For the young Newcastle stars, Wednesday was just another day and another defeat.

An almost deserted Whitley Park watched Newcastle United Under 23s (reserves) lose 2-0 to Stoke City.

It is now 15 weeks since they last avoided defeat in the league.

The media recently revealed that there will be a major clearout in the summer below first team level and looking at both last night and the overall picture, it is difficult to argue with that.

Rafa Benitez is said to be desperate to see a major overhaul of the younger age groups and to be given the resources to make that happen.

What we are currently seeing is simply more of the same, with years of neglect and underfunding under Mike Ashley.

Stoke scored midway through the second-half and in the very final seconds but they should have won it far easier, as they dominated the match.

To make it worse, Stoke are third bottom and only oneĀ  of two teams Newcastle were remotely close to, United being second bottom, as you can see from the league table.

West Brom are rock bottom and Newcastle have only won four league matches all season, two of those against the Baggies.

The league table looks bad enough but this isn’t even the top tier of the reserve team structure, this is the second division (Sunderland are in the top division) and as you can see, most of the reserve sides are from the Championship.

At the top of this reserve second tier you actually have League One Blackburn, who despite their other troubles do have a very decent record over the years of bringing players through into the first team, unlike Newcastle United.

newcastle stars

For Rafa Benitez to stand a chance of properly turning around Newcastle, he needs the backing at every level, not just first team, as well as total freedom to do as he sees fit.

Hopefully this is a case of now having hit rock bottom, the summer and next season can see the levels under first team rebuild.

With five games left of this league season, hopefully the current set-up can find a spark to bring some improvement.

At the moment, it appears that if any young player does make it through to the first team, it will be despite NUFC’s young set-up, not because of it.



  • Monkseaton Magpies

    It was Keegan you got rid of the reserve sides not Ashley it stems from him.
    Under Ashley we have had some great under eighteen sides with only Chelsea stopping them getting to the final. Most of the time the reserve side has fringe first team players bought by Rafa not Ashley. If Sunderland have a good youth set up how come they are doing so badly sinking into division one.

    • Ram Kishore

      Fringe players at all clubs play for reserves…even under pardew many first team players played in the reserves..
      FYI.. how many players bought by Rafa okay for reserves pal..?
      Get your facts right

    • pedrodelgardo

      Oh Mike you are so wise and wonderful I know where the Sun shines from. You could copy that then paste it into all your comments on here, I thought I would save your tongue.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        That’s not really the point, simply blaming Mike Ashley for every ill without grounds to do so is stupid. The author could have easily reported without the issues without trying o bend the facts to fit some sub-agenda to appeal to the slightly less intelligent amongst the readership.

        I’m sure Leazes’ and Jezza will duly oblige at some point.

        • Big Al 1967

          What you mean a bit like Monky Mag blaming the current malaise on a decision Keegan made over 20 years ago

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Keegan was wrong and it had an effect on the likes of Michael Carrick not joining us. However, I agree it was some time ago but it’s not a new thing that young players have not done well at Newcastle. The gap between Lee Clarke, Steve Watson to Andy Carroll & Lewis Gibson was barren and nothing to do with Mike Ashley.

          • Big Al 1967

            When did I ever say it had anything to do with Mike Ashley? The Youth set up at the club has always been [email protected]

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The Ashley blame came from awfully written article, not you, sorry if I implied that.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Likewise the vast majority on here blame Ashley for the events in
        Salisbury everything is his fault.

    • Big Al 1967

      Keegan got rid of the Reserve side because the FA insisted at the time that all Reserve fixtures had to be played at the main stadium. As everyone knows the pitch was in a terrible state at St James’ (remember Kevin taking the media onto the pitch after the Luton cup tie to show them how bad it was) and to have another 15-20 games on it would have made it totally unplayable hence the reason to disband the reserves to protect the playing surface for the first team.
      However to blame the current situation with a decision made over 20 years ago (and overturned a couple of years later when we could play elsewhere) is entirely ridiculous

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        If you recall, players such as Carrick passed on Nufc due to the structure of no reserve side. It sent out the wrong signal.

        • Big Al 1967

          The fact is we have never had a good Youth set up. Other than winning the Youth Cup in 1962 and 1985 and the under 17s winning their League in 2002 that is it.
          I know from personal experience how bad the scouting/coaching has been Do not forget they played Shearer in goal at his trial, likewise Bruce, Beardsley and others were overlooked These were long before Keegan came to the club so I stand by original comments that to blame him for the ills of the current situation is utterly ridiculous.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s been poor for a long long time, that’s the point I was getting from Monkseaton’, to shoehorn the blame onto Mike Ashley is pushing it.

            The Truth is, we were lucky even to get Gazza, I recall his mother in an interview where the NUFC scouts finally arrived, she exclaimed ” you took your bl**dy time”

          • Big Al 1967

            I would totally agree but Monkseaton shoehorns the blame entirely at Keegans door which is just garbage
            His exact quote ‘It was Keegan you got rid of the reserve sides not Ashley it stems from him’.
            It does not stem from anyone our Youth set up has always been terrible

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    What needs culling are the scouts & the coaches

    • Kneebotherm8

      That would be a good starter.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      The chief scout went in the Summer of 2016. I’m not sure that was a good move.

  • Ram Kishore

    Blaming Ashley for everything seems crazy. Blaming him for not backing the manager in the summer deserve criticism
    Graham stop blaming Ashley for the mistakes of Coaches and Scouts..
    He can’t micromanage whether the coach is taking a leak or not.

  • mentalman

    i would argue two of our most successful youth products in the last 20 years have come under Ashley’s ownership although that will be over looked in pursuit of criticising MA

  • Rich Lawson

    What is happening reguarding Beardsley,it’s gone very quiet ?

  • Mike

    The coaching by Beardo has been crp for years and he still kept his job

  • Carbine

    They are not all duds as some would imply, for some reason the strongest team is always selected for the cup competions not the league. If you notice in the cups Luke Charmain and Curtis Good are selected and they usually win with these two stronger players. While our youth teams could be far better coached very few if any of those who rubbish them on this site would get a run with them. In fact the only team likely to win some silverware this season is the reserves and a bit of encouragement is more in order than criticism.

  • Players, coaches and managing not good enough. We need a decent second string, not more relegators :)