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Newcastle United: Five players leaving Magpies, including longest serving player

Defender Paul Dummett departs St James Park 24 years after joining youth system

Eddie Howe

Newcastle United are releasing five first team players who have not been offered new deals, including their longest serving player who has been at the club for 24 years.

Paul Dummett joined his local club aged eight and came through the Magpies youth system before making his debut in January 2013.

The defender has gone on to make 213 appearances, scoring four times.

Dummett posted an emotional message to fans on social media ‘with a heavy heart, saying: “I have been proud to have represented the first team for 12 years – something I never in a million years thought I’d ever achieve.

“I grew up as a Newcastle fan and season ticket holder. My time at the club is something I could only have dreamed of. 24 years dedicating my life to playing for Newcastle United. I leave with my head held high and proud of the achievements we’ve had as a team in my time here.

“Although I haven’t played as much as I would have liked, what an incredible journey it’s been. Eddie Howe is an amazing leader, his work ethic, honesty and belief has been nothing short of inspiring. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with him.”

Also leaving after more than 200 appearances is Matt Ritchie who signed from Bournemouth in 2016.

Like Dummett, Scotland international Richie helped Rafael Benítez’s side win the Championship in 2016/17. He scored 25 goals in 215 appearances – his last came with an injury-time equaliser against his former club in February.

Also departing at the end of his contract is former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, who made two appearances after arriving in January 2023 – the 2023 League Cup Final against Man United and a Premier League game at Arsenal in February.

Midfielder Jeff Hendrick leaves four years after joining as a free agent, having made 27 appearances and scored three goals before loan moves at QPR, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday.

Academy graduate defender Kell Watts leaves 16-years after joining the club from Cramlington Juniors.

The 24-year-old made his Premier League debut in 2020 and has amassed 100 appearances in the EFL during spells on loan with Stevenage, Mansfield, Plymouth, Wigan and Peterborough.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe told the club website: “They have all given so much to the cause in their own ways, and I know our supporters will join me in wishing them every success with the next step in their careers.

“It’s easy to judge players by appearances and goals, but the contribution made to the club by Paul and Matt in particular really has been immeasurable over many years. They have had a huge influence on our progress as a team and as a club.

“They have been incredible people and players to work with. Their dedication, professionalism and leadership in the dressing room during my time here has been first class, and they will bring undoubted quality and experience to their next clubs.

“It’s also a significant moment for Kell, who has been with the club since he was eight. Kell is a top professional with an outstanding attitude, and his next club will be incredibly fortunate to have him.”

“Paul is one of our Academy’s great success stories. He is a shining example to young players in this region, and while Matt came to Newcastle through a different path, he will always be an adopted Geordie.

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.