The Newcastle United Blog

News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Banner created by Reilly - one of our readers
Howay The Lads!!

Academy Gets Category One Status – Sign Three Top Youngsters

9:12 am, Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 48 Comments

Some good news today that has only just been put up on the Newcastle web-site – and something both Alan Pardew and John Carver had alluded to in the last couple of weeks –  three of Newcastle’s top youngsters – Adam Armstrong, goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and center-back Lubo Satka have all signed their first professional deals on Tyneside –  and finally the Youth Academy has been awarded Category One status under the Premier League’s Elite Players Performance Plan.

alan pardew and youngsters

Satka, Pardew, Armstrong, Joyce and Woodman

Adam Armstrong is 17 and made his first team debut at Fulham,  Slovakian center-back Satka is 18 and has played for the Slovakian U19 side, and Woodman, 17 is the son of Newcastle goalkeeping coach Andy, and has played for the England at both U16 and U17 level.

And some really good additional news is the Tyneside club have also announced that its Academy has been awarded Category One status – the highest ranking under the Premier League’s Elite Players Performance Plan (EPPP).

The EPPP has Premier League and Football League Youth Academies assessed and Category One is the highest assessment possible, and Newcastle failed to achieve that in our first attempt..

This is what a delighted Alan Pardew said today:

“Being a Category One Academy is extremely important in terms of looking to the future and giving young talented players the best possible chance of succeeding at Newcastle United.”

“I know our supporters love to see young players like Sammy Ameobi and Paul Dummett come through, and that’s why I’m pleased to see Adam, Freddie and Lubo sign their first professional contracts.”

“This is only a first step on the career ladder for these boys and they must continue to show the same commitment and desire and will to learn as they have to this point.”

And Academy manager Joe Joyce had this to say:

“Achieving Category One status was recognition of all the hard work and effort put in by all Academy staff in order first of all to achieve that status, but also it’s recognition of the Club’s commitment to youth development generally.”

“The Category One status allows us to have more contact time with the players, so the training schedule during the week can increase and the staff can work a lot longer with the boys.”

Local lad Armstrong who lies in the Chapel Hill estate in Newcastle added:

“The hard work starts now. I’m buzzing to sign this deal and hopefully it goes well. The manager’s shown an interest in the young players which is really good.”

Satka had his parents come over to see him sign his new contract – and he added:

“I’m really happy. I’ve enjoyed my two years at the club and it’s good that I can keep going and stay here. My parents came over from Slovakia to see me sign my contract which made me very happy. I don’t get to see them too much so I hope that they’re proud.”

And finally young Woodman – a top young goalkeeper prospect – said this:

“It feels amazing to sign with a club as big as Newcastle. It’s a dream come true. At this Club, you can see that young players are getting a chance.”

The Newcastle Youth Academy is one where the hope is Newcastle  can bring through some top youngsters to the first team, and while we haven’t been too successful over the last six years or so, the current crop look to be very good with these three lads some of the best  young players at the club.

Comments welcome.

Note: Sean Borland is a student in Newcastle and will not be at either the Man United (5 April) or Swansea (19 April) games – and he has tickets – £30 for the ManU game and £20 for the Swansea game – you can contact him at or sean4eva09 on twitter.

Tags: Adam Armstrong · Freddie Woodman · Lubo Satka · Newcastle Academy · Newcastle News · Newcastle Youth

48 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Greebol1892 // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Look Ruddy, Category One status 😉

  • 2 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    #1, woohoo!!!

  • 3 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Great news for the academy, however, getting the status is one thing, being able to bring the kids on and develope them is another, and this appears to be our biggest achilles heel.
    On the previous thread about possible new signings for the summer, although a over haul may happen that still doesn’t mean a lot of cash being spent, Mame Diouf, Aaron Hunt and Jeremy Menez are all out of contract in the summer and would all carry a sell on value with them, I feel we are more likely to go for those lads rather than the more expensive Grenier’s of this world !

  • 4 Average_Contents // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Ed beat me to it you tit you :v

  • 5 Average_Contents // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Unlucky 70two lol

  • 6 mindshaft // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    #70TWO FAIL!

  • 7 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Category one status, woohoo!!!

    Its like being at the top of the league…..oh, not.

