Newcastle Scouting Network Leaves No Stone Unturned


It’s good to get some information about how Newcastle are looking for new talent to bring to Newcastle United.

Mike Ashley – investing heavily in scouting network

Mike Ashley visited the Benton training grounds a week last Thursday, and he has said he will put another £15M into the scouting for young talent, and one of the new people brought in to do that is Mick Tait.

Tait is now in a new role at the club, where he reports to the head of recruitment Steve Nixon, and basically his role is to look for any late developers in the game.

Mick was born in Wallsend and played for Wallsend Boys Club before going on to play  for eight different clubs, that included Carlisle United and Portsmouth. as well as local clubs like Darlington and Hartlepool.

The 55 year-old has also managed a number of clubs including Hartlepool, Darlington and recently Blyth Spartans.

So Mick has the experience and knowledge to know a good player when he sees one, and seems perfectly skilled to join the scouting ranks at Newcastle.

Some players don’t come good until their late teens or even beyond that, for one reason or another, and it seems that Newcastle want to ensure that none of these late developing players escape their grasp, as many have done in the past.

Tait will concentrate mainly on  16 to 19-year-olds, but if he finds some older players coming through, that’s good as well.

Tait has talked to the Sunday Sun today about his job, and he had this to say:

“What I’ve been asked to do is look for late-developers, mainly 16 to 19-year-olds, and if I see anything in senior football above that, who I think could do a job, then to report on them as well.”

“It’s mainly lads who clubs thought were going to be players, but for one reason or another didn’t develop quickly enough, whether it’s physically or mentally.”

“There are a lot of players in those brackets at 15 and 16, who don’t get kept on at clubs, but who develop later.”  “It’s difficult for them because once they drop out of the academy system, less training means they might drop away technically, but that can come back.”

“It’s about spotting and bringing the right ones back.”  “There are one or two who’ve come into the game late.”  “A good example is how Peterborough United recruited from non-league a couple of years ago, and won consecutive promotions.”

“They paid a little bit of money for lads 18 to 22, 23, and they were really decent players.”  “Obviously, that’s not Premier League level, but the principle is the same.”  “The other side is mental development. Lads can feel they’re not good enough, they’re in awe of others around them.”

“As a scout and a coach, you know they’re good enough, but they don’t believe it themselves.”  “They might be players who need to go away and take a couple more years to look around and realize that they are good enough.”  “Then they start to play, and my job is to find people like that.

“They’ll be few and far between, clubs don’t miss many. But there’ll be someone at some time. It’s a case of being aware of every kid that’s about.”  “Yes, it’s about personal judgement and mistakes will be made.”  “But we have to make sure there are fewer than there has been in the past.

“The best local talent should want to come to Newcastle United, and we have to make that happen, make it the place to be.”

One of the very best things Mike Ashley has done since buying Newcastle in the summer of 2007 is to invest in two things – youth development and the scouting network – and we have seen that strategy bear fruit lately.

And we have high hopes that Newcastle will bring in some good buys in the summer transfer window, and even if they are not well known names, we know they have been scouted well and could become excellent acquisitions like Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye to name but two.

Newcastle’s scouting business seems to be rapidly becoming one of the best in the business, and that must auger well for the future of the club.

Comments welcome.



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16 comments so far

  • JackButler

    Feb 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #1

    Love him or loath him but Mike Ashley had brought a business model and scouting system to Newcastle that is the envy of a lot of clubs and will be a future model for clubs.

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  • Dannyo

    Feb 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #2

    Credit to MA for putting such emphasis on youth. Obviously there’s a financial gain here, but still, it bodes for a secure and exciting future.

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  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Feb 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #3

    Nothing like a civil war amongst Toon fans on a quiest Sunday morning

    Bill-son, Solano, JFA et al

    please give us a break
    (esp Bill-son – no sense of humour at all)

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  • Ben3arfa

    Feb 19, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #4

    So does Graham Carr as chief scout only identify first team transfer targets?

