Since a certain Graham Carr joined the scouting staff at Newcastle in February of 2010 we have enjoyed some of the fruits of his labour.
I felt that despite the constant attention placed on Alan Pardew, Mike Ashley and the £35 million arguments it would make a nice change to salute one of our leading scouts who is continuously churning out superb talent.
When we look at the status of other clubs at this moment in time, for example Bolton – an established club who have been in the Premier League for many seasons – and compare our business against the players that they have brought in I think it just shows that we haven’t done as bad as is being made out at times. Yes we need more players in, I’m not saying that we don’t, but I do think we’ve done better business than a lot of Premier League clubs thus far.
Anyway, back to Bolton… They have just bought Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles for a combined sum of reportedly £3.75m. Now we all know that as a club they have a lot less funds and support but here is the point. Whilst they are an established Premier League team would they be able to attract a current French international in the mould of Yohan Cabaye to Bolton?
The answer as we realise is simply no. And I don’t believe that the sole reason for this is the unbelievable pulling power our club has. I believe a lot is to do with the hard working talent spotters within our club, namely Graham Carr and the chaps who support him.
Looking at the way Newcastle approach their business it has been largely behind closed doors and the level of detail and analysis they go into before purchasing a player is incredible if reports are to be true. Cabaye was scouted 15 times by Carr and three by Pardew himself without the use of videos, tactical analysis to add on top of that. To me this bodes confidence that all the signings we have made since Carr came in are thoroughly checked out so that they will always improve the squad.
For this I think Carr deserves a lot of commendation. At this moment in time we seem to be finding more and more players who, for small fees, are showing glimpses of being superb players. When we raise the argument of how better off we are with a certain Mr Carr I am just going to compare a few players that we have brought in under the Carr era and those before he joined from 2008 to Feb 2010.
1) Xisco (Pre Carr) / Demba Ba – I think it’s fair to say one of the worst transfers we have had was Xisco at £5.7m, but Ba, even with his dodgy knees, represents quite a good upgrade even without scoring yet!
2) Gonzalez (Pre Carr) / Dan Gosling – Forget Gonzalez to be honest but in pre-season Dan Gosling has looked quite the player and we are all quietly hopeful that he can be a great player for the Toon
3) Guthrie (Pre Carr) / Cheik Tiote – This is harsh on Guthrie really as he is a good player but I am just not sure if he is Premier League class although the jury is still out on that. Tiote despite his constant yellow cards is arguably turning into one of the best players we have had in midfield for years.
4) Gutierrez (Pre Carr) / Slyvain Marveaux – I personally like Spiderman but he is frustrating and whilst these two are going to be battling for a starting berth, Marveaux has a hell of a lot of pace, takes players on with ease and although we have only seen glimpses of him he seems to have good crossing ability and an eye for goal.
5) Ryan Taylor (Pre Carr) / Stephen Ireland – Taylor is a good back up player at best. Ireland wasn’t much better but he is the kind of technical player who could have prospered before he got bigger than he was and said he didn’t want to come anyway!
6) Wayne Routledge (Pre Carr) / Yohan Cabaye – Routledge has gone to Swansnea which is a shame. I felt that he was frustrating but had genuine pace and when an arm was round his shoulder he was a good player – a confidence player – but its not to be. Cabaye on the other hand is looking more and more as though we could have (between him and Tiote) one of the best midfield pairings in the country.
7) Leon Best (Pre Carr) / Hatem Ben Arfa – Best I think is a good player and I’m glad that he wants to stay but HBA is some player when fit and can be the difference in any game. Top drawer if we can get him on the pitch.
Now I know its not fair to compare these players like for like in some instances but I thought when looking back at the list it is evident Carr and Co are trying to create a quicker, faster and more technical team. I don’t think anyone can argue that this is an improvement for the club. Yes the players were brought in different situations but my point is we ARE improving whether any of us like it or not.
All of these players were bought under Ashley’s reign and yes the level of players bought in the Championship have been lower but surely credit to Carr, Hughton and Pardew for not carrying on the signings of run of the mill Championship players like Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles but instead investing in French internationals – real talent that will improve the team.
Lest we forget that we have only been out the Championship one season but credit to Carr who, along with his scouting team, are slowly forming a new era and style of football which I feel is a vast improvement on what we have had in previous years.
With thanks to Liam Southern Toon for sending this in.