Newcastle United are unlikely to field a B team in a revamped Football League, but the Magpies could be open to the idea of a “feeder club” if Greg Dyke’s controversial proposals become reality.
It raises the possibility of Gateshead becoming an official breeding ground for the club’s youngsters if they can win and consolidate a place in the league.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke last week announced his proposals to promote more English talent in the professional game.
Chief among them was the idea that Premier League and Championship clubs could field B teams in a new League Three from 2016-17, or set up Strategic Loan Partnerships (SLPs) with existing clubs. Although the FA were keen to avoid such language, SLPs would effectively turn the junior party into a “feeder club”.
The bigger club would be allowed to loan up to eight under-22 players a season to them – although only five could play at one time – and have greater say over their development than at present.
They would also be allowed to share coaches and information on areas such as sports science, nutrition and education.
It has also been suggested that the senior partner be allowed to buy a 25% stake in the junior club.
Newcastle were consulted by the Dyke commission before it produced its report, and told this week’s fans’ forum they had mixed feelings about its findings.
“While the club feel there is some merit in a strategic partnership with a lower division team to give players some experience, the club is currently unsure of the merits of fielding a ‘B team’ in the formation of a new league,” said Newcastle, who denied reports that owner Mike Ashley is interested in buying a stake in League One side Oldham Athletic.
Mehdi Abeid (Panathinaikos), Romain Amalfitano (Dijon), Adam Campbell (Carlisle United, then St Mirren), Shane Ferguson (Birmingham City), Curtis Good (Dundee United), Steven Logan (Annan Athletic), Jonathan Mitchell (Workington), Conor Newton (St Mirren), Michael Richardson (St Mirren, then Accrington Stanley), James Tavernier (Shrewsbury Town, then Rotherham United) and Haris Vuckic (Rotherham United) have all been sent out on loan this season to gain more experience.
Youngsters Tavernier, Paul Dummett, Joan Edmundsson, Phil Airey, Jeff Henderson and Jak Alnwick have been loaned to the Tynesiders from Newcastle in the last three years, while Tim Krul, Steven Taylor and Sammy Ameobi all benefitted from loan spells in the lower divisions as Magpies youngsters.
Gateshead play Cambridge United at Wembley on Sunday, with the winners playing in next season’s Football League. Dyke’s proposals are merely the starting point for debate, and have already met with plenty of opposition which tends to grow stronger the further you go down the league pyramid.
The idea would be for a League Three to start in 2016-17, and be made up of B teams and current non-league sides.
Gateshead manager Gary Mills expressed his reservations about the proposals in a BBC radio interview on Sunday.