  • 8 Ciaran // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Good news regarding the Academy, now we can compete with the likes of Wolves, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Leicester, Blackburn and Reading in the category 1 academies. Now the real work begins in terms of properly developing our youngsters.

    Lesh from few threads ago.

    I don’t know if you are unfamiliar with where this small plot of land is situated, but it is situated across the road from the Gallowgate by Strawberry Place.

    I am absolutely certain that the club does not pay a mortgage on the land, the ground belongs to Nexus travel company and a long lease had been granted to NUFC when they bought it in 1998 – with a view to developing a casino/hotel with a walkway through to the Gallowgate, but these plans were shelved.

    If a private developer puts student accommodation or whatever they may have planned on that piece of land that removes any opportunity for future development.

    The most likely way the Gallowgate will ever be expanded is if the stadium is expanded outwards towards the road – planning issues around building on roads are supposedly easy enough to surmount – therefore that space would be necessary to ensure there was no other buildings preventing that outward expansion. Say, for example, a block of student accommodation was sitting on that plot of land, NUFC would not get planning from the council to expand SJP.

    NUFC holding the benefit of this lease is the ONLY way SJP will ever be expanded in the future and by selling off the benefit of the lease to private developers MA is locking the capacity of SJP forever.

    As for those who say ‘lay off MA’ (Cyrpus) why the hell should I lay off of him? The man is systematically destroying the club I love. Do you think that just because he got off his arse to watch a couple of games that now means he is ready to invest big in NUFC?

    You can put up with MA, and feel sorry for him and wish and hope he will invest in our team. I for one will never stop pushing at him until he leaves our club, and I find your approach rather insulting.

  • 9 jimmysmith // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I imagine Pards probably convinced those three lads to sign or else suffer a particular kind physical violence.

  • 10 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Tonights match:
    Pretty hard to predict anything other than another spanking, especially with no creative midfielder or an inform goal scorer. Just have to hope that reverse sh#t happens and we luckily pull something out of the bag, or at least keep their score line to a minimum.

    Marveaux – Cisse – Gouffran
    — Anita — Tiote — Sissoko
    Dummet – Collo – Willo – Mbiwa
    —————– Krul

  • 11 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Ciaran, you do as you feel fit, but if you ever lay off Mike Ashley then I will hound you forever bonny lad lol.

    Seriously, the man treats us with such distain that I find it amazing that people can call others for having a go at him, are these people for reel ?

  • 12 MrMojoRisin76 // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    I think you might have hit upon something there,we should put Pardew in charge of player negotiations in the summer,lock the both in a room and let Pardew,shall we say,make “him an offer he can’t refuse”.I’m sure we get a few “over the line” when they get out of hospital.

  • 13 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    real not reel, that’s what you use for fishing !!!

  • 14 jimmysmith // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    I don’t see us getting tonked. A close hard fought game. We are a good team, just sadly lacking goals without Remy. Same team as Palace, with Cisse to play well again.

  • 15 Ciaran // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:53 AM


    It truly begs belief doesn’t it. If I ever waver – not that I ever think I will – I will be counting on you to whip me back into line haha

    After 7 years of mismanagement, poor communication and decisions that seem to be taken with no reason other than sheer contempt for the fans and fiscal frugality, some fans still want to ‘give him time’

    None so blind as those who cannot see. Everyone’s tolerance levels are different, but some people are dismissing what he is doing to this club. What he has done to the city and its people. It’s actually quite sad.

  • 16 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:56 AM


    I would expect Ben Arfa to start ahead of Marveaux, other than that I imagine that you have what will be the side, is Armstrong available tonight, it would be good to see his development continue, I don’t know how long he was to be away on international duty for, does anyone know ?

  • 17 Himanshu Dhingra // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    3 new signings 😉

    Pards wasn’t wrong

    Champions league here we come.

  • 18 toon kk // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    There will probably be about 10 to a maximum of 14 mill available for transfers in the summer for three or four players, expect similar results if we’re lucky next season as long as we get a good striker in, or we could struggle.

  • 19 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    The mag reporting that a club can only be assessed once every 2 years. Not sure if that’s true or not. But it does seem that even though we didn’t pass 2 years ago, we were allowed to behave like a cat 1 academy. Perhaps the issue was so small and we had to wait until now for some reason.

