I was talking to a realistic Sunderland fan (I know, I was shocked I found one too!) the other day and he was saying Niall Quinn was their biggest asset at their football club.
It got me wondering just who our biggest asset is. Not just players, but in general. Who is the man we couldn’t really do without?
Now as things stand we could probably get a big fee for Cheik Tiote and a year down the line even Yohan Cabaye, Tim Krul etc. So we do have players that could command a lot of money who are very important to us, but are any of these our biggest asset?
Could it be Fabricio Coloccini, our best defender and captain, who without not just our defence but our whole team would be weakened badly as his composure and ability to lead by example is crucial?
Could it even be our manager, Alan Pardew. He wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea when he arrived but he’s got our team playing some very nice football AND is getting results. I would argue if we secure the striker we clearly want in January this is best squad I’ve seen us have since Sir Bobby, and Pardew has to take a lot of credit for that.
The guy that has to take most of the credit for assembling most of our squad is our chief scout, Mr Graham Carr. I was doing some number crunching and noticed that we’ve brought in Hatem Ben Arfa, Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Gabriel Obertan, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling and Mehdi Abeid for a combined £23 million give or take – Staggering when you see what other teams are spending.
Now I’m not saying Carr is responsible for all of them players signing with his scouting but sometimes it’s not just what he knows, it’s who he knows too. For example; Dan Gosling, we found out early that Dan was having a contract dispute with Everton, we pounced and got him on a free transfer ahead of a few clubs.
Yohan Cabaye is another. The French press were all quoting £8-10 million for him but we found out he had a release clause of £4.8 million, again we were straight in there and not many people could believe Yohan had joined us ahead of the lure of Champions League football.
So if we were to lose Carr, could he be replaced with someone as good as him? Possibly, but it would be a huge risk because without him, Ashley’s whole plan for the club has a massive flaw in it.
There is a big chance he won’t be replaced with someone as good, and Carr actually made a good point himself when he said;
“Being a Geordie and having supported Newcastle gives me a bit of an advantage, I think. You look at some players who are talented, but you just have to say: ‘They’re not a Newcastle United player.'”
So the likeness of Carr being replaced with A) someone who can do as good of a job as him and B) someone who supports us and knows exactly whether a player would suit the football club is very slim.
That is why I believe our chief scout is our lynch pin of the whole club and what we are trying to achieve. He is our biggest asset.
Who do you think is our biggest asset?