Yet more positive news today at Newcastle United, as Rafa Benitez reaches out to all parts of the club and the community.
Since Rafa was confirmed as staying at St James Park after Mike Ashley was forced to accept his demands, there have been any number of steps in the right direction.
Amongst the changes implemented, we have seen Rafa take control of the first team transfers, players signed based purely on what they can offer to the team and not a hoped for resale value in the future.
However, it is not just with the obvious where the club have moved forward.
Rafa Benitez has also forced through improvements at the training ground, as well as addressing the serious issues at both Academy and Under 21 level.
Monday has now seen the club finally embrace the Newcastle United Women’s Football Club set-up properly.
After previously giving minimal help despite the women’s team carrying the club name, now it has been announced that they will play and train at the NUFC Academy,
Describing it as a ‘formalising’ of the relationship between the club and the women’s team, the changes will also include the Newcastle United’s Women’s Football Club receiving training and match kit.
Like a lot of positive moves that can be made and have been made under Rafa Benitez, this latest one included, they don’t have to cost a lot of money by modern English football standards but the benefits for all can be immeasurable.
A great move forward and thankfully it now looks as though a line can be put through the embarrassing lack of support that was the case previously.
Newcastle United Women’s Football Club official statement:
‘Newcastle United Women’s Football Club (NUWFC) will train and play its matches at the NUFC Academy this season after formalising its relationship with Newcastle United FC and the Newcastle United Foundation.
NUWFC, which was formed in 1989, will use the Little Benton complex – home to Newcastle United’s elite youngsters up to the age of under-21 – for FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division, Reserve and cup games, as well as extending its training at the site to twice a week.
As well as benefiting from pristine pitches and changing facilities, NUWFC players will receive kit in the same way as their male counterparts, with match and training wear arriving direct from sports lifestyle brand PUMA under the sponsorship of Newcastle United’s principal partner, Wonga.
As the season progresses, Newcastle United FC and Newcastle United Foundation will also be sharing media and marketing contacts and expertise, assisting NUWFC in promoting matches, increasing attendances and boosting female participation in the region.
To further strengthen links between NUWFC and the Newcastle United Foundation, the Foundation’s Lisa Bell, a former NUWFC captain, will take a role on NUWFC’s board. Working together the two organisations will build a pathway for young female players in the North East, culminating in an application for FA Talent Centre status within two years.
NUWFC’s Anthony Rutherford said: “We are hugely excited and very grateful to be working closely with Newcastle United and to tap into resources which will really help our club and players to progress.
“There is huge potential for NUWFC going into the new season and beyond and we are very much looking forward to working with our counterparts at Newcastle United to make sure that is realised.”
Kate Bradley, head of the Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We see hundreds of talented girls every month through our school and community coaching programmes. The aim is to inspire all girls to enjoy the game and to help as many as possible from our region reach their potential and go on and play for NUWFC and even England.”