With the league season now drawing to a close for the
Newcastle u17 side, its pleasing to report that a 3-1 victory over their
rivals Nottingham Forest in February confirmed their position as Academy Group
D group winners.
Goals from Calvin Zola-Makongo, James Beaumont and an OG mean that the
Newcastle lads now go forward into the National playoffs.
If all goes well the side then face another six knockout matches in their
quest to emulate last seasons u17s and qualify for the two-legged final.
If they can get there, theyll hope to go one better than their
predecessors, who lost 5-2 on aggregate to Ipswich.
For the u19 side though, their season looks destined to fizzle out as a
winless run of five games has seen them allow Nottingham Forest to build up a
sizeable lead at the top of their group. Although Newcastle remain in second
and came back from Nottingham with a hard-earned 3-3 draw recently, only group
winners at this level qualify for the playoffs.
While goal scoring hasnt been a problem, with 61 netted so far (29 for
Chopra), our seven defeats compare poorly with the solitary reverse suffered
With the end of the season now in sight, its decision time across the
country, as those Academy players who havent made the grade discover their
fate. Newcastle is no exception, and while the lucky ones can look forward to
a financially secure future, for those discarded, things are rather less
However, its not always the end of the road for those with professional
aspirations, and for disappointed Newcastle youngsters theres someone on
hand who can give first-hand advice about bouncing back from rejections.
Peter Beardsley of course memorably returned to the club that had discarded
him as a bairn (another success for Bill McGarry) also being shown the door at
Oxford, Cambridge, Burnley and Gillingham.
Finally Carlisle took a chance on him, and the rest is the stuff of legend,
leading to the present day and his coaching role with the Magpie youngsters.
In more recent seasons, United youngsters who didnt manage to win a
contract have gone on to play league football at clubs as diverse as Bristol
Rovers (Kevin Gall), Halifax Town (Peter Wright) and Chesterfield (Jamie
Perhaps the nearest thing to a present-day Beardsley is Alun Armstrong. Now at
Ipswich but unwanted at Newcastle under Kevin Keegan, he joined Stockport as a
19 year old in 1994, beginning an eight-year journey that took him via
Middlesbrough and Huddersfield to the Premiership.
Although hes not a regular starter and Town remain in the wrong half of the
league, there arent many players in England who have netted against Inter
Milan both at home and in the San Siro like the one-time Geordie reject
has this season.
For those players who havent earned contracts at Premiership clubs the
FA have run exit trials in recent seasons, where players get the chance
to impress other clubs in a match situation.
Each club with an Academy can send players to these trials, where scratch
sides play against each other in front of scouts from other Premiership teams,
Nationwide league sides, and some of the more ambitious non-league outfits
such as Yeovil and Boston. Scottish and Irish clubs have also been
Inevitably there are now a number of commercial enterprises now in existence
that offer a similar service to that of the FA exit trials, and these are
gaining in popularity as the numbers of unattached players grow.
One such organization is footballcv.com, who use the internet to recruit
players of all ages and match them with clubs via a system of trials. While
primarily concerned with younger players, the glut of apprentices now on the
market means that its not just teenagers with high aspirations (or pushy
parents) signing up.
Former Newcastle director Peter Mallinger is the Managing Director of
footballcv.com, and along with Barry Fry already has 1,500 hopefuls signed up.
Newcastle were represented at the first trials day, and did spot one prospect
- 13 year old David Coker. However, living in the Midlands meant that he
ultimately decided to attend trials at nearby Leicester City rather than
journey to the North East.
Sadly though, for many the call never comes or the trial doesnt work out.
Local non-league watchers will be familiar with the words former Newcastle
youngster in many match programmes, and the likes of legendary Bedlington
goalscorer John Milner began their careers in the toons Northern
Intermediate team - forerunner to the Academy setups. Of course, in a comedy
Newcastle Shearer-trial-in-goal manner, Milner was a defender when at United
The Professional Footballers Association also now tries to assist its
members in finding new clubs, and has an online list of available players on
its own website, with career stats and a brief profile.
Their current listing has a few familiar names, with United Premiership vets
Laurent Charvet and Tommy Wright both open to offers. For those Newcastle lads
who havent been kept on though, its sad to see David Rayner, Keith Barr
and Oliver Cowie on the list - three of our lads who werent retained in
After highlighting a midfielder in the last issue, this time we take a look
at a defender; Chris Carr, centre half for the U17s:
Name: Chris Carr
Position: Central defender
Joined Newcastle: age 14
West Denton Boys Club (age 10)
Sunderland FC Centre of Excellence (at u13 and u14 level)
Newcastle United Academy teams - currently captain of u17 side.
England u18 side.
This season: 20 appearances for the u17 side (out of 22 league games
played), 1 goal. Unused sub in the FA Youth Cup, away at Norwich.
Aside from his goal in a 3-2 victory over Leeds at Durham in January, its
the Tyne-Wear derby that takes centre stage in his season. Although the 1-1
home draw is perhaps less memorable, a towering performance from Chris
provided the foundation for a 2-0 win against his old side at Whitburn in
Prospects: Good -recognized at England youth level, handed captains
armband by United coach Alan Irvine - a reflection of the maturity hes
shown since making his debut for that side while still a schoolboy.
Role models: Marcel Desailly, Wes Brown and Jaap Stam if haircuts
are any indication!
Looking forward to: Rejoining his club colleagues in the England side,
continuing to captain at club and country level.
Did you know? Chris has his own web pages, as part of the icons.com
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