Former Newcastle star Shola Ameobi has been tipped to return to Tyneside this summer by fan site NUFC.com, who believe the retired striker is set to be offered a new role at St James’ Park as part of our vast academy shakeup.
Ameobi’s playing days drew to a close in 2018 after his release by Notts County, whom he joined after a year out of the game, but is set to fill a newly-created role as loan coordinator, with the remit of securing meaningful moves for some of our academy products.
The thinking behind the move is that it will help the emerging prospects in our academy secure full-time senior football at the right stages of their respective careers, and avoid having to recall them early like we had to with Elias Sorensen when he joined Blackpool.
Luke Charman’s temporary deal with Accrington Stanley was far from the best experience for the 21-year-old, either, as the Sherburn Village-born forward only made four appearances for the League One side before returning to Tyneside in the winter.
Likewise, Liam Gibson only made five appearances in the English third-tier while on loan at Crown Ground, having joined Stanley in January on loan until the end of the season.
Other changes in the academy set-up include Ben Dawson being moved from his role as an Under 23s coach to a Director of Football-esque position, with Neil Redfearn taking over his U23s role.
Mark Atkinson will also move across from his position as a senior coach at the academy to oversee all U16s coaching, where Ian Bogie will take on a role as a coach. Neil Winksill, meanwhile, will replace Dave Watson as a U18s coach.