Revealed! Senior Newcastle United academy duo back at work after being taken off furlough

Two of Newcastle United’s senior academy setup have returned to work after being taken off the government’s job retention scheme.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 6:36 pm

The Gazette can reveal that Newcastle United academy manager Joe Joyce and head of academy coaching Ben Dawson both returned to work at the club’s Benton training base last week, following on from the news that head scout Steve Nickson is back on duty with the Magpies.

United have not publicly confirmed their use of the government job retention scheme, which sees the cost of 80% of wages covered, up to £2,500 a month, but it is understood the majority of the club’s employees were placed on furlough outside of the first-team setup.

Joyce and Dawson have returned to work alongside four academy staff members who were not placed on furlough – physio Carl Nelson, senior fitness coach Simon Tweddle, head of academy education Darren Derwent and Gary Stephenson, the club’s academy safeguarding, welfare and education officer.

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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: General view inside the stadium ahead of the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on January 01, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

When asked by the Gazette to confirm the decision on Joyce and Dawson, Newcastle United declined to comment.

The Premier League also issued a “no comment” on the matter but did offer some guidance relating to roles which are subject to ring-fenced funding – and it is in relation to the Elite Heads of Coaching (EHOC) scheme.

According to the Premier League website, under their youth coaching section, is stated “EHOC is a two-year development programme to support Heads of Coaching within their club environment, with the aim improving the quality of coaching across the sport.

“The system that is created will empower all Heads of Coaching, their coaches and their club to build a workforce that has the potential to be world leading.

“Running parallel to this programme is a ring-fenced set of funding for the creation of a Head of Coaching at all 92 Clubs in the Football League.

“The programme and implementation of 92 Heads of Coaching will complement the formal coach education programmes and qualifications initiated and delivered by the Football Association.”

It is not clear if the implementation of this rule applies to either Joyce or Dawson, or their return is in line with rumours of a return to training for players next week.

This rule has seen clubs up and down the country return certain members of their youth coaching setup, with rivals Sunderland only last week confirming academy manager Paul Reid, head of education and welfare Don Peattie and head of coaching Lewis Dickman were back at work.

A report in the Daily Mail this week confirmed controversial head of scouting Nickson is also back ‘after a period where he and his entire scouting team were placed on furlough by Mike Ashley, shutting down their operation’.

Uncertainty continues at United, with the club still awaiting news of the Premier League decision on the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners takeover at St James’s Park.

Despite the name of Henry Mauriss being floated as an alternative bidder to the Saudi-led consortium, the Gazette’s understanding is that this is irrelevant, unless the PIF takeover is blocked by the Premier League, or the funds are not transferred to Ashley’s accounts. A reportedly ‘non-refundable’ deposit has already been paid by the Amanda Staveley-guided consortium, who have used former United chairman Chris Mort as part of their legal and negotiating team. That deposit is thought to be £17million, which equates to 10% of the fee originally wanted by Ashley for United, around £340million.

Mauriss’ name first cropped up in conversations back in February, with claims he was ready to put down cash in order to be granted access to the ‘data room’ phase of negotiations. It is not clear whether this money was paid, or stage reached.