Newcastle investigating after several Under-23s players were involved in bar brawl

Newcastle United are investigating after several Under-23s players were involved in a bar-room brawl with the friends of academy manager Steve Harper’s son, leaving some of them with facial injuries.

Trouble flared during a team night out in the city centre last week when punches were traded between players and another group of revellers, that included James Harper, son of Steve.

We understand James was not one of the aggressors and ended up tending to some of the injured parties. It is thought summer signing Charlie Wiggett, formerly of Chelsea, was among those left with a facial injury.

.

Newcastle United are investigating after several Under-23s players were involved in a bar-room brawl with the friends of academy manager Steve Harper’s son

Share

The police were not called but Newcastle launched an immediate investigation when Harper was made aware of the fight, which happened after the players had hired a table at Tup Tup Palace, a club synonymous with reality TV show Geordie Shore.

The former Magpies goalkeeper spoke to those involved but has since stepped back because of an obvious conflict of interest, given his son’s presence and the fact he knows the boys with whom his own players were scrapping. Formal disciplinary action is being taken against several players.

As one source said: ‘Only at Newcastle United could this happen. There was some bad blood between one of the players and one of James’ friends. They already knew each other.

James Harper, the son of academy manager Steve Harper (pictured) was not one of the aggressors and ended up tending to some of the injured parties

‘A player was being gobby and it then turned ugly. Another player steamed in and has hurt a lad. But how stupid can you be, getting into a fight with the friends of the academy manager’s son?

‘Steve has a big job on his hands sorting that place out, it’s been a mess for years.’

Harper, who made 199 appearances during 20 seasons at St James’ Park, took over as academy chief earlier this year when Joe Joyce left.

Sportsmail revealed then that Joyce had been stood down after his wife raised a dispute with the club over the treatment of their son, Sam, a former youth-team player.

It is thought that summer signing Charlie Wiggett was one of those left with a facial injury

Mrs Joyce brought a complaint against Newcastle after the reoccurrence of an injury suffered while Sam was playing for the club. She also raised an issue over her son’s academic education while in the academy.

Harper left Steve Bruce’s first-team staff to take on the academy position and, while sources say he has made a positive impact, he has endured a troubled start.

The Under-23s are currently without a manager after Chris Hogg joined MK Dons as assistant boss last month and Gary Caldwell, appointed on an interim basis, then spent just three weeks in the role.

It is thought Newcastle will now hold a trial period where coaches have a chance to impress during a training session with academy players.

Share