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Newcastle United MC 2005

28 Magpie Mad fans had the chance to perfect their passing, sharpen their shooting and toughen their tackling this summer as Football Aid’s newest venture, Practice, Perfect and Play: the Legends Master Class, made its debut at Newcastle United’s famed Academy on the 24th July.

The day kicked off bright and early with Academy Manager of Administration and Education, Jimmy Nelson on hand to welcome the new recruits. After a brief introduction and guided tour, the two teams were directed to their respective changing rooms to prepare for the day ahead…

A tough yet fulfilling morning followed led by Academy Fitness Coach, Adrian Lamb. The teams were put through a thorough warm up, working every muscle in the body, before splitting into teams of 7 for a series of 5-minute games to allow everyone to get a feel for the ball and turf.

Following a much-needed Lucozade break, the teams then moved inside to face the type of gym work professional footballers experience on a daily basis. Split into pairs, the wannabe Magpies panted their way through 15 stations including weights, short hurdles and squats. And there was no rest for the wicked as straight after the gym; the teams were led back outside to work on their set pieces. Penalties and free kicks were practiced with determination before defensive tactics were tackled with vigour. To finish off the morning session, a ‘hit the cross bar’ competition was held, with the 4 unfortunates who dared to score, left to tidy up the equipment!

After a restful and very healthy lunch in the players lounge, the teams went back to the changing rooms to greet their managers for the afternoon game. Academy Manager, Glenn Roader took charge of the Home team with under 18’s Coach and defensive kingpin, Kenny Wharton at the realm of the Away team. Both managers led their teams through a game analysis session discussing tactics and manoeuvres before heading outside to warm up for the big match.

Despite the gruelling morning, the match proved to be an adrenaline fuelled nerve tingler with both sides displaying their newly found skills with finesse. The Away team finally triumphed 5-2 thanks to a stunning hat trick from Steven Lowes.

The day was deemed a great success by all those involved with Alex Leonard (Away) commenting,

“Absolutely fantastic day although very tiring! It was amazing to go behind the scenes and gain access to the Academy’s facilities – a dream come true! Definitely have more respect for the professionals who do this everyday, it’s hard work!”

Home Team – David Wiseman, Reegan Haigh, Simon Dick, Neil Stewart, Steve Screech, Patrick Mackin, Robert Tait, Ryan Haigh, Steven Starkey, Nick Bergman, Ron Clark, Paul Clayton, Ronald Clayton

Away Team – James Green, Christian Alcock, Simon Andrews, Ben Robson, John Savage, Steven Lowes, Peter Walton, Rolf de Bruin, Alex Leonard, John MacCormick, David Jenkins, Paul Barrett