As the season draws ever closer there are more former Newcastle United players making moves from club to club.
Everybody will know about Hatem Ben Arfa’s move to PSG and Joey Barton heading North of the Border to Rangers but there have been a number of former Magpies moving in the non-league game.
And the major move has happened outside of the thriving non-league scene in the region.
Steve Watson – Macclesfield TownSteve Watson, he of the somersault throw-in and an outstanding individual goal away at Liverpool in the Coca-Cola Cup, has moved into coaching following his retirement.
After spells in the dugout as a coach with Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City alongside Lee Clark, he has found himself a new role.
Watson, known for his versatility on the pitch, is now showing it in the dugout.
After many months working as a coach with Vanarama National League club Macclesfield Town, Watson has been promoted to Assistant Manager to Silkmen boss John Askey.
I had the fortune of interviewing Steve just weeks ago for a Football Matters special on the 1995/96 season and he spoke of his ambitions to go into management one day.
This seems to be the next step on the ladder for him and I wouldn’t rule out a move into the lead role in the dugout for Watto at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Louis Storey – Team Northumbria to South Shields
Louis Storey never progressed past the reserves at Newcastle despite forming a promising centre-back partnership with the highly-rated Remie Streete.
After he was released by the Magpies in 2012, he had a short spell with Northern League club Ashington before moving on to the Colliers’ league rivals Team Northumbria.
His game developed with the Coach Lane Campus club and his versatility was put to good use as he played in a number of positions including right back, centre midfield and, of course, at centre back.
This summer he ended his spell with Team North to move to the upwardly mobile South Shields.
Storey moves to a squad full of talent and will face a battle for a starting lineup place but he is a very useful addition for Mariners manager Jon King as he targets trophies on a number of different fronts this season.
Nicky Deverdics – Dover Athletic v Hartlepool United
Former Magpies reserves midfielder Nicky Deverdics had played for a number of clubs since his release from St James Park.
He had had spells in Scandinavia with Icelandic club BÍ/Bolungarvík and Tvøroyrar Bóltfelag of the Faroe Islands.
He had a relatively successful spell with Barnet and has played for both Gateshead and Blyth Spartans in North East non-league football.
But it is with Vanarama National League club Dover Athletic where he found success and rejuvenated his career.
He became a big player for the club as they put in a play-off challenge last season and pitched in with some spectacular goals.
That form grabbed the attention of a number of league clubs and Deverdics chose to return to the North East by signing for Hartlepool United.
He will be a big player for new Pools manager Craig Hignett as they look to avoid a third consecutive relegation battle this coming season.
One to watch – Ben Sayer (Morpeth Town)Midfielder Ben Sayer was released by the Magpies at the same time as Louis Storey (see above) and followed the same career path.
However after his own spell with Team Northumbria, Sayer was snapped up by Blyth Spartans. His stay at Croft Park lasted a matter of months before he moved on to Spennymoor Town.
After struggling to find game time with the Moors, he moved back into the Northern League with Morpeth Town and his career has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
Sayer has now turned into one of, if not the best midfielder in the Northern League and he played a key role in the Highwaymen’s FA Vase triumph last season.
Busy on the ball, rarely wastes a pass and the ability to unpick a defender, Sayer will be a big part of Morpeth’s assault on the Northern League title this season and is definitely worth a watch for any Magpies supporters wanting to watch a non-league game this season.
In my opinion, he is made to play at a higher standard and if he finds the right club he could take his career on to the next level quite comfortably.