  • 20 toon kk // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    How much do you think will be available for transfers in the summer? Keeping in mind we’re a business that likes to keep costs down.

  • 21 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    toon kk

    We’re a business that needs to be self-sufficient you mean?

    You’ve got to consider agent’s fees and any additional wages but I’m still expecting substantial investment. Don’t care whether the money is spent on transfer fees or other fees but I’m expecting at least 4 first team players coming in and 2 or 3 young players to push the first team.

  • 22 Coach // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    toon kk
    I know I’m an eternal optimist and so open to severe criticism on here but I really believe we are at a turning point. Obviously this summer is critical but to me, the signs are good. I don’t defend what has happened and the way Ashley has made so many massive errors of judgement but that doesn’t mean I can’t look for the positives as well.

    The academy is great news although medium term of course. Also, Ashley is attending games again, I take that as a sign that he has some pleasant surprises in store.

    At a minimum, the club has £40 million extra in TV money and unlike a lot of teams, we haven’t already spent it. Add £20 million from Cabaye and there is a minimum of £60 million surplus cash in the club. I’ve ignored last years and this years trading profits. There are only 3 things Ashley can do with the money, one is leave it in the bank and that’s really not his style.

    My view is he will split it between the other 2 options, repaying his loan and funding transfers. I believe he planned to take £18 million off his loan last year but didn’t, I think he will take a minimum of that this year but may take more, perhaps as much as £29 million.

    That still leave at least £30 million to fund transfers plus anything we get for offloading players although I don’t expect that to add up to much. That amount doesn’t go far on the modern football world but it would be one hell of a step forward and who knows, he may settle for the smaller loan repayment.

    Like I said, I’m an optimist.

  • 23 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:11 AM


    the excuse which they tend to use is that we have never been a sucessful club and under Ashley we are as good as we have ever been apart from a brief fling under Sir John, as true as this may be, football is now about finance, only the big and strong will succeed, that can happen only 2 ways for me, meggar rich owner’s or clubs who are big enough to self finance, there are very few clubs who could succeed off their own bat but we are one of them, i days gone bye the likes of Ipswich and Forest have been successful clubs, those days unless a rich owner comes along are gone, we are one of a limited number who should be at the top, but what do we have, someone lining his own already extremely deep pockets.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, failing in the past as we have is no excuse for refusing to challenge now, it’s a different sport which will only allow the minority to challenge and we are in that minority, but all these foolish fans can see is Lord Westwood and Gordon McKeag and believe that due to them we now have nothing to complain about, the mind boggles !

  • 24 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    I believe NUFC has become an even more unprofessional business that serves the interest of Ashley, who believes himself above accountability and has created an unpleasant atmosphere through very poor decision making.

    I don’t believe personal abuse and attempts to run Ashley out of Toon are any more productive and only creates equal opposition. There is actually quite a few things that are positive about the current status of NUFC and perhaps by actually championing those things there would be more likelihood of some form of fan representation at board level.

    This does not mean I am opposed to negative opinion towards NUFC as there is also plenty, with very little recompense or redress. But no one likes to admit they were wrong, especially when you can spend some money and move on.

  • 25 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Spoof @23

    “someone lining his own already extremely deep pockets.”

    Can you explain this statement as it seems to me to indicate criminal intent?

  • 26 Himanshu Dhingra // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    once bitten twice shy!

    How many times has the club been bitten.

    No chance of a net spend of over 8 million Pounds.

  • 27 toon kk // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    yes we’re a self sufficient club that likes large profits, trouble is that often means skipping on transfers which can have serious consequences on the pitch.

  • 28 jazzyp // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    I think after the last 2 shambolic windows, this will be the one that truly testifies Ashley’s intent towards the club. We all know many players hopefully will be moved on that havent made the cut….. And about time too.i personally see more than £14 mill being spent on incoming players

  • 29 toon kk // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    lets hope your right. Trouble is with Mash we’ve been let down so many times it’s best not to build your hopes up.

  • 30 Himanshu Dhingra // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:24 AM


    Why this window?

    Why not when we finished fifth?

    Why not when we nearly got relegated?

