The West Ham Under-19 side of 1998/99 swept all before them in claiming a spectacular league and cup double. The climax to the season was the two legged FA Youth Cup Final against Coventry City. The Hammer’s opened up a healthy 3-0 advantage in the first leg at Highfield Road and yet 21,000 supporters still turned out to watch the return at Upton Park a week later on Friday 14 May 1999. It took only a few minutes for West Ham to extend their lead and they eventually ran out 6-0 winners on the night (9-0 on aggregate).
The West Ham team that night was: Bywater, Newton, Taylor, Forbes, Iriekpen, Ferrante, Cole, Carrick, Angus, Garcia, Brayley
Expectations were high for a new golden generation arising at Upton Park. Apart from the obvious talents of Joe Cole and Michael Carrick there were other promising players including Izzie Iriekpen, Richard Garcia and, in particular, Adam Newton. It is full/ wing back Adam Newton who is the subject of today’s The Boy Never Quite Made It feature; although there are plenty of other candidates from that side.
Newton had scored in both legs of the Coventry final. In the first a delightful chip over the head of the advancing Chris Kirkland and in the second an exciting run topped off with a ‘sumptuous’ strike past the stationary keeper. In many ways Newton was the star of the show even overshadowing the better known Cole and Carrick duo. There were even rumours of a million pound bid from Spurs shortly after the final.
At the start of the 1999/ 2000 season Newton had a brief loan spell with Portsmouth before returning to Upton Park for his West Ham debut in August 1999; a substitute for Marc Keller in an away defeat to Coventry City. A week later he made another substitute appearance (this time for Trevor Sinclair) in the 3-1 UEFA Cup victory over NK Osijek of Croatia. He made his final West Ham appearance in April 2000; again as substitute (for Scott Minto) in the 5-0 home win against (surprise!) Coventry City. Harry obviously regarded Newton as a Coventry specialist.
The following two seasons were spent out on loan at Notts County and Orient before being given a free transfer to join Peterborough United in May 2002. Newton spent six seasons at Peterborough in the Second Division and although they won promotion at the end of the 2007/08 season his contract was terminated. Born in Grays, Newton had represented England at U21 level but became a full international for Saint Kitts and Nevis during his time with the Posh.
The following season Newton signed a one year deal with Brentford and helped them win the Division Two title in 2009. One more, however, his contract was not renewed and he moved on to Luton in the Football Conference. Two years at Luton ended with a Play Off final defeat, no new contract and his final move to Woking in the Conference South.
Adam Newton appeared to have all the attributes to make it to the top at West Ham; skill, speed and athleticism. Sadly, it just didn’t come together for him and he is one more bright hope from the academy that never quite made it in the first team.