The Junior Magpie rejected by Newcastle United who made it to the Premier League
It’s not easy being rejected by the club you’ve grown up supporting – and it’s harder still to overcome that and make it to the Premier League.
Just ask Blyth-born Dan Burn, the Newcastle United-supporting player who was let go by the club aged 13.
The 28-year-old faced his boyhood club on Monday night in the colours of Brighton and Hove Albion.
Burn told his story ahead of the game at the Amex Stadium, which ended goalless.
“I was playing for Blyth Spartans as a junior, and was scouted by Newcastle United and invited to join their development centre,” said the 6ft 7in defender.
"You have the Academy, where the best players went, and the development centre would run alongside that, where you would train Fridays, and they kept an eye on the players’ progress.
"It wasn’t that great to be honest. While I was a good footballer when I joined them, as the two or three years went on, I declined quite rapidly. My body shot up, and I didn’t really catch up with myself football-wise until I was 15 or 16.”
Burn was eventually given a chance by Darlington.
“I was there (at Newcastle) from 11 to 13, but don’t remember much of my time, maybe I’ve blocked a lot of it out, because it wasn’t a particularly good experience being let go by the club you support, with the realisation setting in that you’re probably not good enough to play at that level,” said Burn.
"I got released around Christmas time too, and it knocked my confidence.
"For a good couple of years. It wasn’t until I started growing into my body again that I started enjoying my football once more. I then kicked on and eventually got my league chance when I joined Darlington.”
Burn had been a season-ticket holder at United – and a member of the Junior Magpies.
“Coming from the town of Blyth, everyone’s a Newcastle supporter, so you’re born into it,” Burn told Brighton’s matchday programme. “My dad had a season-ticket, a real diehard fan, and he signed me up to the Junior Magpies club early.
"I started playing football when I was six or seven, so got more into it more and then my dad would eventually start taking me to loads of games.
"I eventually had my own season-ticket and the years I remember most from my childhood was when the club played in the Champions League – they were great times for the club.”
Burn had the chance to return to Newcastle, aged 18, in 2011 when Alan Pardew was manager, but he opted to join Fulham.
“When I signed for Fulham, I was actually given the opportunity to go t Newcastle as well,” said Burn. “I would have loved to play for Newcastle, but, at that age, at that time in my career, it was the best decision for me to get away from that goldfish bowl where everyone’s analysing what you’re doing.
"I just wanted to get away and solely concentrate on my football, which was the correct decision.”