  • 31 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM


    It is a widely used expression, I find it strange how you have never heard of it, it has been used on this site on numerous occasions, it means to make money for yourself in a greedy manner, what I would like to know is how you thought there could be criminal intent !, I have for years being critical of Mike Ashley, but I have never tried to imply that he is a crook, and as far as I am aware no Newcastle fan has, to my knowledge there is no reason to suggest he is ?, I find this peculiar to be honest !

  • 32 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    toon kk

    Large profits? When exactly? I think we have made a profit the last 3 years and losses before that, including some big losses.

    Profit are not a bad thing you know and it’s pointless to try to sign players just to balance the books.

  • 33 Coach // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    toon kk
    You’re right of course and a bit of me is very wary given Ashley’s history but if he doesn’t spend a lot on transfers, the only thing he can do is take even more off his loan.

    Even that has an upside because it makes it more likely he is preparing the club to sell it. It’s only my take on things, but what I see is a club that is finally in the very healthy position he has been looking for and he will strike a balance between his loan and strengthening the team.

  • 34 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

  • 35 lesh // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Ciaran. So you’re really not sure about the costs associated with the club’s lease on that piece of ground. That must therefore temper your suggestion of substantial revenue loss. You never mentioned the cost of the business rates for a site un the centre of the city. I’d imagine they’d be high.

    Let’s not confuse asset stripping with good financial housekeeping. I must say that I don’t know the detail, do you?

    Realistically, and as John Hall and Freddy Shepherd will agree, Newcastle United does not own SJP and the only way it could be expanded is upwards and even that presented difficulties (Leazes Terrace etc) which encouraged their thoughts towards building a new stadium – wasn’t Gateshead mooted?

    All in all, any development plans for SJP are severely limited, face the fact.

  • 36 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Spoof @31

    I have also seen it and thought you may be able to explain, as it is a statement that could be interpreted in different ways. Rather than challenging I am in need of information, how has Ashley been generating excessive amounts of money for himself?

  • 37 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Hmmm…established clubs like Arsenal, Everton and Spurs are right down at the bottom with us.


    What exactly is the point you’re making? That we have signed excellent players for low transfer fees? That we’ve had to rebuild our squad after getting relegated? That the club is being run well from a financial aspect?

  • 38 Ibizatoon // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Spoof…Just checking out that table again and noticed something. Have Stoke really not sold more than £8.65m worth of players in the past 5 years? Norwich only £1.5m.

    Also, didn’t palace get more than the quoted £9.75m total for Zaha alone?

    Seen this table many times, but never noticed those really. Was always attracted to those beautiful red numbers at the bottom 😉

  • 39 Spoof // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    @36, look @34

    with that I must go, see you’s all later

  • 40 Ibizatoon // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Lesh…If it is merely a matter of simple good business practice, then the information backing that claim up should be or made available.

    I’m still interested to know about the transferring of said lease to MASH holdings.

  • 41 toon kk // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    I know our profits aren’t that large in the world of football and we have had large losses in the past, thats why I can’t see MA spending over 14Mill.

  • 42 Ciaran // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM


    By claiming that the only way SJP can be expanded is outwards you show you do not understand the topic.

    NUFC does own SJP, they just do not own the ground it stands on but the building itself belongs to the club.

    The lease is rented out to the council, any rates etc would be covered by the 80k+ that is brought in via that arrangement.

    The future of NUFC is dependant upon the benefit of that lease – which is an asset – that asset is then being sold. The money will not go to the club but rather to Mike Ashley – which is asset stripping – and if you were to even set aside the issue of asset stripping Mike Ashley is selling the future development opportunities of SJP – which are not limited, and could see NUFC have a capacity upwards of 60,000.

    Your blasé attitude towards this either demonstrates how little you understand the issue, or how little you care. Either way, doesn’t look good for you.

  • 43 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    toon kk

    Why £14M? We kept our powder relatively dry last summer, got £20 or so from Cabaye and we’ll have an extra £40M or so from TV money this summer that we haven’t already spent (like several clubs).

    We will need to sign several first team players and if we could spend our £14M in an amazing bargain way then great:
    Cabaye £3.5M
    Ba FREE
    Remy £8M
    Tiote £4.5M

    That’s a little more than £14M but I’d be very happy with that kind of window!

