Following the under-19s’ success in winning the National League Youth Alliance North Academy Division last season, the Club was dealt a blow in the close season when their coach, Liviu Cristea, had to resign from his position with the Club.
Liviu is partway through a PhD and alterations to his timetable in the current academic year meant he was unable to commit the time necessary for both coaching the youngsters and matchday travel. Despite exploring various options, the Club jointly decided that he could not continue with the under-19s programme and the Club reluctantly accepted his resignation.
General Manager and Academy Director, Mike Coulson, said: “On a personal level, it was a pleasure working with Liviu where I was able to watch the development of the squad under his tutelage. Many of the squad have now moved on to play adult football for top local non-league teams and the Club will certainly be monitoring their continued development with one eye on the future.
“The Club was very fortunate that Graham Fenton was already working in a part-time capacity with Tyne Met College and it was an easy decision to offer him the position of under-19s lead coach; Graham’s dedication and passion are evident to all on first-team matchdays and his professional approach allied to his coaching ability can only aid the development of this season’s squad.”
Due to age constraints, last year’s squad are no longer eligible to play in the under-19s league and Graham, together with Tyne Met head football coach Marc Nash, have spent the summer building two new squads.
One will compete under Graham in the National League North Academy Division and the other with Marc in the National League Youth Alliance, Division I.
Both squads began their seasons last Wednesday; the under-19s disappointingly lost by a narrow 2-1 scoreline at Farsley Celtic while Marc’s squad defeated South Shields 3-2 in an end-to-end encounter.
The Academy squad will play home games at Wensleydale Park, on Wednesday afternoons with most matches kicking off at 2:00pm. The Division I squad will play most of their games at Newcastle University’s Cochrane Park at the same time.
The under-18s squad kick-off their FA Youth Cup campaign on Wednesday evening at Croft Park when they take on Stockton Town with a 7pm kick-off. Admission is £3 for adults and £2 for concessions.
A full fixture list for both squads will be published in the coming days and they would welcome your support on matchdays. Entry to both venues is free of charge.