Reserve changes confirmed

Last updated : 20 June 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The club has decided to disband the Under-17s team because the two Academy leagues will merge into a single Under-18 competition in 2004/05, and instead will play two reserve teams in the coming season – one in the FA Premier Reserve League as normal and the second in the Pontin’s League where they will take on the likes of York City and Lincoln City.

Wharton has moved from his role as Academy coach to work alongside Tommy Craig with the reserve teams while Beardsley has been appointed Public Relations Officer, and who better to promote the club than one of its greatest ever players.

In the wake of the recent FA Premier League inquiry into the behaviour of Wharton and Beardsley speculation will no doubt surround the reasons for their new jobs, but the simplest explanation is that with the Academy leagues being merged their jobs simply didn’t exist anymore.

A club statement on the issues read: "Newcastle United will play in the Pontin's Holidays League (Central League) next season as well as the Premier Reserve League.

"Premier League clubs decided several months ago that the Academy Under-19 and Under-17 teams will be combined from the beginning of the 2004-2005 season and be reclassified as under-18s.

"Following this decision, a number of clubs have disbanded their under-17 teams for next season. Many of the clubs were in the same under-17 League as Newcastle United and the club has subsequently decided to also withdraw to play next season instead in the Pontin's Holidays League Division One East.

"In a restructuring exercise, coaches Tommy Craig and Kenny Wharton, the latter moving from the Academy, will take the two teams next season, while Peter Beardsley will take up a new position with the club as public relations officer, representing the club throughout the North East."