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  • JackButler

    Feb 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #5

    Ben3arfa – It seems that Carr’s role is working for the first team, no doubt if he see’s a youngster on his travels its reported back to the club

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  • Ben3arfa

    Feb 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #6

    I really do hope we land some exciting young talent, spurs did that a few years ago and it is paying dividends for them today ..

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  • wynsleap

    Feb 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #7

    So Mick Tait who not only played for Carlisle, Darlington and Hartlepool and also managed (not very successfully) Blyth Spartans has been charged with finding players good enough to play for a top Premiership side.
    Well, that I do look forward to.

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  • GeordieToon89

    Feb 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #8

    Mick Tait was the manager of Darlington when a was there hes a really nice honest man who spent alot of time watching our youth games he got me to play for the reserve type team when a was 15 was against Newcastle behind closed doors haha not going to lie a scored a screamer past big Fraser

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  • SurefootedShola

    Feb 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #9

    Seems really ill-qualified to find the class of youth we want. Also sounds like we’re picking from the low-swinging branches.

    I thought we were going after the gleaming fruits near the top? Sounds like we’ll end up with another bunch we’re getting rid of, Airey, Kadar etc….

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  • ogbell

    Feb 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #10

    It’s actually Steve NICKSON, not Nixon. He had the same role at Blackburn Rovers and has seen through Junior Hoilett, Martin Olsson, Phil Jones and Matt Derbyshire to name a few.
    If he finds us any pearlers like at least two of the 4 I mentioned we,be got another good scout on our hands. He’s also got Drew Beardsley working for him (son of Pedro).

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  • catchy in norway

    Feb 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #11

    Dannyo // Feb 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    when will the kids play??

    15 million seems a lot of money if pardew wont play them

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  • cestriasteve

    Feb 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #12

    Hope Mick is keeping an eye on Adam Reach playing for the Boro and on the fringe of breaking into the first team. A classic example of a late developer. Black & White through and through as well.

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  • bills-son

    Feb 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #13

    wynsleap – and who did Graham Carr manage? Northampton, Kettering and Weymouth among about 10 clubs of similar standing. Yet he was instrumental in finding Tiote, Cabaye, Santon, HBA and Abheid amongst others. Shoots your back handed slap at Tait (and no doubt Ashley) right down in flames eh?

    Tait sounds like an intelligent guy from his quotes.

    MagpiesFlyHigh – no sense of humour eh? When I humour some on here I’m called an abuser and when I don’t I’m still called names so I can’t win.

    By the way … here is a true football story from the late John McGrath a CB for the Toon in the 60’s. He went to manage Port Vale in old 4th Division. He had bugger all to spend but had a nippy skinny inside forward who needed a big lad alongside him to kick the defenders and let the little lad in for the flick ons. So, he bid £1500 for a 6’4″ built like a brick $hithouse centre forward playing in Bury’s reserves. Tommy Johnstone or something he was called. Tommy had a reputation for sticking his head in among the flying boots but his bravery had left him somewhat paralysed in the mental department … as big John McGrath was about to find out during the signing process.

    Tommy wasn’t too clever at filling out his details on the transfer form so Port Vale’s secretary asked the questions …

    Name ? “Tommy”

    Any middle names? “Johnstone”

    Suirname? “Johnstone”

    Tommy Johnstone Jonhstone? “Eh no, just Tommy Johnstone”

    So you don’t have a middle name then? “Not too sure what you mean mate”

    OK we’ll just put Tommy Johnstone on the form.

    Whats your date of birth Tommy? “the fifth of January”

    What year? “er … its the same day every year mate .. the fifth of January”.

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  • stuart no9

    Feb 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #14

    JB @1 – you got it wrong mate, – we have a good scouting system for OTHER clubs, coz that is where they all end up m8.

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  • stuart no9

    Feb 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #15

    bill-son @13 regarding your john mcgrath story , – good try.

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  • Sav

    Feb 19, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #16

    Bit Harsh, Ed…starting a blog about turning over a rock with a picture of Mashley ?
    But I like your sense of humour.

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