Newcastle poach top Arsenal coach… or perhaps not



Arsenal lose key man

By Tony Attwood

When there is nothing else much going on in football (and after all Real Madrid beating Chelsea is hardly a big issue), one story newspapermen know to run is the one about Arsenal losing top staff.  Quite why Arsenal are losing top staff isn’t actually explained, and come to that nor is the issue of just how “key” each of the “key” members of staff that Arsenal lose is, but in each case he is said to be “key”.  And if the media say it, that’s good enough for me.

And the fact that we haven’t actually previously heard about him is neither here nor there, because he was a “key scout”, and we know that because the media, who have never mentioned him before, have just told us he is a “key scout.”

The whole thing started with the statement that “Magpies poach key staff member from Arsenal.”   And the hint that this might not quite be as big a coup for Newcastle or as big a disaster for Arsenal comes from the fact that the story appeared in the Newcastle Chronicle an outlet that gains readership by upping to VERY BIG any story about Newcastle United no matter how small it actually is.

And the fact that the key staff member has a new title which is “professional lead academy scout” sounds pretty important.  I am not quite sure what the word “professional” means in that title, given that I don’t think that Newcastle has an “amateur lead academy scout” nor even a “professional backup academy scout.”  But that’s his title.

And as one digs a little deeper more oddities emerge.   The story reads, “Newcastle United have made another important hire by luring Arsenal scout Eddie Black to Tyneside.”

“Luring” sounds good – it sounds as if this is another tale of stupid mean Arsenal not paying top people what they are worth.   And so there is a case to be made about Arsenal not spending money as they should, given they way the club has abjectly failed to repair the roof in the stadium resulting in supporters having to leave their seats mid-game.

But perhaps the real insight into who Eddie Black is, is revealed a little later in the Chronicle Live piece where they call him a “talent spotter”.   And in fact he was a “talent spotter” working the north east.

Which really gives us much more of a truthful picture.   Eddie Black, who is I am sure very good at his job, had a pretty minor job – that of being a talent spotter for Arsenal covering North and West Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear and the North Sea.

Yet in all these stories we get the use of the phrase “highly-rated”, which crops up in all the reports.   That, we should remember is not a phrase used by Arsenal but by the raiders of the lost spotter.   When any organisation makes a public announcement about a new member of its team he or she is always “highly rated”.   Because you can’t imagine anyone saying “this person is currently lowly rated but we think he/she could be quite good given time.”

But the implication is clear.  Arsenal couldn’t see how brilliant he was so relegated him to working a couple of counties in the north east.  Typical Arsenal. 

Ex-Arsenal man Eddie made the statement that, “I would like to thank everyone at Arsenal it was a pleasure working at such a great club.”   He added that he is “Excited to be working for the club I support and being part of the project.”

And there we have it – “the project”.  Newcastle have a “project” (spending the oil money of one of the most appalling and repressive regimes in the world) whereas poor old Arsenal have no project at all, and are just bumbling along 16 points ahead of Newcastle.

Indeed quite how senior Eddie’s position is going to be, remains unclear as “Seven more international scouts across Europe will be deployed and a Head of Emerging Talent and a Recruitment Operations Manager” will also be poached from other places.

So, they’ve got their man.  A man who, actually, hasn’t even been at Arsenal a year, and yet was a “key member of staff”.

I must admit I don’t get to see the under 18s, and of course it is possible that there are some very good under 18s playing for the Arsenal under 21s.  But in fact in the under 18s league Arsenal are currently 8th, 29 points behind the leaders – the almighty West Ham United.  Although Arsenal do have a game in hand.

And things are not much better in the under 21 league where Arsenal are seventh, 18 points behind the leaders.

So actually, maybe letting the wonderful, magnificent, highly-rated Eddie go, was not such a bad thing to do.

Besides, it’s a funny ol’ game.



2 Replies to “Newcastle poach top Arsenal coach… or perhaps not”

  1. Eddie Black talent spotter for the North Sea, shame we never signed an octopus, intelligent adaptable and eight legs. I am sure octopuses would be good football players. U- 18 and U- 21 are difficult indicators to judge clubs by as many of the higher quality players are sent out on loan to raise their game to first team level. It can be quite bizarre looking at league tables as I feel they do not give the full picture on youth development. Big shout out to the U-18s as they have an F A Youth Cup final to contest this season, so not all bad for us.

  2. Laos Gooner

    I absolutely agree that the league tables can be very poor indicators of how well the youth policy overall is doing.

    As you say, if a player is that good they may well be sent out on loan to get first team experience. Also, really good u16’s can be raised to u18’s and so on. Really good u18’s get into the first team squad.

    At the end of the day, the only true indicator of how well the ‘youth’ policy is doing is progression into the first team, and of course improving the quality of the first team.

    AlI know is, we have academy players in our first team performing brilliantly, as well as others on loan performing well, and of course others that we moved on performing well elsewhere.

    I’m not sure, but I don’t believe all these current ‘First team’ successes bought much success to the academy teams? It seems it matters not a jot.

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