A Bedlington terriers player who graduated from Newcastle United's Academy has been arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs as a part of police operation to smash a trafficking ring.
Andy Ferrell once trained alongside Alan Shearer, Laurent Robert, Craig Bellamy and Gary Speed.
The 28-year-old who now plays in the Northern League was arrested by police on September 20.
He is one of 19 people being held following a series of early morning raids at the homes of suspected dealers operating in Newcastle and Longbenton.
It was part of a nine-month investigation by Northumbria Police codenamed Operation Wexford.
He was taken for questioning from his home in Benwell and later charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.
The day before before the arrest, Ferrell was scoring for Bedlington in their 4-2 home win over West Auckland.
A police spokeswoman said: “Andrew Ferrell, 28, of Adair Avenue has been charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, and is currently going through the court system.”
Ferrell was remanded in custody by Newcastle Magistrates on September 2.
He will make his first appearance at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday October 4.
Ferrell was a budding young player tipped for success back in 2002 and signed a professional contract with the club after being handed the chance by the late Sir Bobby Robson.
He was released at the end of the 2003/04 season, but during his last game at Newcastle scored against rivals Sunderland in a reserve team derby.
Ferrell then signed a one-year contract with Watford in July 2004, but this was not renewed.
After a couple of successful seasons at Hereford, followed by spells at Kidderminster and York City, Ferrell returned to Tyneside in 2009 to play for Gateshead.
Earlier this year Ferrell joined Blyth Spartans, before moving on to Northern League Club Bedlington Terriers where he played until his arrest.
Chairman Ronan Liddane said Ferrell had only been at the club a matter of weeks and rumours of his arrest had left players, staff and committee members stunned.
He stressed that any allegations against the player were completely unconnected to Bedlington Terriers.
Mr Liddane said: “We don’t know the full facts so it’s very difficult to give an opinion, but Bedlington Terriers Football Club remains our number one priority and we will make sure the name of the club continues to be held in high regard.”
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