Newcastle City Juniors have defended their link-up with southerners Chelsea.
Some Newcastle supporters questioning why the Magpies have allowed a Premier League rival to tap into talent on their patch.
City Juniors chairman Steve Chambers believes only positives can come from the arrangement.
"I am a Newcastle fan through and through, but we need as many professional clubs as possible to be active in the North East," he told the Daily Mail.
"There has been no real competition for Newcastle for a long time. It used to be the case that young players had options to go around the country.
"Clubs from outside the region cannot do anything until players are 14 anyway, but if we can get back to players of that age and older having the chance to go away for trials then I think it's a good thing.
"Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough still have a huge advantage in that they have until 14 to identify the best players. And we are working with all the North-East clubs to help put boys into those academies.
"But the relationship with Chelsea should increase opportunities."