Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison spoke of his personal thanks to Peter Beardsley and Newcastle United for providing the opposition for Thursday night’s friendly encounter to mark the opening of the new stand at Woodhorn Lane.
And Harmison also sent out his own message to supporters when he added that he believes they will have an ideal opportunity to see some of the budding new generation of footballers at close quarters.
“Graham Chambers and Longhirst Golf Club will be making sure this week that our pitch is in pristine condition,” he said, “It has to be
because I wouldn’t allow young pros with seasoned careers in front of them to turn out on anything less.
“It’s an exhibition match really and should be a good spectacle.
“For supporters it gives them the chance to see the next generation of Newcastle United footballers who could be playing in the premiership in a few years and consequently I’ve no doubt too that they will see a very good, well drilled side.
“Peter [Beardsley] and Newcastle United are doing Ashington a favour and we are thankful for that – but the Magpies are a premiership club who also need to be strong in the community.
“I watched them at Blyth Spartans on Saturday and I’m sure Peter will agree that the experience of kids playing against men is invaluable for his players and it should not be a chore but an education for them.”
Harmison added: “Ashington have benefited from lads like Paul Dunn, Liam Atkin, James Taylor, Matty Grieve and Jonathyn Quinn who have dropped out of the ranks at St James’ Park whilst Andrew Johnson, Gareth Williams and my head coach Ian Skinner all work for the Newcastle United Foundation.”
As for his own injury ravaged outfit, the boss added: “We will have a good and comfortable squad which will include two or three students but I won’t be risking any player who is not fully fit.
The new stand and facility is tip top and I think it is going to be a marvellous occasion for Ashington FC and a good PR exercise for Newcastle United to say ‘we are a big premiership club but we care about the community’ - and if they do that it will be a great night to showcase what looks a fantastic building.”
The Colliers are expecting a bumper gate for the match which has a 7pm kick off and have asked supporters to arrive early so as to avoid congestion at the turnstiles.
Admission prices are: £5 adults; £2 concessions.