Newcastle United announce changes to Academy coaching structure
Written by Luke Vinton
Newcastle United are pleased to announce several changes to the Academy's coaching structure aimed at helping the Magpies to produce more top class homegrown players.
Neil Redfearn will take up the role of Under-23s Head Coach at the club's Little Benton Academy. Redfearn will replace Ben Dawson in coaching the young Magpies, who reached the Premier League 2 division two play-off final and Premier League Cup final last term.
Redfearn brings a wealth of experience, having helped to develop a number of first team players during his time with Leeds United's Academy and making more than 700 Football League appearances during his playing career. He has also managed both Leeds and Rotherham United in the Championship.
Dawson will become the Academy's Head of Coaching, predominantly looking after the professional development phase from under-17 to under-23 level. Mark Atkinson also joins the club as Assistant Head of Coaching, moving from his head of coaching role at Sunderland, and will be working with the coaching staff and players up to under-16 level.
Newcastle United Academy Manager Joe Joyce told nufc.co.uk: "Ben moving into the position of head of coaching is something where he can really focus on the coaching programme, coaching methodology and coach development, implementing his ideas on how the player development programme will evolve in the coming seasons.
"To assist him doing that, we have brought in Mark who has a very good reputation and will bring a different perspective. He will support Ben to enhance what we are doing at our schoolboy level.
"The changes have also allowed coaching staff within the Academy to move to different roles and they will be given additional responsibility and accountability for what they're doing and, under the guidance of Ben, look to develop more players such as Sean Longstaff.
"They have all played a part in Sean's development at different stages and ages over the period and will be able to continue to do that from a different position."
Redfearn will be working alongside Liam Bramley, who will continue his role as Under-23 Assistant Coach, while Neil Winskill will become the Under-18s' Head Coach, with Kevin Richardson remaining as the Under-18s Assistant Coach.
Former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi has been named as the new Loan Coordinator.
Joyce said: "We are pleased to welcome Shola, who needs no introduction. To have him looking after the players who are a step away from first team football is a great addition to the player development programme.
"He will be able to pass on his experience both as a coach and a player, and can educate the lads in what it takes to make the transition into first team football."
Ian Bogie - a former Newcastle midfielder who has enjoyed a long and successful career as a player and as a coach - has been promoted from his part-time position as Under-14 Coach to the full-time role of Under-16 Lead Coach.
The club can also confirm that Lead Academy Goalkeeping Coach, Steve Harper, and Under-18s Head Coach, Dave Watson, have both left their positions at the club.
Joyce added: "We're disappointed to be losing both Steve and Dave because of the knowledge and experience they both have and the qualities they have brought to their roles in the Academy.
"They have been with us for varying lengths of time and we will miss their daily contribution. We would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment they've given to the Academy during their time with us. We wish them both every success in the future."
Other full-time coaching positions at the Academy include:
Gary Ives - Under-9s & 10s
Stephen Harrison - Under-11s & 12s
Natalie Henderson - Under-13s & 14s
Daniel García - Under-9s to 16s Goalkeeping Coach
"The changes have allowed coaching staff within the Academy to move to different roles and they will be given additional responsibility and accountability for what they're doing and look to develop more players such as Sean Longstaff."