Newcastle United and a successful Youth set up has, unfortunately been a running joke for years. The odd gem here and there but generally for the amount of young players produced in the area

compared to ones who make it to the first team is pathetic really.

The last decade and a bit  have of course been ‘Ashleyed’ but in reality its been that way for years.

The biggest gauge is Youths premier tournament , the FA Youth Cup and for us we tend to win that thing not much at all. Twice to be exact . That’s terrible isn’t It?

Lately the Youth cup has suffered like its bigger brother the FA Cup from a bit of disinterest from the clubs but its still the ONLY tournament worth bothering with when it gets young cotton wooled wrapped academy players into the reality of knock out football just as importantly pressure.

The last decade has mirrored the FA Cup as well as the richest clubs in the country dominate. Man City and Chelsea played each other for around five years in a row and Manchester United have won the thing ten times.

However the 2021 winners were Aston Villa,  a team who suddenly seem to have leaped ahead of us in all aspects despite being stuck in the Championship a lot longer than us.

A fit and hungry Norwich also winning the cup in the last decade. You cant say we cant compete with them now?

United’s hopes were demoralised by Villa last year at the Quarter Final stage as they rang amok at St James with a 6-1 win. Its fair to say we have waited long enough.

Newcastle’s problems at first team level would be alleviated if we had a good youth set up but to know the next generation are starting to at least trickle through would at least garner some interest.

In 2015 11, 000 of us were at St James to see the Adam Armstrong generation. He is now subject of a lot of speculation of a big money return.

Do we have to spend £10m plus on a player we let go five years previous all the time?

Or is the case that the players are not around and simply not quite good enough. The local press jump on anyone remotely decent in the young squads and by the age of 20 they have been hyped to death.

Marc Walton, played in the same England youth team as Rooney, Jonathan Quinn scored a hat trick against Sunderland while Elias Sorensen has been going to be the new Shearer for years now, but he’s 21 and you can sort of see where its going to end. Adam Campbell another who was  built up by the local press but never made it big. The academy should produce more players but maybe its not that easy to do this on a budget and with

The talent pool shrinking day by day.

Looking back when Newcastle have won the Youth Cup the teams gave the first team players for years.

United first won the Youth cup in 1962 with victory over Wolves , the old gold had won the old First Division title three times in the last ten years and clearly this was the next generation coming through for them,

Allan Clarke involved before being let go to Walsall , but Newcastle’s fairs cup win in 1969 were born out of those nights in Molineux and St James .

Bob Moncur heading our winner from a corner at St James in front of 20,000 fans in the second leg, a feat which he would repeat three times across the two legs of the Fairs cup final.

The second leg at St James’ following a hard fought 1-1 draw at Wolves. Hard fought always should be subtitled for “we got battered but nicked a draw” and this was the case here but United,

thanks to Moncur’s goal, meant they won the Youth cup for the first time.

Moncur wasn’t the only one in that golden generation, David Craig went on to appear nearly 350 times for us in the league and nearly 430 overall. Not to be sniffed at.

Alan Suddick was instrumental in that cup run and he scored 41 goals for Newcastle over 5 years. It looked to be the first of many Youth cup triumphs , but it wasn’t.

The next time we won it Moncur was gearing up to manage his third team.

1985 to be precise and sometimes teams just win it , dragged kicking and screaming by a phenomenon who appears once every fifty years and in 1985 it was Paul Gascoigne.

United at the time were managed by Colin Suggett who actually went on to manage the first team amid an embarrassing list of turn downs from everyone from Howard Kendall to Howards Way in 1988 and to say he nurtured a precocious talent was an understatement.

Knowing now what we know about Gazza , can you imagine what he must have been like when he was full of teenage angst and hormones. The arm round the shoulder technique must have been invented on the windy fields of Benwell  at this time.

Newcastle were at home first but looked to have blown it , Gary Kelly playing his possibly best game in a career which would take him to World cups, kept the lads in it and enough to keep it scoreless.

At Vicarage Road within the first ten minutes we were behind and looking down and out.

Then the unthinkable happened, Newcastle roared back and won something . Joe Allon scored twice and so did Gazza . United had done it and this meant surely a golden era coming our way?

Er no, Gazza was sold and we were relegated 4 years later.

Kelly, Gascoigne, Kevin Scott and Brian Tinnion were in that team and along with Paul Stephenson and Ian Bogie. Scott captained the first team while Tinnion was a regular for years. Allon, Bogie and Stephenson were all wunderkinds who had to go elsewhere however with patience not being any virtue in those lean times, it was a bit of a waste.

And well , that’s it….we haven’t won it since.

A Stephen Taylor led academy team in 2002 won their  league over two legs against Manchester United and we won the Northern intermediate league loads of times but that Youth cup just has not happened whatsoever and it sort of mirrors our luck with bringing players through. The Longstaffs , yes, but with Bruce in control they may end up being Bogies and Waltons more than anything else .

This generation’s highlight is obviously Elliott Anderson and in the times I’ve seen him he looks very good indeed. However the short sighted panicky lack of appearances by Bruce doesn’t bode well and this week

Kell and Watts was talked up as a young lad we should take a look at . He is 21. Not a kid anymore.

The fleeting enjoyment of this competition is a shame because if you get it right , like Man United have undoubtedly done, it can get you success on a plate and on a budget. Perfect ‘Ashleyisms’ .

SCOTT ROBSON