Newcastle legend, and new Hall Of Fame inductee, Rob Lee has spoken of his admiration for Sean and Matty Longstaff, and compared them to two former Geordie icons from his era.
Lee was the epitome of everything Newcastle fans love about a player: loyal to the black and white shirt; would sweat blood for the Newcastle cause; and scored goals in abundance.
As a result, his opinion matters to Newcastle fans, and to hear him talk about the two Longstaffs in glowing terms, and comparing them to the likes of Lee Clark and Steve Watson, as he did to the Chronicle this week, will resonate with supporters.
Clark and Watson, of course, were two of the youngsters who came through the ranks at Newcastle in the Entertainers period – along with a number of others – and made a success of their Toon careers.
They are both also now managing in football, both at Nationwide League North clubs, which led us to suggest them as ideal replacements for Steven Pressley as Carlisle United manager last week.
If a player as respected and knowledgeable as Lee thinks Sean and Matty can follow Clark and Watson’s example, it highlights the importance of Newcastle tying the pair’s futures down to the football club.
The Longstaffs could be future idols of youngsters across the region
In Lee’s time, it was not only Clark and Watson who made it through the ranks, but also – as he mentioned – others like Steve Howey, Robbie Elliott and the often forgotten Alan Nielson.
They are the players the Longstaffs could emulate, given new, deserved deals that represent that.
Players that fulfil their ambitions of becoming loyal servants at St James’ Park; being an example to hundreds of Geordie kids who want to follow in their footsteps; and being an important cog in the ever-hoped-for mechanism of having a team full of Geordies representing their boyhood club.
Newcastle should simply stop pussy footing around, and offer the pair acceptable contracts that show an appreciation of, not only what they have already achieved, but what they can do for the football club in the coming years.
If someone like Rob Lee can see what they have, and what they can become, you can be certain that Premier League and European scouts and managers can see that potential too.