TELEVISION’S X-Factor is all about young wannabes desperate to make the big time.
Well Newcastle United’s own version of the show turned out to be more X-rated than X-Factor.
A disjointed Magpies team, with nine changes from their previous Premier League game, were fortunate to only lose 2-0 to Bordeaux, who themselves fielded a squad side, in Thursday’s last Europa League group match.
Manager Alan Pardew hopes that his youthful line-up will learn from their many errors.
But ask yourself this. How many of the starting XI do you realistically expect to be playing top flight football, either in this country or a respectable league abroad, in five years time?
Go back six years and you might get your answer.
Glenn Roeder was forced to turn to youth back in the winter of 2006 due to a lengthy injury list.
David Edgar scored against Manchester United and Paul Huntington against Tottenham as both they and the likes of Matty Pattison were backed for the top.
Yet where are they all today?
Edgar’s in the Championship with Burnley, Huntington in League One with Yeovil and Pattison’s back in his native South Africa.
I fear similar fates await the likes of Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abied, Nile Ranger and James Tavernier from the Class of 2012.
Only £1m snip Gael Bigirimana looks like can cut it on a regular basis against the big boys.
Even Shane Ferguson, as tricky as he undoubtedly is, seems too lightweight to play at left back and too slow to make it on the wing.
With the Europa League on hold now until February, at least the young guns can continue their footballing education in a piecemeal fashion rather than all suffering together.
Nor will Pardew, whose stance on weaker European line-ups I support, have to rest his first teamers for the first leg of the round of 32 knock-out tie.
The match at St James’s Park is due to take place days before the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Any sensible Newcastle fan knows that means a weekend off for the players.
- GAVIN LEDWITH