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.
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