Men & Boys
Newcastle United U19 1-2 Borussia Dortmund U19 (UEFA Youth League Group Stages)
Like PSG a fortnight ago I’m at it again for a Newcastle double header as I travel north to watch the Geordies in action both this afternoon and tonight. The Toon’s men and boys playing against Borussia Dortmund in a European double header.
Out the door for 10:30am I’m heading up the M1 where I’ll join the A1 at Leeds after passing the Emley Mass in the distance to my left. The roads are quiet as the rain starts to drizzle in after seeing signs for Darlington and Teesside.
A quick stop off at Durham Services for a piss and I’m into Gateshead where I’m pulling up on Stadium Road to park my car.
Built on the site of a chemical works plant in 1955 the stadium has a large seated stand which was built in 1981 and is a brick backed metal roofed concrete pillared number which takes me back to being a kid when up in the newly built Nottingham Forest East Stand you got a similar perched view and feel.
The smell and aura of the Tyne & Wear (West) Stand is very 1980’s and when you get out into the open you see a full athletics stadium beneath which has hosted the likes of local legends Steve Cram, Jonathan Edwards and Brendan Foster as well as Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Linford Christie, Carl Lewis, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Kriss Akabusi, the list runs on.
Real appeal in the running game but less so in the football charts, Gateshead FC have played here since 1977 dating back to before the West Stand was built but these days the arena feels very European with a modern roofed West Stand adjacent, that was completed as recently as 2009.
I’m up perched high as a couple of bubbly University goers park in front of me and ask ‘Are you a scout’. There questions are never ending but in fairness they soon shut up as the players come out and leave me to it. Borussia Dortmund in bright yellow, Newcastle black, white, red numbers on their back. You can’t spot them though through the constant drizzle. 47 looks like 57 and I see no difference in 63 and 65.. It doesn't help that all bar one Newcastle player are same height, body type and same dark hair… Ellis Stanton standing out with his bleach blonde top.
Borussia Dortmund couldn’t be further different. They’re a league of nations. A Pole in goal, a Spaniard at right back, they have an Italian, a Ukranian, an Icelandic lad in midfield, a Dutch guy up top and a few Germans too.
They start well, knocking it around with confidence, you feel there’s a huge difference in the levels these are at. Newcastle’s catchment area is probably 40 miles from St James’ Park whilst Dortmund’s is the whole of Europe… You can tell the difference because of it.
The early promise is coming from BvB’s Samuel Bamba who is electric down the left and leaving his marker for dust… He crosses low for Julian Rijkhoff who I really like the look of, a touch of Haaland or Hojlund’s to him as he slots home the opener before stroking back his moppy hair.
That lead is kept until half time where I see a number of Newcastle youngsters including Remi Savage, Shaun Mavididi and Amadou Diallo who are sat in front of me, having photos taken alongside young supporters who are here to watch during half term.
I’ve been chatting to the Uni lads who are now sat behind me as I catch one looking at my notes, the rain still persistent it hasn’t stopped since south of Darlo and it gives the pitch a sticky feel as the odd pass is played short.
Dortmund though are highly competent and in Danylo Krevsun in particular, dictate the midfield. Number eight beside him Rafeal Lubach reminding me of Mahmoud Dahoud, they control proceedings ever looking to break the Newcastle lines, they set Samuel Bamba away who cuts inside and scores although Newcastle goalkeeper Harris might have done better.
That goal gives a cushion to Dortmund who sub captain Hendry Blank on the hour, but Newcastle fight back, one thing they have which I noticed when being inferior technically on my previous viewing at the PSG game is desire, hunger, and a will to keep plugging away.
That ‘English’ mentality is installed in striker Johnny Emerson who knocks he ball around a defender and runs down the wing to cross low for substitute Sean Neave who pulls one back late on.
To protect a lead now halved Dortmund’s star of the show Bamba is then substituted with a healthy reaction from the home support who hugely applaud a fabulous individual performance.
Newcastle fighting til’ the end but falling short as Dortmund cling on, a cracking game and a match that the home team will learn so much from. Beaten by the better side but by no means put to shame.
Samuel Bamba was the eye opening zesty forward who triggered the pulses with his direct sprinting, powerful play and pulsating performance, he looks a real player with talent and was too hot for the young Newcastle defenders to handle.
Next to him up top, I liked the leggy looking Dutch kid Julian Rijkhoff who was awkward, gritty but technically good, taking his goal well, he might have had more.
In midfield the blonde haired Krevsun kept things ticking in front of the back four whilst at the back, Hendry Blank was a solid thick set defender who sat in the centre of a three whilst to the right of him, Leonardo Garcia Posadas was very easy on the eye, technically assured and most calm in possession, he flicked the ball blind side over an attackers head early doors which shown cultural differences in how to play out from the back.
For Newcastle, Jamie Miley and Ellis Stanton were gritty in midfield whilst Johnny Emerson was direct, powerful and quick up top, Kyle Crossley down the right did well for an hour whilst Leo Shahar at 16, the youngest player on the field of play, shown promise at full back.
You never can tell with footballers how they’ll evolve which is the beauty of going to these games and seeing talent at an early age. The Newcastle boys certainly have the temperament to stay in the game which was shown through their passionate coach on the sideline, perhaps over passionate at times as they had a desire to win and get stuck in? For Dortmund it was all about technique, and whilst the German side of various nationalities proved good footballers can beat good honest lads… I wonder of the diamonds on show, the ones unearthed by me, hardly noticed on the day, would perhaps go furthest in the game?
Newcastle United: Aidan Harris, Leo Shahar, Cathal Heffernan (Rory Powell 88), Ciaran Thompson, Dylan Charlton, Kyle Crossley (Sean Neave 64), Ellis Stanton (Anthony Munda 63), Jamie Miley (Callum McArthur 73), Travis Enrique Hernes, Ben Parkinson, Johnny Emerson.
Borussia Dortmund: Robin Lisewski, Leonardo Garcia Posadas, Hendry Blank (William Rashidi 61), Filippo Mane, Jaden Korzynietz, Danylo Krevsun, Kjell Watjen (Vincenzo Onofrietti 88), Rafael Lubach, Cole Campbell (Ousmane Diallo 88), Julian Rijkhoff, Samuel Bamba (Charles Herrmann 77).
3:00pm Kick Off. Wednesday 25th October 2023, Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead (att 726).