Newcastle juniors club DEFENDS tie up with Chelsea

Newcastle City Juniors defend Chelsea link, claiming the city ‘needs as many teams as possible’ to help provide opportunities for young players after fans questioned why they were helping top-flight rivals

  • Newcastle City Juniors have started an affiliation with London giants Chelsea
  • The City Juniors are based just three miles from Newcastle’s St James’ Park
  • But City Juniors boss Steve Chambers says it will benefit region’s young stars

The chairman of Newcastle City Juniors has defended their affiliation with Chelsea and says it can only increase opportunities for aspiring footballers in the North East.

Sportsmail revealed on Friday that the west London club have forged a link with City Juniors, who are based just three miles from Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.

This has led to some Newcastle supporters questioning why their club has allowed a Premier League rival to tap into talent on their patch.

Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma (left) battles with Newcastle United’s Allan Saint-Maximin back in November, with the Blues moving into the North East to poach young talent

But Chelsea have not broken any rules – as long as no money is exchanged and players are not approached before the age of 14 – and City Juniors boss Steve Chambers believes only positives can come from the arrangement.

‘I am a Newcastle fan through and through, but we need as many professional clubs as possible to be active in the North East,’ he told Sportsmail.

‘There has been no real competition for Newcastle for a long time. It used to be the case that young players had options to go around the country.

The move could prove a frustration for Toon manager Steve Bruce and his eventual successors

Chelsea though are not breaking any rules as they look to secure the best British talent

‘Clubs from outside the region cannot do anything until players are 14 anyway, but if we can get back to players of that age and older having the chance to go away for trials then I think it’s a good thing.

‘Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough still have a huge advantage in that they have until 14 to identify the best players. And we are working with all the North-East clubs to help put boys into those academies.

‘But the relationship with Chelsea should increase opportunities.’

Chelsea are looking to establish similar links throughout the UK as they react to Brexit restrictions on overseas recruitment.

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