? Hardly, the likes of Barney Jones at NUFC are streets ahead of them. Their coaching is awesome.

    As for Arsenal Ed, we have had more successful academy players than them. The most advanced academy system is Chelsea, dealing with 3 million kids every year. And who are NUFC working with to improve the set up and use their blue print? Chelsea. Our youth system is being invested in more than most, the past is the past, we are doing the right things now.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 4, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #11

    sirtoongospel

    please tell me more about Barney Jones and the Chelsea blueprint. I am genuinely intereted. To be fair are you familiar with Simon Clifford and Futebol de salao. To my mind the best coaching I’ve ever seen is the Dutch Coerver coaching, although we also send groups to the ”Barcelona methodology” which is fantastic.

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  • NUFC_Richyg01

    Feb 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #12

    Ed. You really need to get over Andy Carroll!

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  • Nufcboy88

    Feb 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #13

    wher is vuckic at the mo?? is he on loan?

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  • wynsleap

    Feb 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #14

    One of the few things The Controller HAS done right in his time at the Toon is to try and build up the Academy. The only problem is that the policy of bringing in top kids from around the world has also stopped recently. Is even THAT at an end now?
    Having said all the above, we’re still to see the fruits of that policy – Zamblera – gone, Ngo Baheng – gone, Kadar, Lua Lua, Forster, Donaldson, Tavernier, Edmundsson etc out on loan and the likes of Vukic, Adjei, Spear and Inman yet to make a breakthrough.
    Another problem is that to coach top kids you have to have top coaches to bring through their talent. With all due respect to Donachie, I don’t think he’ll measure up to Wenger’s staff.

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  • Jan Stavik

    Feb 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #15

    Move on Ed, this blog is getting very negative lately. Carroll is sold, he wanted to go, and Toon got an amazing price for him.

    Case closed, we’re tired of negativity now, if you’re not switching mood soon you’ll loose a lot of readers.

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  • lewman

    Feb 4, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #16

    rotonda not only did arsenal sell anelka, they also sold viera in his prime for peanuts and man u sold ronaldo after buying him at a young age and sold beckham in his prime but made some stupis story up so the fans wouldnt moan at the board.

    anyway i cant see fabregas being at arsenal 2 seasons from now, especially when barca come back with a 45-50 million offer of which seems expensive but is a great price for barca in the times of andy carroll being worth 35-40 million.

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  • JP...from The Rock

    Feb 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #17

    Ed I have to agree with some readers here that this fabulous blog is becoming rather negative. We are all hurting about the Carroll saga and it should be put to rest. Carrying on mentioning it will only cause unrest and disrupt the team spirit and the unity between fans and the team. We need to remain focused and forget that greedy twat. I would give my left arm to be playing for Newcastle and earning 30k a week but that wasn’t enough for the tall twat. Forget him he;s in the past and these kids are the future. Ranger is close to becoming something special he just needs playing time and I think he’ll be very good for us. Survival is the aim of the game now and that’s the only thing we should be focusing on. I know it doesn’t help when the boards f**k it up by getting no replacements but hey we kind of expected that didn’t we?

    Howay the Lads…here’s to a bright future in black n’ white 😀

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  • Ed Harrison

    Feb 4, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Comment #18

    JP – no problem – it’s been negative news this week unfortunately – but I tried to put some positive articles out today – we have to all move forward now and support the lads – we can turn this around – we will turn this around! 😀

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  • JP...from The Rock

    Feb 4, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Comment #19

    That’s the spirit Ed I knew you had it in ya!! 😀

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  • AndyMac

    Feb 4, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #20

    I’ve never understood the hoorahs who cite not supporting the classless, clueless, corrupt management is tantamount to not getting behind the team ?????

    Sorry but I can do both amazingly well. You should try it sometime.

    Ashley is the reason why we’re scrambling around the bargain basements of Europe looking for a replacement striker who can put the ball in the net. Even before Carroll left we had NO QUALITY BACKUP for him and we all knew that.

    FFS grow some balls and realise that Ashley is the enemy here not Carroll or his agent or Liverpool or anything else you wish to lay the blame on.

    Support the Toon and F@@k the Fatman.

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  • StuW

    Feb 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Comment #21

    We have so many good players coming through the academy. Nile and Haris are the main ones, but there is young Brandon Miele, Steve Folan, and Brad Inman along with Jak Alnwick, Aaron Spear, Phil Airey and co that could be massive.

    The academy is a crucial part of top clubs. Look at Barca, Lyon, ManUre, Bayern, Inter etc. Their academies produce so many players that will either go to the 1st team, or if not good enough, be sold for a good price.

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