Realistically speaking and thinking, we have come a long way in a short time haven’t we?
What I mean by this, is, when you consider what we had in place many years ago in terms of young talent mostly scooped from local boys clubs coupled with the odd further afield signing of the odd youngster, plucked from non-league clubs, we didn’t really seem to capitalise on their talents did we?
Think back to the time when we had a really good influx of extremely good up and coming youths, like Lee Clark, Robbie Elliott, Steve Watson and looking further into the past, players like Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddles and so on. Players who actually made it into the first team and possessed the talent to propel them to a higher plain, yet we didn’t have any real back up, to back them up, so to speak.
I think that is probably the closest we ever really came to having a solid base of abundant young talent all capable of vying for a first team place, which many achieved for a short period, yet unfortunately too many were plunged into the deep end too quickly, which made us look like a very young talented side but it also made us a wet behind the ears talented side with too much pressure being placed on too many young shoulders at the time.
At that time, we were known as a selling club and we tended to sell the best players and replace them with mediocre players, with the emphasis on blooding these youngsters alongside of the new buys. As we know, it did not work because it was done the wrong way round.
What we did in the past was sell the players that produced the goods and replaced them with players that had a name but didn’t exactly produce anything out of the ordinary, which weakened us in terms of quality and experience.
The problem was we then blooded the youngsters in with those players and suffered for it because the youngsters weren’t exactly learning anything from most that were brought in, so basically they didn’t have much in the form of a role model to shape them into the top class players that they threatened to be.
Ultimately, we lost most of those young players because although talented, they suffered from the pressure of having to produce consistently as if they were seasoned professionals. It wasn’t long before other clubs came in and picked them off though, as other clubs could see the talent and could nurture it, which was something that we were more or less clueless about.
We never ever seemed to be able to shape the majority because those youngsters were mainly an afterthought, or a stop gap, if you like.
We appear to have addressed that though, especially since Mike Ashley took over and his clever appointment of Alan Pardew, who as we all know, is a master of producing talent and using them as and when he feels the time is right and not when he’s trying to just fill a hole.
This club is building the foundations of youth and the foundations being laid and smooth and true and all we are waiting for is the curing of that concrete base that can withstand the continued presence of the regular young foot-soldiers that will cascade over it.
What we are doing right this time around is, we have not only put the youth set up firmly on solid ground but we have went into the market overseas and local to ensure that we get the right blend of talent that will ultimately be the future for this club.
The reason why it will work this time around, is because of the quality seasoned professionals we are bringing in. Those who the young players can actually see as their role models and make them work their socks off to be as good or better than them because the young players know that, if they get their chance, working with and training with top quality who they know can only improve their game and improve it as good as anywhere in the country right now, yet they are given time to get hungry and are given time to adjust to gaining the required physical strength, insight, talent and mental toughness to be able to take on the rigours of a Premier League season.
The pleasing thing is, this club focuses on the youth aspect as much as it focuses on bringing in seasoned performers as they all go hand in hand to making the club a continued future success.
We seem to be taking advantage of the fact that the so called bigger clubs are buying in what they need and are putting only a small emphasis on the young starlets out there, who will, in time, become the expensive stars of the future and yet we will have a good amount of them in my opinion.
We are certainly not short of these footsoldiers and we seem to be getting to a stage now that some of these youngsters are so close to being a major part of the season, with a continued conveyor belt of talent just putting in the effort and learning, to follow them and so on and so on.
The rise of the Newcastle United footsoldiers is happening and it’s going be one exciting future for all of us because all the ingredients are there now and are getting mixed to make a recipe that Gordon Ramsay couldn’t fault.
So lads and lasses, do you think we are on the best track that we have ever been on, or do you think I’m bigging up the youth and it’s set up far too early?
I’d be interested in your total honesty on the subject no matter what critical analysis you feel you can counteract with.