    Can’t see it happening like that all the time though so I think we’ll spend more.

    Mike Ashley isn’t directly taking money out of our club, so the money will either be spent or sit there in our bank account.

  • 44 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM


    Please explain why the money will go to Mike Ashley rather than the club? Is the lease owned by NUFC or Mike Ashley personally?

  • 45 Blofal // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Toon KK the TV money (which all other clubs spent in advance) is going to give us far more than 14 mill.

    I know history isn’t on our side but I am convinced we are going to spend 30 – 40 million this window. The TV money combined with the Cabaye money will allow us to spend that much and still make a profit. And thats what Ashley cares about… profit.

    And I think they know that replacing Cabaye will cost a minimum 15 mill. I am really looking forward to see what Carr has in store for us.

  • 46 ToonDarnSarf // Mar 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    For everyone criticising Ashley for caring about profit…what do you think every business owner in the world cares about? Without profit the business goes bankrupt!

    So, yes. I want an owner who cares about profit, who wants the club to make money because then the club can finance itself.

    The manager can worry about players and tactics, the scout can worry about new players and the owner can worry about profit.

    The higher up the league we finish, the more profit, the better deals we strike on signings, the more profit, the better the club is run, more profit. Blah blah. What the hell is the issue with that?

  • 47 wynsleap // Mar 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Anyone who defends Ashley in any way, shape or form can not have the best interests of the Toon at heart. This guy has systematically destroyed the fabric of this club, torn away its good reputation as well as the hopes and aspirations of decent supporters.
    He has turned it into a tacky vehicle for his sports brand, insulted the supporters intelligence on many occasions, lied through his back teeth (Keegan’s court case), employed his own drinking buddies within the club, cut the revenue of the club by diverting proceeds to his brand, renamed a hero’s bar and it would seem, built up his own brand’s business at the expense of the club’s.
    He has invested absolutely nothing in his tenure here as his overall transfer spend shows a profit, he has taken a good sponsor like Virgin away from the club and replaced it with a highly contentious name and he has dispensed with some excellent backroom staff.
    He won’t discuss with the fans his (non-existent) plans, he won’t change a puppet manager for a reputable one, has reneged on his promise to bring top European kids to his Academy and seemingly has no ambition for the club or his paying public. He spends nothing on player investment yet rakes in massive amounts from TV, ticket sales, sponsorship, merchandising etc and pays nothing to the club for all of his substantial sports brand advertising. In addition his loan never seems to diminish and the asking price if it exists, never reduces.
    And YET we still hear fans on here defending him. WHY???
    Are we all somehow frightened of him, brainwashed … or brain dead? The truth is out there somewhere.
    Of course it will all change next year won’t it lads?
    Shakes head.

  • 48 70TWO // Mar 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM


    Sorry if it seems I am picking on you who has simply repeated what others have said. The profit from the sale of players will also be reflected in the club accounts and from memory these have only been in profit for the past two years (prior to 2013). The statement “lining his own pockets” indicates there is personal profiteering and perhaps implying at the expense of the club.

    What is true is that SD benefit from free advertising and as the media profile of the company is raised that Ashley indirectly (he does not take a salary from SD) benefits from the perceived success of that company. The fact that the advertising is free, commercial revenue is down, ticket money down and not fully utilised (no Cup runs), the overall ability of NUFC to generate income has fallen. The TV money and player sales have been the only factors allowing the club to make a profit at the expense of a perceived loss in quality, depth or ‘star players’ in the squad.

    The result is that rather than “lining his pockets” or even being self sufficient, the ability of the club to become successful has been reduced, the financial margins have become tighter and consequently there is an overall ‘cheapening’ of the club. In some ways with the lack of investment in comparison to others, it is surprising that we are still in the Premier League and in the top half.

    With the club now ‘reset’, making a profit and able to invest more significantly, perhaps greater success will result in generating greater commercial revenue and the club will be able to compete financially with the ‘big clubs’. Quite an achievement and not through a mega-rich owner lavishing unlimited funds that would effectively put us in to further debt.

previous post: Cabaye To Be Replaced In Summer With “Clever Player”

next post: Newcastle Fans Not Confident About Everton Outcome