East Fife goalkeeper Jude Smith signs for Newcastle United

Jude Smith has joined Newcastle United.Jude Smith has joined Newcastle United.
Jude Smith has joined Newcastle United.
East Fife’s teenage goalkeeper Jude Smith has joined Newcastle United for an undisclosed fee.

The 19-year-old goalkeeper, who joined the Methil side last summer after leaving Celtic, and made his debut for the club against Cove Rangers in August 2021, and went on to become the Fifers’ first choice between the posts, becoming one of the youngest starting goalkeepers in Britain.

Jude made 28 appearances last season, and played twice for East Fife this season.

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Manager Stevie Crawford said on the East Fife club website that everyone was delighted to see Jude secure a move to one of the biggest clubs in the English Premier League.

“Although we are obviously disappointed to lose him, we also recognise what a great opportunity this is for Jude,” said Crawford. “It reflects well on East Fife and the type of club we are trying to be, giving young players an opportunity to develop, do well for the club and move on to full-time opportunities.”

He added that everyone wished Jude well and thanked him for his service to East Fife.

Goalkeeping Coach Lindsay Hamilton said Jude had surpassed expectations during his time with East Fife, both in terms of the number of games he played and in the quality of his performances.

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He added that while moving from full-time football to part-time could be a culture shock, but Jude had put in the hard work and had the right work ethic to be able to make the step up.

Hamilton said the player deserved his move to Newcastle, adding: “Echoing what Stevie said, we’re disappointed to be losing Jude, but it does show that we’re willing to help players improve where we can and won’t stand in their way if an opportunity like this comes along.

“Jude has been a pleasure to work with over the last year at East Fife and I wish him all the best for the future”.

Chairman Jim Stevenson also added his thanks and good luck, and was confident Jude would be a success at Newcastle.

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Meanwhile, East Fife have signed 17-year-old striker Taylor Steven on a season-long loan from St Johnstone.

Manager Stevie Crawford: “Taylor is someone we’ve been keeping an eye on for a few months, and we’re delighted to add him to the squad."