Academy Gets Category One Status – Sign Three Top Youngsters

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.